WASHINGTON (MARCH 28, 2017) – Howard University announced today that Senator Kamala D. Harris will deliver the keynote address during Howard University’s 149th Commencement Convocation on Saturday, May 13, 2017. Senator Harris will address members of the Class of 2017 along with their families, university trustees, officers, faculty, staff, and alumni.

“Throughout her trailblazing career, Senator Harris has demonstrated her commitment to youth in a variety of ways,” said Dr. Frederick. “She is a leader in mentorship programs, has authored legislation to fight child exploitation and unashamedly shattered both racial and gender barriers. As we exclaim the necessity of Howard University’s legacy—now more than ever before—and focus our vision toward the future, I have no doubt that our graduates will find Senator Harris thought-provoking and inspiring.” 

Senator Harris is both the first African-American and first woman to serve as Attorney General for the State of California. She is also the second African-American woman in history to be elected to the United States Senate.

Throughout her career, Harris—a lifelong public safety and civil rights leader—has worked diligently to advocate for children and students. She established California’s Bureau of Children’s Justice and fought to reduce elementary school truancy so that every California student can exercise his or her constitutional right to an education.  As Attorney General, Harris successfully sued predatory for-profit colleges that scam students and veterans.

“Howard shaped, nurtured, and challenged me to soar on my chosen path, and I’m honored to speak to the class of 2017 to encourage them to pursue their own dreams and live up to the promise of Howard,” said Senator Harris. “Howard University has instilled in generations of students the drive to serve others, and to truly believe that anything is possible.”

On commencement day, Howard University will award Bachelor’s Degrees, Master’s Degrees, and PhDs to the graduating class. Professional degrees will be issued in Law, Medicine, Pharmacy, and Dentistry.  Howard University has the only Dental and Pharmacy colleges in the District of Columbia.


Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private, research university that is comprised of 13 schools and colleges. Students pursue studies in more than 120 areas leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. Since 1998, the University has produced four Rhodes Scholars, nine Truman Scholars, two Marshall Scholars, over 60 Fulbright Scholars, 22 Pickering Fellows and one Schwarzman Scholar. Howard also produces more on campus African-American Ph.D. recipients than any other university in the United States. For more information on Howard University, call 202-238-2330, or visit the University’s Web site at www.howard.edu.