Barack Obama to Headline JP Morgan Chase’s ‘Show Me Your Walk HBCU Edition’ Virtual Commencement

Graduation season is here! And while it is not what students and their families looked forward to in the traditional sense, black leaders have banned together to celebrate HBCU grads virtually amid COVID-19.

On Saturday, May 16, more than 20 black leaders across arts, government, music, business, and sports will join JPMorgan Chase for the ‘Show Me Your Walk HBCU Edition’ as a part of their Advancing Black Pathways initiative.

More than 20,000 students from 78 HBCUs will participate in the star-studded celebration hosted by Kevin Hart. During the commencement, former President Barack Obama will share a special message.

Guest appearances will include Steve Harvey; Chase Consumer Banking CEO Thasunda Brown Duckett; Ariel Investments Co-CEO and President Mellody Hobson; National Urban League President, Marc Morial; and academic leaders from participating HBCUs. Other participants include 10-time NBA All-Star Chris Paul, 8-time NBA All-Star Vince Carter, Debbie Allen, and Vivica Fox.

Graduates will also get to enjoy performances by Anthony Hamilton, Wyclef Jean, Omari Hardwick, and other musical guests—as well as a drumline mash-up featuring Doug E. Fresh.

In a statement released by Chase, Duckett shared her excitement about creating this opportunity for HBCU graduates in partnership with Paul Quinn College President and member of the ABP Advisory Council, Dr. Michael Sorrell and other members of the advisory council from Howard University, The National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education, Thurgood Marshall College Fund, United Negro College Fund, and the National Basketball Association.

“Every student graduating in the Class of 2020 deserves to celebrate this moment—they earned it, even more so during a challenging year for our country and the world. We are showing up for them because we recognize they are our now and our future, and the way forward is full of opportunity,” said Duckett.

Dr. Sorrell added, “As a result of COVID-19, our students have been robbed of a moment that they and their families have earned,” Sorrell said. “I am so grateful that this coalition of partners stepped up to answer the call of the HBCU community and stand in the gap for our students and their families.”

HBCUs are the mecca for some of the world’s brightest minds. According to UNCF, historically black colleges and universities produce 70% of African American doctors and dentists, 50% of black lawyers, and 80% of black judges.

Related: 5 Ways to Ace the Transition From College Grad to First Job

“Historically black colleges and universities remain a critical resource in educating our young people and putting them on a path to lasting and rewarding careers,” said Sekou Kaalund, the Head of Advancing Black Pathways. “Here at JPMorgan Chase, we are firmly committed to supporting HBCUs and helping them continue a tradition of excellence that has helped generations of black people achieve academic and professional success.”

The 2-hour event will be live-streamed on Chase’s YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn channels, as well as HBCU Connect’s Facebook page and Essence Studios on Saturday, May 16 at 2 pm EDT.

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