Committee announces alum as commencement speaker

Committee announces alum as commencement speaker

by Josh BrammerStaff Writer

After a long nation-wide search, the 2007 commencement speaker has been chosen. Bernard Franklin, senior vice president for NCAA governance and membership, was chosen to speak at this year’s commencement ceremony.

Franklin is a 1974 graduate of Simpson College. During his years here, Franklin was involved in many different activities.

“I was involved in the Student Government Association and was a resident assistant,” Franklin said. “Also, I was involved in the campus black unity organization, serving as president for a couple of years.”

Franklin’s other activities included intramurals and washing dishes in the cafeteria.

After graduating from Simpson, Franklin attended McDaniel College, formerly Western Maryland College, in Westminster, Md., where he received his Master of Education. He then attended Teachers College at Columbia University in New York, N.Y., where he received his Doctorate of Education.

In his current position with the NCAA, Franklin works closely with Divisions I, II, and III governance staffs and is responsible for managing membership, research and education staffs.

Franklin is responsible for assuring policy and procedure development that supports the functions of governance groups. He is also responsible for working closely with the president.

“I act for NCAA President Myles Brand as the senior staff liaison to the NCAA Executive Committee,” Franklin said.

Before working at the NCAA, Franklin served as president of Virginia Union University in Richmond, Va., Livingstone College and Hood Theological Seminary in Salisbury, N.C. and Saint Augustine’s College in Raleigh, N.C. He is also a former member of the NCAA Division II President’s Council.

Franklin is actively involved in community service, serving on the Simpson College Board of Trustees and the Indianapolis Visitors and Convention Bureau.

Franklin and his wife have three daughters–Jacori, Gabrielle and Allyson.

Members of the commencement committee said that Franklin has an excellent message for students.

“Dr. Franklin has an interesting story to tell” Griffith said. “He has been involved with higher education for many years and has a lifetime of involvement with Simpson.”

Franklin is excited to have the opportunity to speak.

“It’s a tremendous honor,” Franklin said. “I’m looking forward to attending the graduation ceremony and seeing some of my former classmates.”

Committee members went through a long process looking at many different options for the speaker. They considered professors, award-winning authors, movie directors and prestigious alumni. Celebrities Jon Stewart and Oprah Winfrey were also considered, but politely declined.

Professor of Management Marilyn Mueller, who also served on the committee, said having a committee was very effective.

“The committee allowed for a variety of voices to be heard,” Mueller said. “The students were able to give their input and play a strong role in the process.”