Henry Louis Gates Jr. is the commencement speaker for class of 2020

May commencement ceremony will be online

Henry Louis Gates Jr. is the commencement speaker for class of 2020

Henry Louis Gates Jr. will address spring 2020 graduates

Host and creator of PBS’s “Finding Your Roots” and Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. will deliver the commencement speech at American University’s spring online celebration, the University announced on Tuesday.

Gates serves as the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard. He has authored or co-authored more than twenty books and created 15 documentaries, including the Peabody, NAACP Image and Emmy award-winning film “The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross.”

On his show “Finding Your Roots,” he explores the ancestral roots of celebrities ranging from Queen Latifah to Jeff Goldblum. The show is in its sixth season.

Gates now serves as the chairman of TheRoot.com, an African American-oriented online magazine he co-founded. He also oversees the Oxford African American Studies Center which provides students and scholars with primary sources.

Due to COVID-19, the spring 2020 celebration will take place online at 1 p.m. on May 9. However, the University announced that special ceremonies for the class of 2020 will be held in-person through the weekend of Dec. 11. 


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