Congressman and Civil Rights Icon John Lewis to Give Undergraduate Commencement Address at Framingham State

Congressman and Civil Rights Icon John Lewis to Give Undergraduate Commencement Address at Framingham State

Feb 27, 2019

FRAMINGHAM – Framingham State University is honored to announce that Georgia Congressman John Lewis, an icon of the Civil Rights Movement, has agreed to give the undergraduate commencement address during the University’s ceremony on Sunday, May 26th, at the DCU Center in Worcester, MA.

“As a leader during the Civil Rights Movement, and a voice for the vulnerable and oppressed during his more than 30 years in the House of Representatives, Congressman Lewis is a true inspiration to our students, faculty and staff,” says Framingham State President F. Javier Cevallos. “I can think of no one else more qualified to show our graduates what it means to live a life that is dedicated to doing good for others.”

As a young boy, Congressman Lewis was inspired by the activism surrounding the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the words of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., which he heard on radio broadcasts. In those pivotal moments, he made a decision to become a part of the Civil Rights Movement. Ever since then, he has remained at the vanguard of progressive social movements and the human rights struggle in the United States.

While still a young man, Congressman Lewis became a nationally recognized leader. By 1963, he was dubbed one of the Big Six leaders of the Civil Rights Movement. At the age of 23, he was an architect of and a keynote speaker at the historic March on Washington in August 1963. Despite more than 40 arrests, physical attacks and serious injuries, Congressman Lewis remained a devoted advocate of the philosophy of nonviolence.

He was elected to Congress in November 1986 and has served as U.S. Representative of Georgia's Fifth Congressional District since then. He is Senior Chief Deputy Whip for the Democratic Party in leadership in the House, a member of the House Ways & Means Committee, a member of its Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support, and Ranking Member of its Subcommittee on Oversight.

Congressman Lewis is the recipient of numerous awards from eminent national and international institutions, including the highest civilian honor granted by President Barack Obama, the Medal of Freedom.

During the undergraduate ceremony, which is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. on May 26th, Framingham State will present Congressman Lewis with an honorary Doctor of Public Service Degree.

“During these divisive political times, we are so grateful to have Congressman Lewis to stand up for the vulnerable and speak truth to power,” says President Cevallos. “We are truly honored to have the opportunity to hear from him directly during our commencement ceremony.”

About Framingham State University

Framingham State University was founded in 1839 as the nation’s first public university for the education of teachers. Since that time, it has evolved into a vibrant, comprehensive liberal arts institution offering small, personalized classes on a beautiful New England campus. Today, the University enrolls more than 6,000 students with 58 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the arts, humanities, sciences, social sciences and professional fields. As a State College and University (SCU), Framingham State prides itself on quality academic programs, affordability, and commitment to access for all qualified students.