Houston mayor Sylvester Turner to deliver keynote address at TSU’s fall commencement

Posted on Thursday, December 01, 2022

Houston mayor Sylvester Turner to deliver fall commencement address

Houston mayor Sylvester Turner to deliver fall commencement address. Mayor Turner will also receive Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters Degree.

Houston mayor Sylvester Turner will be the keynote speaker at Texas Southern University’s Fall Commencement exercises.

“Texas Southern University is honored to feature Mayor Sylvester Turner as the Fall 2022 inspirational commencement speaker,” said President Dr. Lesia L. Crumpton-Young. “Just as TSU is committed to transforming the lives of its students, Mayor Turner has demonstrated his commitment to transforming the lives of the citizens of Houston, as well as those in Texas, and throughout the nation. It is our pleasure to recognize his outstanding achievements during commencement by bestowing upon him the Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters Degree.”

Turner was elected Houston’s 62nd mayor in December 2015. He is currently serving his second four-year term. As mayor, he has managed Houston’s recovery from seven federally declared disasters, championed historic pension reform, and launched Houston’s first Climate Action Plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, meet the Paris Agreement goal of carbon neutrality by 2050, and lead the global energy transition.  In February, he released his One Safe Houston initiative to combat crime. Prior to being elected mayor, Turner served for 27 years as the Representative for Texas House District 139. He worked on the House Appropriations Committee for 21 years and served as Speaker Pro Tem for three terms. One of his greatest legislative accomplishments, HB 109, expanded access to the children’s health insurance program. It was passed in 2007.

Nationally, Mayor Turner is widely-respected for his leadership and experience. He currently serves as , Chair of Climate Mayors and Board Chair of the Resilient Cities Network. He is a trustee with the U.S. Conference of Mayors and is immediate past president of the African American Mayors Association.

“To have a speaker of Mayor Turner’s caliber who excelled at the highest levels of academia and public service is an excellent opportunity for our graduates,” said Dr. Lillian B. Poats, acting Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs. “It is especially poignant that the graduates will hear from someone who is from a similar background as so many of them, who has worked hard to achieve great success. We are excited about the encouragement, motivation and enthusiasm he will provide our graduates as they move from college to career.”

Mayor Turner was born in Houston’s Acres Homes community.  He is a lifelong resident of Houston, graduating from Klein High School, the University of Houston, and Harvard Law School. He began practicing law at Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P. and later founded Barnes & Turner Law Firm.

"As one of the nation's largest historically black universities, Texas Southern University provides students with a solid foundation to excel academically and exceed global expectations. It also holds a special place in my heart because I taught at the Thurgood Marshall School of Law for many years," said Mayor Turner. "I am honored to provide the commencement speech and humbled to accept an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters Degree. The moment will stand out as one of the highlights of my life in public service."

Fall commencement takes place on Saturday, December 10, at 9:30 a.m. in the Health & Physical Education Building.

For more information about TSU’s Fall 2022 Commencement, visit



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Last updated: 12/01/2022