Whalum Dazzles During Concert, Commencement
Texas Southern University graduate and Grammy Award winning jazz musician Kirk Whalum headlined two major campus events December 11 and 12 as the Fall 2015 semester came to a close. On December 11, Whalum and his musical friends Gerald Albright, Norman Brown, and Shelea entertained the near capacity Sawyer Auditorium crowd with his annual “Gospel According to Jazz” Christmas concert. The quartet of musicians took turns performing a variety of songs from traditional Christmas carols like Joy to the World and The Christmas Song, etc. to contemporary hits from their various projects including Grover Works and Underpaid to Can’t Stay Blue. At times they all shared the stage together much to the crowds delight. Following the concert fans got a chance to purchase the Grammy nominated Gospel According to Jazz 4 and have it signed as well as take pictures with the artists.
Whalum returned to his alma mater bright and early December 12 for the Winter 2015 Commencement exercises where he was presented by President Rudley with the honorary doctorate of humane letters, the highest honor the university can bestow to an individual. Dr. Whalum then took to the podium where he delivered the commencement speech offering challenge and encouragement to the graduates.
Two students with the highest academic honors of the class were salutatorian Ms. Tra’Shonda Triniece-Marie Jenkins, a Marketing major with a 3.85; and valedictorian, Ms. Theresa Ijeoma Brown, an Environmental Health major with a 3.97 GPA. The 2015 class consists of 783 students. There are 550 undergraduates; 210 graduate level; 21 Juris Prudence or law degrees; and 2 professional degrees in pharmacy.