University of Maryland Eastern Shore The 125th Anniversary
125th Anniversary
"Celebrating the Journey: The 125th Anniversary of UMES" 1886-2011




Graduation Speakers

  U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood MarshallCivil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (1)Sports pioneer Jackie Robinson (2)First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt

The University of Maryland Eastern Shore is a place that opens doors for students – many of whom are the first in their families to pursue higher education and earn a college degree.

Their college careers at UMES culminate at graduation with words of wisdom and guidance delivered by accomplished, prominent and sometimes historic figures.

Among the luminaries who have graced the Princess Anne campus for spring commencement exercises during the past half-century:

  • Horace Mann Bond (1948, 1961), social scientist, historian, college president (Fort Valley State College & Lincoln University)
  • Eleanor Roosevelt (1954), First Lady and women's rights activist
  • Thurgood Marshall (1957), civil rights lawyer and U.S. Supreme Court justice
  • Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.* (1959), minister, civil rights leader
  • Jackie Roosevelt Robinson (1968), the first black man to play Major League Baseball
  • Andrew Young (1978), pastor, civil rights activist, politician, diplomat
  • Benjamin F. Payton (1987), minister, farmer, educator, Tuskegee University president (1981-2010)
  • Bill Cosby (1998), entertainer, educator, philanthropist
  • Bishop Desmond Tutu* (2005), Anglican clergyman and South African civil rights activist
  • Marian Wright Edelman (2006), founder / president Children's Defense Fund

* - Tutu and King are Nobel Peace Prize laureates.


(1) King photo courtesy of the Library of Congress /U.S. News & World Report; (2) Robinson photo courtesy of the National Baseball Hall of Fame library, Cooperstown, N.Y.

"Celebrating the Journey: The 125th Anniversary of the
University of Maryland Eastern Shore" 1886-2011