VSU Announces Spring 2023 Commencement Speaker

Stockon, CA City Manager and VSU alumnus to address the University's more than 550 graduates.

Virginia State University is pleased to announce that the City Manager of Stockton, CA, and VSU alumnus, Mr. Harry Black will serve as the spring 2023 commencement speaker. Mr. Black's extensive career includes leadership roles in both the public and private sectors. He served as a member of the VSU Board of Visitors from 2010 until 2018 and as the Rector of the Board from 2013 to 2018. He is also a seasoned executive having served as a deputy chief administrative officer, chief financial officer, program manager, and chief procurement officer.

Mr. Black is a leader and pioneer with an ability to motivate, coach, and inspire, coupled with an excellent history as an outcomes driver. His journey to becoming a trailblazer and public servant began with his foundation at Virginia State University, where he received his Bachelor of Science in Public Administration. In addition, he received his Master's in Public Administration from the University of Virginia and his Doctor of Human Letters Degree from Virginia State University. He also received the Presidential Medal from VSU and the John Mercer Langston Award from the VSU Alumni Association.

"Mr. Black has a proven track record of being a tremendous leader. He has served in several different capacities in his lifetime including as a student and as the rector for the Virginia State University Board of Visitors," said VSU President Dr. Makola M. Abdullah. "His history as a leader, innovator, and changemaker has provided him with a great deal of wisdom. We are proud to welcome him home to Virginia State University to share that wisdom with our graduating Trojans."

Mr. Black is published in subjects ranging from community and economic development, pension and healthcare reform, and performance management and data analytics. In addition, he has delivered numerous presentations on the aforementioned subjects and on police-community relations reform, infrastructure development, public procurement, and long-range public financial planning.

More than 550 graduates will receive degrees during the Virginia State University Commencement Ceremony which will be held on Saturday, May 13, 2023, at 8:30 am in the VSU Multipurpose Center.

The ceremony will also be live-streamed on the VSU website and broadcast live on WVST radio.