U.S. Congressman and FAMU alumnus Alcee Hastings will keynote the 10th Annual Florida A&M University (FAMU) College of Law Hooding Ceremony on May 10. The event will take place at 10 a.m., at the Hilton Orlando, located at 6001 Destination Parkway (near International Drive).
"We are honored to have a true trailblazer for equality address our 10th graduating class since the re-establishment of the FAMU College of Law," said Dean LeRoy Pernell. "It is indeed fitting that one of our own return for this milestone observance."
Congressman Hastings is currently serving his 11th term in Congress, representing the 20th District of Florida, which includes parts of Broward, Palm Beach and Hendry Counties. With an undergraduate degree from Fisk University, he became one of the 57 original graduates of the College of Law when it was located in Tallahassee on FAMU's main campus. He earned his law degree in 1963.
Appointed by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter in 1979, he became the first African-American federal judge in the state of Florida, and served in that position for 10 years. Since his election to Congress as the first African-American from Florida since the post-Civil War period, Congressman Hastings has been an outspoken advocate for Floridians and citizens throughout the nation. As an attorney, civil rights activist, judge and now member of Congress, he has championed the rights of minorities, women, the elderly, children and immigrants.
In the 113th Congress, Congressman Hastings' legislative priorities include continued efforts to create jobs and provide greater economic opportunities for middle class and working-poor Americans; making our country safer and more secure; ensuring that our election systems are easier and more fair; supporting small businesses; investing in green energy and infrastructure; increasing access to quality, affordable health care; and strengthening and improving Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, to name a few.
Known throughout the world as an expert in foreign policy, Congressman Hastings continues to advocate for diplomacy before military action to settle disputes with established and emerging nations.
Congressman Hastings will address the candidates, who will have their juris doctor degrees conferred in Tallahassee, Fla. at the university's commencement exercises on May 3, during which Microsoft Chairman John W. Thompson and ESSENCE Editor-at-Large Mikki Taylor will deliver the keynote addresses. The Hooding Ceremony will recognize more than 140 candidates, including the fall 2013, spring 2014 and summer 2014 graduating classes.
The FAMU College of Law’s Hooding Ceremony is a public event; however, seating is limited and there is a parking fee at the Hilton Orlando.