On Tuesday, officials at North Carolina A&T University announced that renowned actor Morris Chestnut will serve as one of the Spring 2023 Commencement keynote speakers.

Accompanying Chestnut is NC A&T Nathan F. Simms Distinguished Professor in the Department of Biology Robert H. Newman, Ph.D.

“Dr. Newman and Mr. Chestnut have made tremendously positive impacts in their professions and are certain to inspire our Spring 2023 commencement audiences,” said Chancellor Harold L. Martin Sr. “We welcome the perspectives they will share with our Aggie community as we celebrate the achievements of our newest Aggie graduates.”

Chestnut is the keynote speaker for the baccalaureate student ceremonies in Greensboro Coliseum on Saturday, May 13, at 8:30 a.m. for the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, Willie A. Deese College of Business and Economics and College of Education and 3 p.m. for the College of Engineering, John R. and Kathy R. Hairston College of Health and Human Sciences and COST.

Chestnut’s career has spanned more than two decades, during which he has found tremendous success in both film and television.

He is best known for his memorable roles in “Boyz in the Hood,” “The Brothers,” “The Perfect Holiday,” “Think Like a Man,” as well as “The Best Man” films and successful miniseries. Chestnut received an NAACP Image Award nomination in the category of “Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture” for his performance as Lance in “The Best Man.”

The actor’s most recent films include “When the Bough Breaks,” “The Perfect Guy,” and opposite Robert De Niro in the heist thriller “BUS 657.” He starred opposite Halle Berry in TriStar Pictures’ “The Call,” and starred in the action film “Kick-Ass 2” opposite Jim Carrey and Chloe Grace Moretz that same year.

Among Chestnut’s television credits are roles on the NBC drama “The Enemy Within,” the Fox series “Rosewood,” FX’S first season of “American Horror Story,” Amazon’s “Goliath” opposite Billy Bob Thornton, and Showtime’s critically acclaimed series “Nurse Jackie,” which earned him the 2014 NAACP Image Award in the category of “Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series” for his performance as Dr. Ike Prentiss.

Newman is the keynote speaker for the graduate student ceremony Friday, May 12, at 3 p.m. in Novant Health Fieldhouse at Greensboro Coliseum.

He is actively involved in graduate and undergraduate research training, serving as the lead principal investigator (PI) of the NSF-sponsored Research Experiences for Undergraduate in Synthetic Biology at A&T for the past four years and as a PI on the NIH-sponsored Enhancing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Educational Diversity undergraduate research training program.

To date, Newman has published more than 30 peer-reviewed articles and mentored 70 undergraduate students, 25 graduate students and five postdoctoral fellows. Many of his undergraduate and graduate students have gone on to pursue Ph.D. degrees and postdoctoral training at some of the nation’s leading institutions.

Among the many accolades Newman has garnered for teaching and research are, the N.C. A&T Outstanding Young Investigator Award and the Junior Faculty Teaching Excellence Award in 2016. Last year, he received the UNC Board of Governors’ Award for Excellence in Teaching, which recognizes the extraordinary contributions of faculty members across the UNC System.

NC A&T’s Spring 2023 Commencement Graduate College Ceremony will take place on Friday, May 12, 2023, at 3 p.m. The first Undergraduate Ceremony will take place on Saturday, May 13, 2023, at 8:30 a.m. and the second one occur later at 3 p.m All ceremonies will be live streamed.