Commencement 2023

Congratulations, Class of 2023!

Commencement 2023 live stream

Saturday, May 13, 2023 | 10:00 a.m.
Saturday, May 13, 2023 | 10: 00 a.m.

The Legacy Continues!

We salute your achievement and invite you to participate in
the 153rd commencement ceremonies for

the graduates of LeMoyne-Owen College.

Saturday, May 13, 2023 | TIME: 10:00am
Mt. Vernon  Baptist Church-Westwood
Address:  620 Parkrose Rd. Memphis, TN 38109

This year will also honor the anniversaries of the following classes:

Diamond Anniversary Class of 1963

Gold Anniversary Class of 1973

Silver Anniversary Class of 1998

Saturday, May 13, 2023 | 10:00 a.m.

Commencement Live Stream

Saturday, May 13, 2023 | TIME: 10:00am
Mt. Vernon  Baptist Church-Westwood
Address:  620 Parkrose Rd. Memphis, TN 38109

Lantern Service

Friday, May 12, 2023 | Time: 7:00
Metropolitan Baptist Church
Address: 767 Walker Ave, Memphis, TN 38126

Class of 2023 Graduates

Countdown to Commencement

  • “I truly love my LOC and am proud to be a Magician!”

    I am Kionna Shaw, a graduating Biology scholar from Memphis, Tennessee. After completing high school at White Station, I chose to leave town and go to another institution, but quickly found out I needed to come back home, and I decided to transfer to LeMoyne-Owen College.


    From my first day on campus, I have been embraced, cared for, and supported. My work “mom,” Dr. Mekel Richardson, has made sure that I am successful academically, while my work “dad” Dr. Robert Williams, takes care of me outside the classroom. While at LeMoyne, I have had the opportunity to become a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated and was elected Miss LeMoyne-Owen College 2022-2023. My goal is to become a physical therapist for a sports team. I am currently applying to different graduate programs and interning with a few organizations and clinics. I truly love my LOC and am proud to be a Magician!

    Kionna Shaw
    Class of 2023
  • “I chose LeMoyne-Owen college because of its rich culture of diversity, creativity, and inclusivity…”

    My Name is Nelson Mutale Mukuka,  a 21-year-old Zambian who is determined to make an impact and help my community with my God given talents and wisdom. I am a science and healthcare enthusiast who seeks to find novel solutions to many of the world’s problems. I have been privileged enough to have been taught and guided by the very best of instructors in their respective fields and their knowledge has helped shape me.

    I am an international student from Kalulushi, Zambia and I attended Chavuma Secondary School in Copperbelt, Zambia. I chose LeMoyne-Owen college because of its rich culture of diversity, creativity, and inclusivity, all of which have helped me develop strong bonds with my professors and led me to be the student I am today.

    Some of my top highlights have been with Dr. Richardson in the Lab and in one of my favorite classes Anatomy and Physiology. I also enjoyed the opportunity I had to represent the school through an internship with the American Heart Association as this opportunity equipped me with vast experience that I have been able to use.

    I have been hired to work in Seattle, WA at the ALLEN INSTITUTE as a postbaccalaureate intern. There, I will be working in the immunology lab, with a focus on monitoring the effects of aging on the immune system. I intend on attending graduate school in the future and this will also help propel me in my career.

    Nelson Mukuka
    Class of 2023
  • “I am living proof of the dream and successes that come from LeMoyne-Owen College.”

    I’m originally from Bartlett, TN but my roots are from Mason and Somerville ,TN. I chose LOC because of my aunts, Alene Greene and the late Beverly Miller, who encouraged me to attend. And my best friend who is a proud graduate of LOC. When my father returned home from Vietnam, the first thing he wanted to do is continue his education from an all-black college which back then was Lemoyne College. It was the morals and respect he has for LeMoyne Owen that influenced my decision to become and enroll as an ASAP student.

    My time at LOC has given me lifetime bonds with friends I wouldn’t have made anywhere else. And becoming an Alpha Kappa Alpha woman is a great highlight for me.

    Because of LOC my plans for the future have already become a reality. I took a dream job at International Paper as a Recruiter for Corporate Staff Groups Nationally and Internationally. I plan on attending graduate school and gaining a Masters in Psychology. I’m passionate about helping HBCU’s recruit more students so they can continue doing the work that helped me. I am living proof of the dream and successes that come from LeMoyne-Owen College.

    Mallori Somerville-Brown
    Class of 2023
  • “I’m glad I attended LOC to further my education and gain invaluable experiences.”

    I am from Memphis, TN, and I attended Wooddale High School. I chose LeMoyne Owen-College because I wanted to attend HBCU college and be around students who have the same interests and goals. I wanted to attend LOC because I enjoyed being a part of a community that supports each other. A few of my favorite professors have been Ms. Whitaker, Dr. McDonald, and Mr. Dotson. I really enjoyed meeting different people in my classes and building friendships with them. My plan after graduation is to start a new business or grow my existing business. I would like to become a certified business consultant or find employment in the business field. I also plan to continue my education either through grad school or continuing education opportunities. I’m glad I attended LOC to further my education and gain invaluable experiences.

    Erisha Mitchell
    Class of 2023
  • “I came out stronger and confident and I want to show people like me who are different and unique that we too have a voice in this world.”

    I am from Memphis, Tennessee and I attended Westwood High School before attending LOC. I chose LeMoyne-Owen College because I wanted to attend an HBCU in my hometown.

    Highlights from my time at LOC include pledging the greatest fraternity, Iota Phi Theta Fraternity Incorporated, and engaging on campus by being myself- loudmouth, gregarious, a gentle giant on campus with a good taste in fashion and funny. I pride myself on being a big brother to everyone on campus. My personality is as big as I am!

    My plans for the future are to go to graduate school to get my master’s in social work and work with children and family services. I just want to continue to build up this legacy that I have created for myself after facing so many adversities that life has thrown me. I came out stronger and confident and I want to show people like me who are different and unique that we too have a voice in this world. Stand up and use your voice because you have the final and only say so for your life. 

    Alexander Wilks
    Class of 2023
Commencement 2023

Freqently Asked Questions

Is LOC commencment a ticketed event?

  • Graduates will receive 15 allotted guest tickets via their LOC email address.
  • Any guest entering attending the commencement should have their ticket displayed on their phone
    or printed out.
  • Students will not be able to come from the graduate holding area to disperse ticket(s) to guests.

Where should I go for ADA Accessability needs?

Individuals who need ADA acomodations should connect with the event attendance upon arrival.

Is parking available at the venue?

Parking is available at Mt. Vernon Baptist Church

Please arrive early for best available parking preferences. 

Will the commencement be livestreamed?

The college will livestream the Commencement ceremony. The ceremony can be viewed on the official LeMoyne-Owen College YouTube page and Facebook page. 



comencement speaker

Nzinga “Zing” Shaw

Chief Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Officer

The National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, Inc. – “The Recording Academy|GRAMMYS”

Los Angeles, CA and Atlanta, GA

Nzinga “Zing” Shaw joined The Recording Academy|GRAMMYS in 2023, serving as a member of the executive leadership team in the capacity of Chief Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) Officer. She leads the company’s DEI Center of Excellence which is focused to enable a more engaged global workforce, creating enhanced platforms to recognize the diverse array of musicians, songwriters, producers, recording engineers, and supports a more inclusive culture to best position the Academy to drive financial growth in underserved markets.

Prior to joining the Recording Academy|GRAMMYS, Shaw has been at the forefront of leading organizational change through diversity. She served as the first Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer at Starbucks, the world’s largest coffeehouse chain, the first Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer in the National Basketball Association representing the Atlanta Hawks & State Farm Arena franchise, and she served as senior vice president of diversity & inclusion at Edelman, the world’s largest and most profitable public relations/integrated marketing agency. For the past 20 years, Shaw worked in a myriad of industries including publishing, sports entertainment, retail, and communications. She was a human resources practitioner at ESSENCE Magazine, the Yankees Entertainment and Sports Network, and the National Football League.

Shaw received her Master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania and her Bachelor’s degree from Spelman College. She is currently an Adjunct Professor at Fisk University and teaches in the Honors Program in the John R. Lewis Social Justice Institute. In her free time, Shaw enjoys interior design, international travel, cooking and spending time with her husband Keith and three children, Lacy, Hudson and Trey.

Dr. Vernell Bennett-Fairs | President LOC

Greetings from the President

Dear Class of 2023,

 It is my honor to congratulate our degree candidates for LeMoyne-Owen College’s upcoming commencement ceremonies. We are honored to celebrate this moment with your family and friends as you join us in celebrating the fruits of your perseverance and hard work during your collegiate journey. The entire LOC family is proud of your accomplishments and are so excited for the futures you have in front of you. The LOC legacy continues as you now take the lead and go into the world to make a difference. Remember, no matter where life takes you, the LOC magic you possess will never stop.

We look forward to seeing you and yours for the spring commencement ceremonies. 

Congratulations and Go Magicians! 

Dr. Vernell Bennett-Fairs

13th President, LeMoyne-Owen College

Dr. Tara Dunn-Ross | VP Student Affairs

Greetings from the VPSA

Dear LeMoyne-Owen College Graduates,

Congratulations on achieving this important milestone on your journey in life! Your commencement is a celebration of new beginnings, and a reminder to you that the time, commitment, and diligence devoted to your studies was worth the investment. Over the next few weeks, you will share many moments of joy and excitement, but I ask that you take a moment to thank the ones who supported you along the way. Our village keeps us moving forward. Milestone moments such as commencement renew their strength to see you through this next chapter in your life.

The Division of Student Affairs continues to support you as you venture on this next journey. As you move on to greater heights, we encourage you to stay connected to 807 Walker Avenue. Keep us abreast of your accomplishments beyond graduation; those accomplishments will serve as inspiration to your fellow Magicians that are traveling the same road as you. We encourage you to share your testimonies, network within the Alumni family, and as always tell future Magicians of the greatness happening at LeMoyne-Owen College!

We hope your commencement celebration is all that you hope it to be and more. We look forward to seeing you on May 13th!

All the best,

Tara Dunn Ross, Ph.D.

Vice President of Student Affairs

LeMoyne-Owen College

commencement committee

Tara Dunn-Ross, Ph.D. – Chair

Phillip Dotson, M.F.A.- Chief Marshal

Tabatha Barlow –  Student Government Association

Shalunda Askew-Elliott, M.S.

Brene` Moore, M.S.

Carolyn B. Bishop, M.A., M.B.A.

Jennifer Moore, B.A.

Jesse Chatman, `71 B.A.

Jean B. Saulsberry, M.B.A.

June Chinn-Jointer, `79 Ph.D.

Stacey J. Smith, `85 M.A., M.L.S.

Charles G. Elliott, M.B.A.

Mona Washington, `13 B.B.A.

Errick Gatewood, `2007 M.Ed.

Jessica Richard, B. A.

Gavin Wiggingson, M.M.

Angela Wooten, M. S.

Robert Williams, Ed.D

Derek Henson, Ph.D.

Earnestine Gilson, A. A.

Barbara Conard, M.B.A.

Vida Mays, Ph.D.

Sheneka Balogun, Ed.D.

Lisa Lang, Ph.D.

Gavin Turner, B. A.


Dr. Vernell Bennett-Fairs, President

Dr. Lisa Lang, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs

Dr. Sheneka Balogun, Chief of Administration

Dr. Lynda Batiste, Chief Finance Officer

Charles Elliott, Chief Information Technology Officer

Dr. Tara Dunn Ross, VIce President of Student Affairs


Ms. Patricia Covington, Chair
Mr. Donald W. Comer, First Vice Chair
Mr. Jason H. Bergner Second Vice Chair
Mrs. Sharon Devine Harris, Secretary

Dr. Lilia A. Abron
Mr. Jason H. Berger
Mr. Byron Cole
Dr. Christopher Davis
Mrs. Vanecia Kimbrow
Mr. Mickell Lowery
Representative Larry J. Miller
Mr. Michael Scarbrough
Dr. Claudette Shephard
Dr. Haywood Strickland
Mr. Victor Walker
Mrs. Katherine “KC” Warren
Mr. Paul Young

Dr. James J. Bishop
Dr. Thomas E. Dipko
Mr. Jed Dreifus
Dr. Thomas Leonard Gibson
Mr. Herman A. Gilliam
Dr. W. W. Herenton
Mr. Milton D. Hill
Mrs. Fredricka Allen Hodges
Mr. Robert L. Johnson
Ms. Velma Lois Jones
Mr. Robert Lipscomb
Dr. Bennie P. Reams
Mr. Ronald A. Walter

Dr. Delphia Harris
Dr. Zina Parker

Ms. Tabatha Barlow