Melissa Harris-Perry to give Eckerd College commencement speech May 18

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Author, political science professor and MSNBC TV host Melissa Harris-Perry will give the 2014 Eckerd College Commencement speech.

The ceremony begins 8 a.m. on Sunday, May 18 at Eckerd’s South Beach Field.

Harris-Perry, who served on the faculties of the University of Chicago and Princeton University, is the author of Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes and Black Women in America, Her news and opinion show airs weekends from 10 a.m. to noon on MSNBC.

She is also the aunt of graduating Eckerd senior Christina Smith.

“I’m honored to address the 2014 graduating class of Eckerd College,” Dr. Perry said. “My own beloved niece is among the graduates as was her older sister in 2011. Eckerd is truly part of our family now.”

A faculty member at Tulane University since 2011, Harris-Perry will be returning to her alma mater, Wake Forest University, on July 1 as professor of Politics and International Affairs. She will also serve as Presidential Chair, an endowed position that for exceptional faculty.

“In an era characterized by impoverished political discourse, Dr. Harris-Perry, through her show, has created a forum for probing many of the vexing political and social issues facing our nation,” said Eckerd President Donald Eastman.

Eckerd commencement speakers are not paid, but Harris-Perry will receive an honorary degree during the ceremony.

Previous Eckerd College Commencement speakers include Nobel Peace Laureate Elie Wiesel, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, U.S. Reps. C.W. Bill Young and Kathy Castor, environmental activist Bill McKibben, civil rights icon John Hope Franklin, journalist Eugene Patterson, author Dennis Lehane, Poynter Institute President Karen Brown Dunlap, St. Petersburg Poet Laureate Peter Meinke, business executive Steve Forbes and General David Petraeus.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.