Livingstone celebrates 140th convocation

Published 12:10 am Sunday, May 15, 2022

SALISBURY — Livingstone College graduated its latest class from the longstanding institution on Saturday morning with a ceremony filled with music, applause and some powerful speeches.

This was Livingstone President Jimmy Jenkins last convocation as the longtime administrator is retiring and he told the crowd it was a special occasion for him.

Student Body President Justin Wade delivered a speech that brought the crowd to its feet. He thanked the haters, his support system in his family — shouting out his parents in the crowd — and God.

The keynote address came from actor Malik Yoba, known for his starring role in sports comedy film “Cool Runnings” as well as a long list of other film and television roles. He started his address off in song, inspired by singer Virginia Rush’s performance that preceded his speech.

Yoba implored students rocking sunglasses for graduation to take them off so he could see their eyes. He talked to them about his three birthdays: the day he was born, the day he was shot and when he went through a quadruple heart bypass.

He implored the people in the crowd to take their health metrics like cholesterol seriously and described being lucky enough to have enough artery to graft from his arm to not require surgeons to take material out of his leg.

“It was already there, divinely made so I could be here today with you,” Yoba said.

He told this crowd this was the best graduation he had ever been to, and he had spoken at many. His talk ran the gamut of advice for the young crowd and talking about the initiatives of his company Yoba Development for people of color to take part in building the places the live and partnering with places like Livingstone.

Yoba was one of the recipients of honorary doctorates later in the program.

About Carl Blankenship

Carl Blankenship has covered education for the Post since December 2019. Before coming to Salisbury he was a staff writer for The Avery Journal-Times in Newland and graduated from Appalachian State University in 2017, where he was editor of The Appalachian.

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