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About 650 Bowie State Students Receive Degrees at Spring Commencement

May 23, 2017

Dr. Burnim Addresses Graduates, Their Families in His Last Commencement as BSU President

Damita Chambers,, 301-832-2628 mobile

(BOWIE, Md.) The Bowie State University class of 2017 graduates and their families celebrated their achievement at the Spring Commencement yesterday, as the world watched. View the photos and watch the livestream broadcast.

BSU graduates celebrate at commencement

About 650 students received their degrees, including five doctoral candidates. Dozens of undergraduate students achieved Latin Honors, including five students who earned perfect 4.0 grade point averages: Meshai Anthony (psychology), Sophie Barden (theater arts), Devin Bloh (psychology), Darnisha Johnson (communications), and Airis Thomas (communications).

In his commencement address, the last he would give as president of Bowie State, Dr. Burnim shared lessons he learned over his life that would benefit the graduates as they leave the university.

“One’s most significant growth is likely to come from a failure experience,” he said. He shared how his past failures set him on the course to become Bowie State University’s ninth president and how the graduates can do the same as they navigate the challenges of life.

Dr. Burnim’s words of comfort were especially poignant for the family of 2nd Lt. Richard Collins. He posthumously conferred Collins’s degree and presented it to his family. An empty seat draped in Collins’ graduation gown sat in the arena to honor him throughout the ceremony.


Bowie State University (BSU) is an important higher education access portal for qualified persons from diverse academic and socioeconomic backgrounds, seeking a high-quality and affordable public comprehensive university. The university places special emphasis on the science, technology, teacher education, business, and nursing disciplines within the context of a liberal arts education. For more information about BSU, visit