On the beautiful, sunny morning of Friday, May 26, Bowie State University held its spring commencement.
Following a wonderful rendition of the national anthem, Bowie State University President Aminta H. Breaux, the first woman to serve in that role, and academic leadership took the stage.
Under Breaux’s tenure, Bowie State’s reputation has grown considerably and new improvements such as the Bowie Business Innovation Center and the All-Steinway Fine and Performing Arts Center have been added to the campus.
Kenneth C. Frazier, the former chairman and CEO of Merck, served as the commencement speaker, and was awarded an honorary doctorate. Frazier’s speech was aimed at ensuring that graduates recognize their potential, regardless of their starting circumstances.
Other speakers also worked to exhort the crowd, full of supportive family, friends and alumni.
“We are the new leaders when it comes to so many areas,” said Michael L. McGee, the outgoing president of the Graduate Student Association during his time on the stage. “We have been trained to be bold. To be the leaders that they know we are. This is just a stepping stone to our greatness. What are we prepared to do with it? We are not done yet!”
“Founded in 1865, not only is Bowie State University the oldest Historically Black College in the State of Maryland with the most beautiful campus,” said David Grogan, historian for the BSU Alumni Association’s executive board. “BSU is also located less than 20 miles from the White House, many of the 438 federal government agencies, NASA, and the State Capitol in Annapolis. This gives students the opportunity to participate in exclusive internship and cooperative education programs to help prepare them for great careers and/or entrepreneurship interests, an opportunity I used as an undergrad.”
Several doctorates were awarded to graduating students, including seven to longtime Prince George’s residents.
Thirty-six undergraduate students graduated with grade point averages (GPAs) above 3.84, 56 graduated with GPAs between 3.65-3.84 and 48 students graduated with GPAs between 3.5-3.64. The majors with the most graduates were Psychology, Business Administration, Elementary Education, Biology and Criminal justice. One student’s diploma was unfortunately stolen shortly after graduation, although he will still receive an official diploma in the mail.
Bowie State is the oldest HBCU in Maryland and one of the oldest in the nation, as it was originally founded as the Baltimore Normal School for Colored Teachers in 1865, before being relocated to Bowie’s 187 acre Jericho Farm in 1810. Officially becoming Bowie State College in 1963, the university now ranks as one of the nation’s top 20 HBCUs, with strong ratings in their cybersecurity and education programs.