The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) will conduct spring commencement exercises at 3 p.m. Saturday, May 11, at the Pine Bluff Convention Center. The processional begins at 2:45 p.m.

The commencement address will be delivered by the Rev. Gwendolyn Elizabeth Boyd, D. Min., who was the first woman president of Alabama State University, an ordained elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church and was the 22nd national president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.

Several graduates receive top job offers

UAPB spring 2019 graduates include many who have already received job offers, including 11 graduates in the Department of Industrial Technology Management & Applied Engineering, according to a news release.

These students have received offers, with annual salaries ranging from $50,000 to $77,000, from corporations including Tyson, General Electric, and Northrop Grumman, which has also offered employment upon graduation to students in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, according to the release.

Nine students in that department have already received full-time job offers ranging between $65,000 and $90,000 from major companies such as Boeing, Cerner, and U.S. Navy Civilian, among others. Other graduates include students who will pursue masters’ degrees at UAPB, UA Fayetteville and University of Central Arkansas.

“I am extremely proud of this graduating class of students and wish them much success in their future endeavors,” said Robert Carr, provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs. “Our faculty and administrators always endeavor to create learning environments that help students achieve their academic goals. We are thrilled about the possibilities for these graduates and heartened by the examples they’ve set for graduates to come.”

Commencement speaker Gwendolyn Elizabeth Boyd

Boyd earned her Bachelor of Science degree from Alabama State University with a major in mathematics and a double minor in physics and music. She received a fellowship and was the first African American woman to earn a M. S. degree in mechanical engineering from Yale University. She earned the M. Div. and D. Min. Degrees from Howard University, according to the release.

“Boyd’s professional career of more than three decades at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory was highlighted by exemplary leadership, dedicated service and an appointment as chair of the Johns Hopkins Diversity Leadership Council, which she held for 13 years,” according to the release.

Boyd returned to her alma mater in 2014 and for three years served as the 14th and first woman president of Alabama State. Highlights during her presidency include the university’s first engineering degree program with approval for a B.S. in biomedical engineering, as well putting the institution on a more solid financial footing.

Boyd is a nationally recognized champion for education, especially in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) disciplines. Boyd was nominated by President Barack Obama and received U.S. Senate confirmation to serve as a trustee to the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation in 2009 and served on the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans in 2014.

Boyd serves on the ministerial staff of Ebenezer AME Church in Fort Washington, Md. While serving as the national president of Delta Sigma Theta, Boyd led initiatives that established technology in all facets of the sorority’s activities and administration.

Her four-year tenure as president included a number of transformative accomplishments, including the launching of Project SEE (Science in Everyday Experiences), an initiative funded by a $1.6 million National Science Foundation grant with a goal of promoting math and science for middle school African-American girls.