Skip to main content

Edelman to Give NC State Spring Commencement Speech

For Immediate Release

Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children’s Defense Fund, will deliver North Carolina State University’s commencement address on Saturday, May 12 at 9 a.m. in the PNC Arena in Raleigh.

During the ceremony, Chancellor Randy Woodson will confer honorary degrees on Edelman and Temple Grandin, a pioneer in improving farm animal health and welfare.

Marian Wright Edelman

Edelman has been an advocate for disadvantaged Americans for her entire professional life. A graduate of Spelman College and Yale Law School, Edelman was the first black woman admitted to the Mississippi Bar. She directed the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund office in Jackson, Mississippi.

In l968, she moved to Washington, D.C., as counsel for the Poor People’s Campaign that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. began organizing before his death. She founded the Washington Research Project, a public interest law firm, and directed the Center for Law and Education at Harvard University before starting the Children’s Defense Fund in 1973.

Edelman’s many awards include the Albert Schweitzer Humanitarian Prize; the Heinz Award; a MacArthur Foundation Prize Fellowship; and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award. She received the Robert F. Kennedy Lifetime Achievement Award for her writings. Her books include “Families in Peril: An Agenda for Social Change,” “The Measure of Our Success: A Letter to My Children and Yours,” “I’m Your Child, God: Prayers for Our Children,” and “The Sea Is So Wide and My Boat Is So Small: Charting a Course for the Next Generation.”

Temple Grandin

Grandin, an animal science professor at Colorado State University, is known for her work in designing livestock facilities and equipment. Half the cattle in the U.S. and Canada are handled in equipment she designed.

At age 2 she had all the signs of severe autism. Intensive speech therapy and teaching enabled her to learn to speak. Mentoring by a high school teacher and aunt motivated Grandin to become a scientist. She earned a doctorate from the University of Illinois. Her book “Animals in Translation” was a New York Times best seller and her livestock handling textbook is in its fourth edition.

Her other books include “Thinking in Pictures,” “Animals Make Us Human” and “The Autistic Brain.” An HBO film about her won seven Emmy awards and a Golden Globe. Grandin served on the Autism Society of America’s board and speaks to parents and teachers across the country. In 2010 Time Magazine named her one of “The 100 Most Influential People in the World.” She was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2016 and the Women’s Hall of Fame in 2017.


Leave a Response

Your email address will not be published. All fields are required.

  1. Mrs Edelman’s speech ( ramblings ) were as expected, about white privilege.
    Like it’s white privilege to serve in the military ?

    I would have rather heard Temple Grandin speak.

  2. This is why public education for all is so important from womb to tomb – education, education, education. We are all always students & teachers.

  3. Non inspiring, divisive speech typical of the same old tax and spend Democrats and liberals who have spent trillions on welfare programs since the “war on Poverty” and still have nothing to show for it. Lousy speech and it appeared that she was not prepared to speak either by the looks of her poor delivery and rambling.

  4. After hearing your lengthy one sided speech yesterday, can you please let us know when you will be doing commencement at the other half of the schools,perhaps before high school so you make sure to hit the predropout mark and tell your people to stop having babies as a reliance on the broken system. Why is it the working people’s job to support them?????????? NC State,I am ashamed you allowed this to happen.

  5. Hopefully all speakers will ignite positive feelings for graduates to do some good in the world and not just for their own vested interest.

  6. Sad that you’re choosing a Hillary Clinton mentor – a slap in the face to all conservative students and their parents who pay tuition. Why can’t you find someone nonpolitical who has class and not someone who hates half the population and was anti-welfare reform?

    1. Grow up, Roberts. Does all your information have to come from comfortable sources? Aristotle said “It is the mark of an educated man to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”

    2. Tiffany, I sincerely doubt anyone is really nonpolitical. And, if such a person existed, she or he would not make for an interesting commencement speaker.

    3. Growing up & becoming an adult requires listening to all sides. Congratulations on your achievements so far.