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Stacie B. Royster                                                                     
Media Relations Manager

Kerry-Ann Hamilton
Communications Specialist

Motown’s Smokey Robinson to Receive Honorary Degree from Howard University

Washington D.C., (May 8, 2006) – Legendary Motown singer/songwriter Smokey Robinson will receive a Doctor of Music, honoris causa at Howard University’s 138th Commencement Convocation on Saturday, May 13, at 10 a.m. on the upper quadrangle of the main campus.

“Howard University Commencements are always special. Each one is especially joyous, triumphant, and unique,” said Howard University President H. Patrick Swygert. “I am certainly happy to preside over yet another Commencement, particularly one with an outstanding profile and distinguished group of honorees.”

Howard University will grant three additional honorary degrees to a diverse group of leaders from academia, sciences and labor affairs. Among them are Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute president, Doctor of Science; Dr. Floretta Dukes McKenzie, founder and chairwoman of The McKenzie Group, Inc. and chairwoman of the Howard University Board of Trustees, Doctor of Humane Letters; Mr. William “Bill” Lucy, international secretary-treasurer, American Federation of State, County, & Municipal Employees, Doctor of Humanities.

Graduation exercises will be broadcast live over Howard University’s WHUR 96.3 FM Radio and WHUT, Howard University’s public broadcast station. In the event of inclement weather, the ceremony will take place at Burr Gymnasium, 6th and Girard Streets, N.W.

About the Honorees

Mr. Smokey Robinson, an artist, singer, songwriter, actor, poet, and producer, was born in Detroit, Michigan. He began writing poems in elementary school, and regularly listened to soul and classic popular music. Instead of college, he chose to pursue a singing career. His achievements include 36 Top 40 hits, a Grammy Living Legend Award, induction into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame, and the National Medal of Arts Award—the highest honor an artist can receive from the President of the United States, and numerous other honors and achievements.

Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson is the 18th president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY, the oldest technological research university in the United States. She is immediate past president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and is also currently chairman of the AAAS Board of Directors, a member of the National Academy of Engineering, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Physical Society. Dr. Jackson holds a Bachelor of Science in physics and a Ph.D. in theoretical elementary particle physics from M.I.T. She has been awarded 31 honorary doctoral degrees.

Dr. Floretta Dukes McKenzie, chairwoman of the Howard University Board of Trustees since 2004 and a member since 1993, is senior advisor for the American Institutes for Research (AIR), one of the nation’s leading education research organizations, which recently acquired The McKenzie Group. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from D.C. Teachers College, a Master of Arts degree in history from Howard University, and an Ed.D. degree from The George Washington University.

Mr. William Lucy is the international secretary-treasurer of the 1.4 million-member American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), AFL-CIO. He was first elected AFSCME secretary-treasurer in May 1972 and was re-elected in June 2004 to another four-year term. For more than three decades, he has been involved in international affairs, and is the highest-ranking African-American in the Labor Movement. A native of Memphis, Tennessee, he is a civil engineer by trade and attended the University of California at Berkeley.

Howard University is one of 48 U.S. private, Doctoral/Research-Extensive universities and comprises 12 schools and colleges. Founded in 1867, students pursue studies in more than 120 areas leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. Since 1998, the University has produced two Rhodes Scholars, a Truman Scholar, 13 Fulbright Scholars and nine Pickering Fellows. Howard also produces more on-campus African-American Ph.D.s than any other university in the world. For more information on Howard University, call 202-238-2330, or visit the University’s Web site at


Note to the Media:

Please contact Stacie Royster, media relations manager, by noon on Friday, May 12 to confirm coverage (202-238-2332).  Media should report to Gate #2, located at 6th Street and Founders Walk, between 8:15-8:30 a.m. (broadcast media will need to be stationary by 8:30 a.m.).  The processional starts promptly at 8:45 a.m. with the ceremony beginning at 10:00 a.m.



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