Howard University’s 153rd Opening Convocation Delivered Virtually

Alumnus and Howard Board of Trustees Chairman, Dr. Laurence C. Morse, delivered the keynote address. Screenshot by Jessica Grider.

By Jessica Grider, Howard University News Service

Howard University held its 153rd Opening Convocation virtually on Friday, Sept. 25. As the semester commences in a remote environment due to the coronavirus pandemic, happier times were on full display during each segment of Friday’s ceremony.

Aso aired on WHUT and WHUR, keynote speaker Dr. Laurence C. Morse encouraged the attendees to reflect on the Bison community’s history of achievement and reminded everyone of Howard’s unique energy sorely missed by students and staff who cannot return to campus this semester.

Morse an alumnus and Howard Board of Trustees Chairman shared a story of his studies at Howard that led him to co-found Fairview Capital Partners with Howard alum, JoAnn Harris. Today, Fairview Capital is America’s largest African-American owned private equity investment management firm.

For 26 years, the firm invested capital profitably in more African-American owned venture capital and other private equity firms than any other single investment firm or institutional investor in the country.

“Every era is a golden area,” Morse said. “Quite frankly, what you will discover in your time here that [points you] in the direction of becoming who you are meant to be and what you are meant to do with your talent… may quite literally change the world.”

He finished with a call to action encouraging students to seize every opportunity they can, saying, “the time is always now.”

In the opening remarks, president of Howard University, Wayne A.I. Frederick welcomed the class of 2024, applauding them for their resilience and commitment to their academic pursuits despite the circumstances as they entered into the Howard community. He said, “We are excited that you are here, and we are willing to push through these temporary challenges brought on by this global pandemic.”

Frederick shared Howard’s rise to number 80 on the latest U.S. News and World Report 2020 rankings list of the best national universities. 

In a twist, The Howard University Chorale director, Dr. Eric R. Poole led the singers in a virtual performance of Lift Every Voice and Sing. Choir members appeared in individual screens and were dressed in university colors, singing in harmony. 

As the choir sang, video clips appeared on the screen sharing a glimpse of student life, including pep rallies, sporting events, graduation, and in professional and classroom environments.

Howard University Choir performing virtually. Screenshot by Jessica Grider.

“I cannot help but feel an intense fear of missing out since my senior year is online,” said senior television and film major Amaka Korie. “I wish I could say I was prepping for my final homecoming as a student right now, but I am encouraged that this too will pass.”

During the closing remarks, President Frederick led a moment of silence in remembrance of the late actor and Howard alumnus Chadwick Boseman before a previous recording of the alma mater played. The event closed with Reverend Dr. Richardson’s delivery of the benediction. 

Howard University’s 153rd Opening Convocation will rebroadcast on Friday, Oct. 2, at 11 a.m. ET on WHUT.