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There were many expressions of ecstatic joy among graduates during the May 11 Commencement Ceremony.

  The 2014 May Commencement -- Photo Slideshow and Article

More than 550 graduates walked across the stage to celebrate the completion of their degrees during the May 11 Commencement Ceremony at Delaware State University’s Alumni Stadium.

To see images from the 2014 May Commencement, click on the below photo slideshow, followed by more information about the graduation.

Because DSU’s Finals Week just ended on Friday, May 9, the spring semester 2014 grades and the final graduation totals will not be finalized until the coming week.

However, the projected total number of graduates – combining the December Commencement confirmed total with the May total – is well above the DSU record of 671 set during the 2012-2013 school year. There were 193 graduates during the Dec. 14 Commencement.

The Commencement Ceremony, held outdoor at the University’s Alumni Stadium, was presided over by DSU President Harry L. Williams. Also in attendance were U.S. Sen. Thomas R. Carper, U.S. Sen. Chris Coons, DSU Board of Trustees Chairman Dr. Claibourne Smith, as well as a number of other elected state officials.

Dr. Williams presented Presidential Academic Excellence Awards to Noah Link of Dover, Del., and Roderick King of Wilmington, Del., who both earned bachelor’s degrees in mathematics education and biological science, respectively, and maintained a perfect 4.0 GPA throughout their undergraduate years.

The DSU president also presented the 2014 Presidential Leadership Award to Clarence J. Banks, of Wilmington, who earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Finance and Banking. Mr. Banks was a senior resident  assistant, president of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, part of the Student Advisory Council for the College of Business, a member of the Men’s Council, and a DSU peer mentor.

The keynote speaker was Charles J. Ogletree, Jr., prominent legal theorist, civil rights attorney and author. He is also a Jesse Climenko Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, and founding and executive director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice.

Both President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle were students of Professor Ogletree when they attended Harvard Law School. He has continued to be a close friend of the First Couple and a confidant for the chief executive on a number of issues.

Dr. Ogletree told the assembled graduates that they should not forget the sacrifices of those who made their degrees possible. He added that just like those who fought to open the doors of education for all, today’s graduates will be confronted with societal challenges that will need to be addressed as well.

“The class of 2014 needs to understand that it is not just about going out to get a job as you leave DSU, but it is also about doing something to make a difference,” the keynote speaker said.

Dr. Williams presented Dr. Ogletree and Bythema Byrd Bagley – a longtime educator and supporter of DSU – with an Honorary Doctor of Laws degrees.