Fisk University will observe its 135th Commencement on May 4, 2009 at 10 a.m. at Temple Baptist Church located at 3810 Kings Lane in Nashville, TN. Judge Glenda A. Hatchett, Esq. will give the commencement address and will receive an honorary doctorate degree along with Leatrice B. McKissack, former CEO of McKissack & McKissack, Fisk alumna and trustee emeritus.
“Fisk University continues to produce leaders of the future,” Hatchett said. “It is important that young graduates approach leadership with integrity and a commitment to service in an ever-expanding global platform.”
After graduating from Emory University School of Law and completing a clerkship in the U.S. Federal Courts, Glenda Hatchett, Esq. served as Delta Airlines Senior Attorney and Manager of Public Relations. As the company’s highest-ranking African-American woman, she litigated cases in federal courts throughout the United States and supervised Delta’s global crisis management and media relations for all of Europe, Asia and the United States. Ebony Magazine recognized Judge Hatchett’s contributions and named her as one of the “100 Best and Brightest Women in Corporate America.”
In 1991, Hatchett accepted an appointment as Fulton County Chief Presiding Judge of the Georgia Juvenile Court and became Georgia’s first African-American Chief Presiding Judge of a state court and the department head of one of the largest juvenile court systems in the country.
Beginning in 2000, Hatchett became the presiding judge of the nationally syndicated show, “Judge Hatchett”. The show remained in production for eight seasons and has remained in syndication. She is also the author of the national best-seller, “Say What You Mean, Mean What You Say.”
During the 2009 commencement weekend activities, Fisk University will induct 12 students into its Delta of Tennessee Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s first and most prestigious academic honors society. The ceremony begins at 6:00 p.m. on May 1st in the Spence Hall Faculty Dining Room.
Students are elected into Phi Beta Kappa by the secret ballot vote of faculty members of the University’s Delta Chapter. In order to be eligible for election into Phi Beta Kappa after six semesters, students must have a GPA of 3.7 or above. The minimum average for election is a GPA of 3.5 after eight completed semesters of work. Candidates for the society must exhibit leadership academically and socially.
Marcus Gates, class valedictorian, will be among the inductees. Gates majored in biology at Fisk and is now studying medicine as part of Fisk’s joint degree program with Meharry Medical College. Gates has a grade point average of 3.99.
“Fisk’s family environment and challenging academics prepared me for medical school,” Gates said.
Fisk University, founded in 1866, is Nashville’s first university. In 1952, Fisk became the first historically black institution to induct members into Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s most prestigious honor society. Fisk currently produces more African-American students who go on to earn doctoral degrees in the natural sciences than any other institution in the nation.