Cornel West – Spelman College Commencement

Activist, philosopher, scholar, and sociopolitical critic Cornel West, Ph. D., was keynote speaker for Spelman College’s 2009 commencement exercises. Considered a drum major for justice and a tireless, fearless change agent in America’s discourse on race, justice and democracy, Dr. West charged the Class of 2009 to challenge the status quo and fulfill their commitment to charge the world.

“In these turbulent times our graduates must be ready to ask hard questions – of themselves as well as others. Dr. Cornel West models that willingness,” said Spelman College President Beverly Daniel Tatum. “Described by some as an ‘intellectual provocateur,’ Dr. West challenges us to think critically, act globally, and lead with integrity – just as the class of 2009 must do as they leave the gates of Spelman College.”

Currently the Class of 1943 Professor at Princeton University, Dr. West burst onto the national scene in 1993 with his bestselling book, “Race Matters,” a powerful examination of racism in American democracy. “Race Matters” has become a contemporary classic, selling more than half a million copies to date. His latest work, “Hope on a Tightrope,” offers bold commentary on issues that affect all Americans. Additionally, Dr. West has recently released a CD titled, “Never Forget: A Journey of Revelations,” a collection of socially conscious music featuring collaborations with Prince, Outkast, Jill Scott, and Talib Kewli. He also offers commentary weekly on “The Tavis Smiley Show” from Public Radio International.