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Congresswoman Lucy McBath and Senator Jennifer McClellan will be Virginia State University’s Spring Commencement Speakers

Published date: May 19, 2019

Virginia State University (VSU) is proud to announce that Congresswoman Lucy McBath and Senator Jennifer McClellan will be the 2019 Spring Commencement speakers. VSU’s Commencement Ceremony is scheduled for Sunday, May 19 in the VSU Multipurpose Center. Senator McClellan will deliver the commencement address at the 9 a.m. ceremony and Congresswoman McBath will deliver the commencement address at the 2 p.m. ceremony.  

VSU welcomes Congresswoman McBath back to the Land of Troy, where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1982.  Congresswoman McBath is a mother, a wife, an author, and an activist, but the most important title she will ever hold is Jordan’s Mom. McBath spent 30 years working for Delta Airlines as a flight attendant until the death of her 17-year-old son, Jordan Davis, in 2012. Jordan was shot and killed in what became known as the “Loud Music Shooting.” After his death, McBath turned to activism. She has dedicated her life to preventing other families from experiencing the same tragedy that she did.

McBath held dual roles as the national spokesperson for Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action, as well as faith and outreach leader for both. After years of advocating to local, state, and federal legislators, the Congresswoman decided to run for office herself. She decided to run for the Georgia State House in 2017, but after the Parkland shooting she knew she had to step up and run for Congress.

In addition to her experiences with gun violence, Congresswoman McBath was inspired to run for Congress because she is a two-time breast cancer survivor. She knows the importance of covering those with preexisting conditions and increasing accessibility to quality and affordable health care. Congresswoman McBath represents the Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District.

VSU also welcomes Senator Jennifer McClellan, a Petersburg VA native, as its morning commencement speaker.  Senator McClellan was elected to the Senate of Virginia in January 2017.  She serves on the Agriculture, Conservation & Natural Resources, Local Government, and Transportation Committees.  Senator McClellan chairs the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Commission, and serves on the Virginia Indian Commemorative Commission and the Task Force on the Preservation of the History of Former Enslaved African Americans.  She co-chairs the Capital Region Caucus, serves as vice chair of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus, and is a member of the Rural Caucus and Women’s Health Care Caucus.  She also serves on the Southern Regional Education Board Legislative Advisory Council.  In 2017, she was selected to be a Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellow. 

Prior to her election to the Senate, she was a member of the Virginia House of Delegates for 11 years serving on the House Education, Commerce and Labor, and Courts of Justice Committees, the Virginia Crime Commission (Executive Committee) and the Virginia Conflicts of Interest and Ethics Advisory Council.

During her tenure in the General Assembly, she served as a member of Governor Ralph Northam’s Transition Committee, chair of Governor McAuliffe’s Transition Team, and a member of Governor McDonnell’s Domestic Violence Prevention and Response Advisory Board, Governor Kaine’s Poverty Reduction Task Force and Commission on Sexual Violence, and the Civil Rights Memorial Commission.

She is an assistant general counsel at Verizon Communications.  She is a member of the Virginia Bar Association (VBA) Board of Governors, the Virginia State Bar, the Metropolitan Women’s Bar Association, the Richmond Bar Association, and the Oliver Hill/Samuel Tucker Bar Association.  She previously served on the Virginia State Bar’s Diversity Conference, Young Lawyers Conference (past president), and Corporate Counsel Section (past chair), and as vice chair of the VBA Pro Bono Task Force. 

Her community service extends to a wide variety of state and local organizations. She serves as a member of the Boards of the YWCA of Richmond, the Children’s Museum of Richmond, the Virginia League of Planned Parenthood, the Moton Museum, and Virginia Premier Health Plans. She is also a member of the Virginia Center on Aging Advisory Committee. 

She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., the Junior League of Richmond, the Fan District Association, the Fan Women’s Club, the League of Women Voters, the Richmond NAACP, and the Richmond Crusade for Voters.  She is a graduate of the Sorensen Institute of Political Leadership’s 2001 Political Leaders Program and 2005 Candidate Training Program, and member of the 2004 Class of Leadership Metro Richmond.

Senator McClellan was born in Petersburg, Virginia.  She received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Richmond and a law degree from the University of Virginia.  She is married to David Mills, and they have two children, Jackson and Samantha.

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