Graduates during Johnson C. Smith University’s commencement ceremony on May 19, 2019. Photo courtesy of Johnson C. Smith University

As graduation season returns, commencement speakers at North Carolina historically Black colleges and universities have been announced.

The list ranges from doctors, community leaders and celebrities, all sharing words of wisdom to the spring class of 2023.

Here is who will be speaking:

North Carolina Central University – Benjamin Crump

Date: Saturday, May 6
Time:8 a.m. 
Where: McDougald-McLendon Arena

Benjamin Crump is an attorney who specializes in civil rights and catastrophic personal injury cases such as wrongful death lawsuits. He has worked on a number of high-profile cases, including Trayvon Martin, Ahmaud Arbery and Shanquella Robinson.

St.Augustine UniversityDr. Jeronica Goodwin

Date: Saturday, May 6
Time: 9 a.m.
Where: George Williams Athletics Complex.

Dr. Jeronica Goodwin is the Senior Vice President of Human Resources and Chief People Officer of WakeMed Health and Hospitals. Goodwin, a 1998 graduate of St.Augustine University, is a seasoned healthcare human resources professional with more than twenty years of experience working in both large and mid-size hospitals and healthcare organizations. 

Livingstone College – Tamika Mallory

Date: Saturday, May 6
Time: 9 a.m.
Where: Front lawn of the campus

Tamika Mallory is a social activist. She was one of the leading organizers of the 2017 Women’s March, a worldwide protest against the inauguration of President Donald Trump. The march also advocated for women’s rights, immigration reform, LGBTQIA+ rights, health care reform, environmental reform, racial justice and racial equality. 

Fayetteville State University – Dr. Roxie Well

Date: Friday, May 12
Time: 10:00 a.m.
Where: Capel Arena

Roxie Well is a family medicine doctor in Raeford, N.C. and is affiliated with Cape Fear Valley Medical Center. She has worked in the medical field for nearly 20 years and is a 1992 graduate of Fayetteville State. 

North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University – Robert Newman and Morris Chestnut

Date: Friday, May 12 
Time: 3 p.m.
Where: Novant Health Fieldhouse at Greensboro Coliseum.

Robert Newman is a professor in the Department of Biology at NC A&T. Since arriving at the school in 2012, he has received $15 million in extramural research funding. He has also published more than 30 peer-reviewed articles and mentored 70 undergraduate students, 25 graduate students and five postdoctoral fellows. 

Morris Chestnut is an award-winning actor known for his roles in “Boyz in the Hood,” the “Best Man” films and the series “Rosewood.”

Shaw University Natalie Madeira Cofield

Date: Saturday, May 13 
Time:10 a.m.
Where: Raleigh Convention Center

Natalie Madeira Cofield is an entrepreneur and executive with over 15 years of experience securing diverse capital, building strategic partnerships, and leading state and local economic development programs to support and scale small business development and expansion initiatives throughout the United States.

Bennett College – Erika Alexander

Date: Saturday, May 13
Time: 11 a.m.
Where: Campus Quadrangle

Erika Alexander is an actor best known for her role as Maxine Shaw in “Living Single.” She is also a director and social activist. Alexander is the co-founder of Color Farm Media, a production company aiming to bring greater equity, inclusion, and diverse representation to both media and electoral politics.

Johnson C. Smith University – Anthony Hamilton

Date: Sunday, May 21
Time: 11 a.m.
Where: Bojangles Coliseum

Anthony Hamilton is a Grammy award-winning artist from Charlotte. He burst onto the music scene in 2003 with his smash hit “Charlene.” Throughout his career, he has sold more than 50 million albums and has been inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame.

Check back for updates

Jalon is a general assignment reporter for QCity Metro. He is a graduate of North Carolina Central University and an avid sports fan. (

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  1. I love that you all shared info on HBCU commencement speakers!!
    Congratulations 2023 Grads!

  2. Thank u for the information try to keep up with hbc informations and graduations

  3. My son goes to Florida Memorial University. The only HBCU in Florida. They are constantly being omitted from being mentioned by HBCU rosters.

    1. There are four HBCUs in Florida. FAMU, Bethune Cookman University, Edward Waters College, and Florida Memorial.