Livingstone commencement speaker tells graduates ‘be catalysts for change’

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 5, 2019

By Josh Bergeron

SALISBURY — Roslyn Brock, chairwoman emeritus of the NAACP Board of Directors, encouraged Livingstone graduates on Saturday to use the tools and skills they’ve learned at the historically black college to face every challenge in life knowing that, with faith in God and themselves, there’s no obstacle too great.

Brock was the commencement speaker Saturday for Livingstone College’s 2019 graduation ceremony. She spoke to the crowd of family members, friends and more than 170 graduates, who came to Salisbury from as far away as Nigeria.

“You’re going somewhere, graduates. So, don’t stop now,” said Brock, who works professionally as chief advocacy officer for Bon Secours Mercy Health. “Don’t let this be the end of your journey. It is your time, your moment in history. And I challenge you to work daily for a cause and not applause.”

During her speech, Brock reminded graduates that none of them will “make it” all by themselves and that family and God will be important in their journeys.

She also encouraged graduates to be catalysts for change, saying they should “vote their values.”

“You need to move forward and organize and get mobilized. And this is what I want you to promise this university — that you will vote in unprecedented numbers in the next presidential election,” Brock said. “Because, as a community, we must vote our values, our hopes and our dreams and not our fears. We must elect authentic state, national and faith leaders who understand that life is about others.”

The valedictorian of Livingstone’s 2019 class was Victoria Larriese Covington, of Jacksonville, Florida. The salutatorian was Kendric Thomas Lowe, of Greensboro.

Honorary degrees were awarded to Brock; the Rev. Johnny Ruff, of Winston-Salem; and Rev. Joseph C. Brown Sr., presiding elder of the Fayetteville District of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church.

Contact editor Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4248.