Sen. Cory Booker will be the commencement speaker at Temple University's 2018 graduation ceremony and will also receive an honorary degree, the college said this week.
The New Jersey native will address the Class of 2018 at Temple's 131st commencement ceremony Thursday, May 10. During commencement, Booker will receive an honorary degree alongside two Philadelphia locals: Robert Bogle, president and CEO of the Philadelphia Tribune, and Meryl Levitz, president and CEO of Visit Philadelphia.
Temple has bestowed nearly 900 honorary degrees "upon leaders from many backgrounds and fields whose achievements exemplify the university's ideals and mission," the university said in a statement.
"Commencement is a time where we celebrate the extraordinary achievements of our students, and pay tribute to great role models," said Temple president Richard M. Englert. "This year, we honor three people whose work in their communities echoes Temple's own commitment to community engagement."
Before winning a Senate seat as a Democrat and becoming the first black U.S. senator for New Jersey, Booker served two terms as mayor of Newark. While at Stanford University as an undergraduate, Booker played football and was awarded a Rhodes scholarship to study at the University of Oxford. While pursuing a law degree at Yale University, he volunteered with Big Brothers Big Sisters, was a member of the Black Law Students Association, and operated a free legal clinic for low-income area residents.
Booker last spoke at Temple at the 2014 memorial service for the late trustee Lewis Katz, for whom Temple's medical school is named.
In nearly 50 years with the Tribune — America's oldest and the Greater Philadelphia region's largest daily newspaper serving the African American community — Bogle held nearly every position at the publication before becoming its chairman, president, and CEO.
Levitz worked as founding president and CEO of Visit Philadelphia, one of the city's most active tourism organizations. She also cofounded the Center City Proprietors Association, oversaw the opening of the Great Plaza at Penn's Landing, and codirected the opening of the Convention Center and the Reading Terminal Market. In January, Levitz said she would be stepping down from Visit Philadelphia at the end of this year.