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Sen. Cory Booker keynotes Temple commencement

May 11, 2018 GMT

Temple University held its 131st Commencement Thursday morning announcing 10,073 total graduates, the most in the school history.

The class includes students from 96 countries, 48 states, including Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, and 52 Pennsylvania counties.

President of Temple Richard Englert opened the commencement, later introducing student commencement speaker Paige Hill. Hill, a graduate student of Temple, who was also described by Englert as “a leader” in their Student Government Association cited the late Shirley Chisholm during her speech.

“I feel like her life model resonates with me, and it may resonate with your life journey as well,” Hill said. “As usual is the case with wise Black women, her words are timeless and can be applied in numerous cases.”

Faculty, staff, students and parents all clapped and praised Hill coming to the end of her student address.

Next came the recipients of honorary degrees, which included Robert W. Bogle, President and CEO of The Philadelphia Tribune receiving a Doctor of Humane Letters; Meryl Levitz, President and CEO of Visit Philly receiving a Doctor of Humane Letters; and Sen. Cory Booker, who also served as the keynote speaker, receiving a Doctor of Laws.

About 18 percent of the Class of 2018 is from Philadelphia, and 200 graduates come from the seven ZIP codes surrounding Temple’s Main Campus according to numbers provided by the university.

6,731 undergraduate degrees, 2,521 graduate degrees and 821 professional degrees were given to the class of 2018. Additionally, 6,383 grads are from Pennsylvania.

One graduate grew up on North 13th Street, about two blocks from the Liacouras Center.

The youngest person to earn a Bachleor’s degree in the class was 20-years-old, the oldest being 68.

Booker received his Bachelors of Arts at Stanford University, but told the graduates he got his “PhD. in the streets of Newark.”

The senator talked to students about an invitation he received from renowned historian Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., asking Booker to be a part of his “Finding Your Roots” PBS docu-series that helps well-known Black celebrities trace their ancestry.

When Booker asked Gates who he would be paired with on the show, Gates told him it would be Civil Rights icon John Lewis.

Booker told students that what they put on their resume “is not the power they have,” but added more emphasis on the impact the type of work they would be doing post-Temple.

“This is a university that has a tradition to understanding the dignity of work,” Booker said. “This is a university that evidences ideals.”

The senator thanked the university at the end of his keynote address.

“This entire community is worthy of gratitude and celebration today, and I say thank you,” he said.