Thursday, April 28, 2016

Columbia, SC -- April 28, 2016 -- The Benedict College Spring Commencement Ceremony for the Class of 2016 will be held at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 7, 2016, at the Charlie W. Johnson Stadium located on Two Notch Road and Read Street in Columbia, South Carolina. Mrs. Billye Suber Aaron, wife of baseball legend Hank Aaron, will deliver the keynote address during the College’s 146th Commencement Exercises.

bc_commencement_20160507_speaker_billye_suber_aaronAn advocate of higher education for African Americans, Mrs. Aaron shows her passion for higher learning founded the Mayor’s MASKED Ball (Mankind Assisting Students Kindle Educational Dreams) with former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young. The event continues to thrive after 28 years to be one of the organization’s most lucrative special events and is now replicated in other major UNCF campaign cities.

During Mrs. Aaron’s 14 years working for UNCF, for 10 years she co-hosted the Atlanta Lou Rawls Parade of Stars telethon and traveled the Southeast supervising UNCF fundraising programs. She became the second woman in the organization to rise to the level of vice president for the southern region. In December 2011, she was honored at the Ball by UNCF President and CEO Michael Lomax with the announcement of a new UNCF scholarship initiative in her honor: the Billye Suber Aaron UNCF Legacy Scholarship.

Although she has long been retired from UNCF, she continues to give her time and her talents to UNCF fundraising projects, and continues to be one of UNCF’s major donors and devoted volunteers.

Prior to working with UNCF, Mrs. Aaron held teaching positions in the Atlanta public school system and at Spelman, Morehouse, and South Carolina State Colleges.

She made her debut on WSB television’s “Today in Georgia” in June 1968, becoming the first African American woman in the Southeast to co-host a daily, regularly scheduled talk show. In her broadcasting role, she interviewed local, national, and international celebrities and dignitaries.

After receiving her bachelor’s degree from Texas College, she later received a master’s degree from Atlanta University. She did further studies at the University of California at Berkley. Mrs. Aaron has received honorary doctorate degrees from Texas College, Allen University, Talladega College, Fisk University, Voorhees College, Spelman College, and Morehouse College.

Mrs. Aaron has received many honors and awards, including the Greater Atlanta YWCA Woman of Achievement Award, Governor’s Statewide Volunteer Leadership Award and Council of National Alumni Associations’ Distinguished Service Award. Additionally, she received the 2003 Martin Luther King Jr. “Salute to Greatness” Award.

Mrs. Aaron is married to Hank Aaron and they have one daughter, Diedra Cecile Haydel, and two grandchildren.

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Contacts:
Kymm Hunter, Assistant Vice President for Communications and Marketing; 803.705.4519 hunterk@benedict.edu
Carolyn Wigfall, Communications and Marketing Manager; 803.705.4366 wigfallc@benedict.edu

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