Graduation speaker announced

picture-1.pngFloyd W. Alston will be the featured speaker at the university-wide commencement ceremony at the Liacouras Center on May 22.

Alston, a local business leader, will also receive an honorary doctor of humane letters degree from the university, according to a university release. In 1990, Alston founded Beech Corp., a community development corporation that revitalized the Cecil B. Moore neighborhood. Alston’s contributions through Beech have created $200 million of private development in the neighborhoods surrounding Main Campus.

Alston, a North Philadelphia native, graduated from Temple in 1970 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. He also served as president of the School District of Philadelphia and participated in numerous other civic organizations.

“Floyd Alston has been a catalyst for the kind of change that makes a real difference in the daily lives of Philadelphians, especially those who live and work in the community surrounding Temple,” President Ann Weaver Hart said in the release.

In 2004, Bill Cosby spoke at an event titled “Cosby 101,” where he promised to be at the freshman class’ graduation, which is this year. Temple spokesman Ray Betzner said that the university has no information on Cosby’s plans to attend the ceremony.

The university has awarded more than 800 honorary degrees in its 124-year history. During former president David Adamany’s six-year tenure from 2000 to 2006, only three honorary degrees were awarded. Ann Weaver Hart’s administration awarded its only honorary degree prior to Alston’s award in May at the 25th anniversary of Temple University Japan. That recipient was author and film critic Donald Richie.

Alex Irwin can be reached at

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