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Senator Rev. Raphael Warnock Selected as Howard Law Class of 2023 Hooding Ceremony Keynote Address Speaker

Sen. Raphael Warnock

WASHINGTON – Dean Danielle Holley of the Howard University School of Law announced that Sen. Rev. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) will deliver the keynote address during Howard University School of Law’s Class of 2023 Hooding Ceremony on Saturday, May 13, 2023. Warnock will address members of the Class of 2023 and their families, Howard Law faculty, staff, and alumni. Howard University School of Law will award 141 juris doctor degrees during the Hooding Ceremony. 

“The Howard University School of Law community is tremendously honored and excited that Sen. Warnock will be joining us,” said Holley. “As a U.S. senator and senior pastor of a historic church in Atlanta, Sen. Warnock is an outstanding public servant and fighter for the people of Georgia. He represents visionary leadership, commitment to community, and uses his skills and talents as tools to improve the lives of everyday people.” 

Led by members of the Class of 2023, Howard Law students have been involved in access to democracy issues, including voter engagement opportunities and voter protection work in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Georgia. The students completed their work in Georgia during Warnock’s 2020 and 2022 election campaigns, making Warnock’s keynote address significant to the Class of 2023.  

“It is with great pleasure that the Howard University community welcomes Senator Raphael Warnock to deliver the School of Law Hooding Ceremony keynote address,” said Howard University President Wayne A. I. Frederick, M.D., MBA. “His decades of service as an advocate for social justice and recent efforts in the United States Senate exemplify Howard’s values of truth and service. We are honored to have him speak at this year’s ceremony.”  

“It is such an honor to be the keynote speaker at Howard Law Class of 2023’s Hooding Ceremony,” said Warnock. “As a Morehouse College graduate, I know firsthand the magic that an HBCU experience can provide. I am looking forward to celebrating our newest generation of changemakers, and sharing what I’ve learned about how they can continue to serve the public and push for justice as they move forward in their lives.” 

After graduating from Morehouse, Warnock earned a PhD from Union Theological Seminary and began his career ordained in the ministry. For more than 16 years, Warnock has served as senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, the former pulpit of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Warnock is the youngest pastor selected to serve in that leadership role at the historic church. 

On January 5, 2021, Warnock was elected to the United States Senate in a special election runoff to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Sen. Johnny Isakson—a seat that appointed Sen. Kelly Loeffler previously held. Currently, Warnock serves on the Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee; Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee; Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, as well as the Special Committee on Aging and the Joint Economic Committee. 

For more than 150 years, the Howard University School of Law has served as an advocate for social justice and as an architect of social change. It has produced more than 4,000 social engineers, including the first African American Supreme Court Justice, noted legislators, civil rights attorneys, mayors, and public officials across the United States. In 2020, PreLaw Magazine ranked Howard Law No. 1 on its list of the Best Law Schools for African Americans. 


About Howard University

Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private, research university that is comprised of 14 schools and colleges. Students pursue more than 140 programs of study leading to undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees. The University operates with a commitment to Excellence in Truth and Service and has produced two Schwarzman Scholars, four Marshall Scholars, four Rhodes Scholars, 12 Truman Scholars, 25 Pickering Fellows and more than 165 Fulbright recipients. Howard also produces more on-campus African American PhD. recipients than any other university in the United States. For more information on Howard University, visit www.howard.edu.

About Sen. Rev. Raphael Warnock

A highly respected pastor and social justice advocate, Sen. Rev. Raphael Warnock was first elected to the United States Senate in 2021 and re-elected for a full term in 2022. Additionally, for more than 16 years, Senator Reverend Warnock has served as Senior Pastor of Atlanta’s historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, the spiritual home of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He is the youngest pastor selected to serve in that leadership role at the historic church.

Sen. Rev. Warnock is a native of coastal Georgia, growing up in Kayton Homes public housing in Savannah, and was born one of 12 brothers and sisters. His father, a veteran, small businessman and preacher, grew up in Burke and Screven County, Ga. Sen. Rev. Warnock’s mother grew up in Waycross, Ga., where she spent summers picking tobacco and cotton. A graduate of Savannah’s Sol C. Johnson High School, Sen. Rev. Warnock’s mother and extended family still live in the Savannah area. Sen. Rev. Warnock is a proud graduate of Atlanta’s Morehouse College and Union Theological Seminary, where he earned his Ph.D. 

A champion for expanding educational access and opportunities, Sen. Rev. Warnock has worked tirelessly to ensure students in Georgia and around the country have access to a higher education that can transform lives. In addition to advocating for efforts to increase college affordability, Sen. Rev. Warnock has been a vocal advocate for student loan debt cancellation and pushed the White House in the summer of 2022 to enact a plan to help provide meaningful relief to millions of students. Sen. Rev. Warnock was also instrumental in the passage of the CHIPS and Science Act, reaching across the aisle to secure STEM education funding in the legislation for HBCUs and other higher education institutions across the nation that will boost American innovation and research. Additionally, as the Senate’s only current HBCU graduate, Sen. Rev. Warnock has co-led efforts in the Senate to strengthen funding for the nation’s HBCUs and 1890 Land-Grant colleges and universities. As a voice for Georgia in the United States Senate, Sen. Rev. Warnock is committed to highlighting the moral urgency for making change in Washington, including continuing to fight for increased access to quality education for students across Georgia and the nation.