Former Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed named Howard University commencement speaker

Reed discusses career, dog walking controversy at Howard University commencement

On Saturday morning, former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed delivered the keynote address at Howard University’s graduation ceremony.

RELATED: Watch: Kasim Reed delivers commencement speech at Howard University

During his 20-minute speech, he reflected on his time at the HBCU, where he earned his bachelor’s and law degrees, and how his experience has impacted his life and others. 

He called the Washington, D.C., institution a “dream factory,” naming notable alumni, including Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American U.S. Supreme Court justice; Sharon Pratt Dixon, the first African-American woman mayor of Washington, D.C.; and award-winning actress Taraji P. Henson.

“I never get Howard confused with Harvard, because I know how good Howard is,” he said.

He also addressed the recent controversy between the school and residents who’ve walked their dogs on the private campus. 

“We are not a dog park. We are not a place for Frisbee tossing and latte sips — unless you’re a student here,” he asserted. “We are a mission institution with broad shoulders and big hearts ... So, no. Howard University will not be moving, and we will not be changing our address.”  

» RELATED: Howard University president issues statement about residents dog walking on campus

The politician made sure to also sprinkle pop culture references throughout his remarks. He gave shout outs to Beyoncé and 2 Chainz. And he encouraged the graduates to take a note from Migos by referencing their song “Walk It Talk It.”

Earlier this week, the university’s decision to choose Reed as the commencement speaker was met with online criticism, with some citing the ongoing federal investigation into Reed’s City Hall administration. 

A grand jury issued several subpoenas last year, demanding information about credit card spending by Reed and his office, as well as records related to city travel. 

Reed has not publicly commented on the investigation.

» RELATED: Former Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed named Howard University commencement speaker

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.