Albany, N.Y. (May 25, 2011) – Tom Joyner, philanthropist, entrepreneur, and nationally syndicated radio host, will address 2010–2011 distance education graduates who will convene for Excelsior College's 40th Anniversary Commencement on July 8, 2011 at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany.
Joyner is founder of the Tom Joyner Foundation and host of the Tom Joyner Morning Show, a nationally syndicated radio show. The Tom Joyner Foundation provides financial assistance to students at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Since 1998, the foundation has raised more than $55 million to help keep students enrolled at HBCUs. All foundation funds are used for scholarship support for students with financial need and to ensure the sustainability of institutions.
Excelsior, founded in 1971, has grown to include an adult student population of nearly 30,000; about one-third identify themselves as minorities. As a regionally accredited, nonprofit distance learning institution, Excelsior provides education to students through online learning, college-level credit by examination, and aggregation of prior credit from a variety of approved college-level sources, such as educational training received in the military, certain workplace education programs, and other colleges and universities.
"We are extremely pleased that one of America's most generous philanthropists and high-impact radio personalities will bring his communication and advocacy powers to our 40th Anniversary Commencement," said Dr. John Ebersole, Excelsior president. "Tom Joyner embodies the best of Excelsior and its values: a sense of responsibility for others and a belief in the power of education."
Joyner has also been an organizing and motivating force for various causes, such as prompting major companies to stop discriminating against blacks and Hispanics in advertising and raising health awareness among African Americans with an annual "Take a Loved One to the Doctor Day."
In 2004, Joyner was awarded the National Association of Broadcasters Marconi Radio Award, and in 1998, he became the first African American to be inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame and Museum in Chicago. He was also inducted to the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame at the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Site in January 2008.
A native of Tuskegee, Alabama, Joyner is a graduate of Tuskegee (Institute) University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Sociology.
Excelsior College's Commencement each year attracts hundreds of graduates, friends, and family from around the country and from abroad. For many, events taking place July 8-11 — marked by Commencement itself – offer students their first face-to-face contact with fellow graduates, faculty, and Excelsior staff.