ATLANTA, GA — Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, and nationally recognized motivational speaker Dr. Eric Thomas will be the commencement speakers at Tennessee State University’s dual spring graduation ceremonies.

Keisha Lance Bottoms, Atlanta’s Mayor

Mayor Bottoms will speak on Friday, May 4, at the graduate commencement ceremony in the Gentry Complex, beginning at 5 p.m.

On Saturday, May 5, Thomas will address undergraduate students in Hale Stadium. The ceremony will begin at 8 a.m.

Overall, more than 1,000 undergraduate and graduate students will receive degrees in various disciplines.

Bottoms, an Atlanta native who was elected mayor last December, became only the second woman to be elected to that post in the city’s history.

A highly accomplished lawyer and successful public servant who advocates for high quality public education, job opportunities and economic growth, Bottoms is expected to inspire TSU graduate students to set high goals for their future.

Bottoms is a member of the State Bar of Georgia, the Atlanta Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, the Dogwood City Chapter of The Links, Inc., and the Atlanta Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

She is a graduate of Florida A&M University and Georgia State University College of Law.  Alongside her public service career, Mayor Bottoms has maintained a private law practice for more than 20 years, and has served as general counsel for a multi-million dollar business, as well as a Judge (Pro Hoc) in Fulton County State Court.

Dr. Thomas, the undergraduate commencement speaker, is a critically acclaimed author, world-renowned speaker, educator and pastor. His “electrifying voice-over talent” is reportedly credited with propelling the Miami Heat to victory in the NBA Finals in 2012.

Called the “Hip Hop Preacher” for his creative style and high-energy messages, Thomas is expected to inspire the graduates with his message on success driven by his famous quote, “When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you’ll be successful.”

Thomas has a long commitment to community activism, which began with his award-nominated GED program that led to his non-profit, Break The Cycle; I Dare you, and a plethora of other ministerial and educational endeavors. The culmination of those efforts resulted in the development of “The Advantage Program” at Michigan State University in 2003. The program targets high-risk college students by improving their study habits and increasing their retention rates. He is also the creator of International Urban Education Consulting, a non-profit organization committed to finding solutions to closing the achievement gap in urban schools through “goal-framing and reformation” in student learning.

Thomas holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees and a Ph.D. in Educational Administration from Michigan State University.