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U.S. Surgeon General, Author-Minister, Renowned Pastor and “Prince of Praise” Anchor School of Divinity 94th Annual Convocation
Admiral Regina M. Benjamin
Suzan Johnson Cook
(Oct. 13) -- U.S. Surgeon
A. Benjamin, M.D.,
M.B.A., leads a team of
renowned religious leaders
and gospel talent for
the 94th Annual Convocation
of the Howard University
School of Divinity.
This year’s theme
is "Faith and (W)Holistic
Health: At the Crossroads."
Benjamin during the two-day
convocation will be the
Suzan Johnson Cook,
Ph.D., best selling author
and the woman the New
York Times described as
“Billy Graham and
Oprah rolled into one;”
dynamic speaker and pastor
of historic Alfred
Street Baptist Church
in Alexandria, Va., and
dynamic six-time Stellar
Award-winning gospel singer
the 18th U.S. Surgeon
General, will kick off
the convocation at 5:30
p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 3,
with the opening address
at the School of Divinity’s
“America’s Doctor,” Benjamin provides the public with
the best scientific information available on how to improve their health
and the health of the nation. She also oversees 6,500 uniformed health
officers who serve in locations around the world.
Benjamin is founder and former CEO of the Bayou
La Batre Rural Health Clinic, a clinic for low-income residents in
rural in Bayou La Batre, Ala., former associate dean for Rural Health
at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine in Mobile, Ala.,
and immediate past chair of the Federation of State Medical Boards of
the United States. In 1995, she was the first physician under age
40 and the first African-American woman to be elected to the American
Medical Association Board of Trustees.
In 1998, Benjamin was the United States recipient of the Nelson Mandela
Award for Health and Human Rights. She was named by Time as one
of the “Nation’s 50 Future Leaders Age 40 and Under.”
She was featured in the New York Times, People, Clarity magazine
and was on the January 2003 cover of Reader’s Digest.
She was featured as “Person of the Week” on ABC’s World
News and “Woman of the Year” by CBS This Morning.
She received the 2000 National Caring Award which was inspired by Mother
Teresa, received the papal honor Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice from
Pope Benedict XVI and was awarded a MacArthur Genius Award Fellowship.
Wesley, only the eighth pastor of historic Alfred Street Baptist Church
in its 205 years, will deliver the keynote address 10:30 a.m. Thursday
in Thurman Chapel at the School of Divinity.
A dynamic and visionary speaker, he served as pastor from 1997 to 2008
of historic St. John’s Congregational Church in Springfield, Mass.
Under his leadership, St. John’s grew from fewer than 200 to nearly
3,000 members with three Sunday services, two weekly Bible studies, daily
prayer hours, and over 35 active ministries.
He is doing similar work at Alfred Street Baptist Church, which has grown
by more than 1,000 members in his brief time there.
Johnson Cook, author of 10 successful books and recent presidential nominee,
will be the featured speaker at the Convocation Banquet, beginning at
6 p.m. Thursday with the dinner at 7 p.m.
Her books include Too Blessed to Be Stressed: Words of Wisdom on the
Move and Sister to Sister, Volume I: Devotions for and from African
American Women, and her new book, Becoming a Woman of Destiny:
Turning Life's Trials into Triumphs, which was released in September.
She is known for her innovative ministries and outreach efforts for women.
President Barack Obama nominated Johnson Cook earlier this year as ambassador-at-large
for International Religious Freedom, a position in which she would work
with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Johnson Cook has spent more than 30 years in ministry amassing a number
of “firsts”. She was the first woman appointed chaplain of
the New York City Police Department, the first female president in the
history of the 12,000-member Hampton University Ministers’ Conference
and the first black woman to become the senior pastor in the 200-year
history of American Baptist Churches of the USA.
Cook worked as a White House fellow under President Bill Clinton, serving
as a domestic policy advisor at the White House and in the special actions
office at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. She also
served on Clinton’s seven-member advisory panel, the President’s
Initiative on Race.
She has been featured in the Ebony magazine as one of the nation’s
top 15 women in ministry, as well as on the TODAY show, Good Morning America,
the Tavis Smiley Show.
Johnson Cook received a Master of Arts degree from Columbia University;
a Master of Divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary; a Doctor
of Ministry degree from the United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio,
and graduated from Harvard University, where she later became an officer
and faculty member.
dubbed the “Prince of Praise,” will provide the gospel entertainment
Thursday night during the banquet. Cage is the winner of six Stellar
Awards, the gospel music industry’s premiere award. Among
his awards are Male Vocalist of the Year, CD of the Year, Contemporary
CD of the Year, and twice Song of the Year.
Cage, who began singing gospel as a teenager, joined New Birth Cathedral
in Atlanta after graduating from Morehouse College. It was there
that Cage, currently the minister of music at Ebenezer African Methodist
Episcopal Church in Fort Washington, Md., recorded one of his greatest
successes, “Byron Cage: Live at New Birth Cathedral.” The
album produced four Stellar Awards.
His 2007 release, “An Invitation to Freedom,” was also well
received. It was nominated for six Stellar Awards. His latest
CD is “Faithful to Believe,” a live performance recorded in
Detroit and featuring special guests Tye Tribbett and Detroit natives,
Karen Clark Sheard and Marvin L. Winans.
Throughout his gospel career, Cage has worked with countless gospel figures,
including such heavyweights as Kelly Price, Kim Burrell, Donnie McClurkin
and Dave Hollister.