The Rev. Yolanda Pierce, who directs the Center for Black Church Studies at Princeton Theological Seminary, will deliver the 2016 commencement address at Livingstone College.
About 110 students are expected to graduate from Livingstone on May 7. In addition, the school will hold its “Golden Graduates” ceremony, which recognizes graduates who earned their degrees 50 years ago.
Pierce, the Elmer G. Homrighausen Associate Professor of African-American Religion and Literature at Princeton, has a bachelor’s degree in English from Princeton. She earned two masters degrees from Cornell University and a Ph.D. in English, also from Cornell. Pierce’s academic and teaching interests include African-American religious history, womanist theology and literature and religion.
Her most recent book, “Hell without Fires: Slavery, Christianity & the African-American Spiritual Narrative,” and her forthcoming book, “Religious Ecstasy & African-American Cultural Expression,” focus on the historical and contemporary significance of the African-American religious tradition.
An ordained Christian minister, Pierce is a mentor, community activist, board member of a foster care agency and a commentator for MSNBC and CNN. She is a member of various professional organizations, including the Modern Language Association, the American Academy of Religion and the Society for the Study of Black Religion.
“We are proud and fortunate to have an intellect of such high acclaim to serve as our Commencement speaker,” Livingstone President Jimmy R. Jenkins Sr. said in a statement “Dr. Yolanda Pierce doesn’t mince words, and I am confident she will impart some sage and thought-provoking words of wisdom for our graduating seniors.”
The graduation ceremony will be held in Alumni Memorial Stadium at 9 a.m and will be moved to Varick Auditorium in case of inclement weather.