WILBERFORCE — Heralding 167 years, the nation’s first, private historically black university (HBCU) will celebrate the 2023 commencement exercises beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 6 in the Alumni Multiplex.

Former State Rep. Stephanie Howse will deliver the keynote address to the graduating seniors. Howse, a member of the Ohio House of Representatives (Cleveland’s 11th District) from 2015 to 2021, now represents Cleveland’s seventh ward as a member of the Cleveland City Council.

Howse was also an educator, consultant, and engineer. Her range of lived experiences keeps her grounded in the realities of everyday people and motivates her to use her public platform to share uncomfortable truths and engage in uncomfortable conversations to move the community forward for the benefit of all and not just a select few, the university said on its website.

She earned her B.S. in civil (environmental) engineering from Florida A&M University and her M.A. in environmental studies from Cleveland State University.

A commencement highlight will be the recognition of the Golden Grads, the Wilberforce alums who received their degrees in 1973.

There will be a baccalaureate service at 6 p.m. on Friday, May 5, also in the Alumni Multiplex. Saturday’s commencement processional will begin at 9:45 a.m. in the Health & Wellness Aerobics Room.

Doors to the multiplex open at 8 a.m. and close at 9:30 a.m. for the processional.