Here’s a look at FSU, FAMU commencement speakers for the spring 2024 graduating class (2024)

Several high-achieving keynote speakers are set to address the spring 2024 graduating class as thousands of Florida State and Universities’ students get ready to cross the stage.

FSU will have five speakers at its commencement ceremonies this semester — including FSU Coach Odell Haggins, the country’s longest-tenured assistant football coach — while FAMU will have three speakers, including renowned jazz trumpeter Scotty Barnhart.

“We are fortunate to have three accomplished and inspirational speakers to address our 2024 spring graduates,” FAMU President Larry Robinson said in a prepared statement. “I can’t wait to hear the wisdom they will share.”

Here’s a look at FSU, FAMU commencement speakers for the spring 2024 graduating class (1)

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The universities’ commencement events will be held Friday, May 3, and Saturday, May 4, with FSU’s graduations taking place at the Tucker Civic Center as FAMU’s ceremonies will be held at the Al Lawson Center.

More than 1,200 students from FAMU’s 14 colleges and schools are expected to receive their degrees during the ceremonies.

At FSU, President Richard McCullough will preside over a series of events during the two-day celebration where degrees will be awarded to 7,813 graduates, — including 5,739 bachelor’s degrees, 1,379 master’s and specialist degrees and 273 doctoral degrees.

Separate ceremonies will take place for FSU’s College of Law to confer 312 degrees on May 5 while its College of Medicine will confer 110 degrees on May 18, according to the university.

Here are the speakers for this spring’s graduation ceremonies at FSU and FAMU.

Here’s a look at FSU, FAMU commencement speakers for the spring 2024 graduating class (2)

FSU commencement speakers

James Seneff: Seneff, an FSU alumnus with a bachelor’s in business administration, will address College of Business graduates during the university’s 2 p.m. ceremony Friday. He is the founder of CNL Financial Group — an Orlando-based private investment management firm — and he established the James M. Seneff Scholars Program to give FSU students business networking and mentorship opportunities.

Neal Dunn: Dunn is a U.S. Representative from Florida’s 2nd Congressional District and will speak to College of Arts and Sciences graduates at FSU’s 7 p.m. ceremony Friday. The U.S. Army veteran was a surgeon in Panama City for over 25 years and currently serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Christopher Iansiti: A two-time FSU alumnus, Iansiti founded and recently sold IANSITI Performance Group Inc., an organizational performance consulting firm. The FSU College of Business hall of famer currently chairs the FSU Foundation Board of Trustees and will address FSU graduates at Saturday’s ceremony at 9 a.m.

Odell Haggins: FSU Associate Head Football Coach Haggins, who will speak during Saturday’s 2 p.m. ceremony, has been a member of the Florida State Seminoles coaching staff since 1994 and is an FSU Athletics hall of famer. He played for the university from 1985 to 1989 as an All-American defensive lineman, he was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers and he also played for the Buffalo Bills.

Donna Deegan: Deegan is Jacksonville’s first female mayor and will deliver her commencement speech during FSU’s 7 p.m. ceremony Saturday. The FSU alumna — who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in communications and was a broadcast journalist for 25 years — founded the DONNA Foundation to support cancer patients, survivors and health care providers after her personal battles with breast cancer.

Here’s a look at FSU, FAMU commencement speakers for the spring 2024 graduating class (3)

FAMU commencement speakers

LaToya Myles: Myles, a FAMU alumna, is deputy director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Air Resources Laboratory (NOAA ARL) and will speak to FAMU’s graduates at 6 p.m. Friday. Myles was also the first woman and first African American to serve in a division director role at ARL through its Atmospheric Turbulence and Diffusion Division in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

Scotty Barnhart: Barnhart — an acclaimed jazz trumpeter, leader, composer, arranger, educator and author — will address the university’s graduates at Saturday’s 9 a.m. ceremony. The three-time Grammy winner and FAMU alumnus is director of the Count Basie Orchestra and is also a tenured professor of jazz at FSU.

Gregory Gerami: Gerami is the founder and CEO of the farming company Batterson Farms Corporation, and he is also a pioneer in producing and selling high-quality hemp seeds. He will speak to graduates from FAMU colleges and schools that include the School of Business and Industry and the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering during Saturday’s 2 p.m. ceremony.

While FAMU’s commencement ceremonies are open to the public, FSU’s graduations are ticketed events.

For information on the commencement schedules by college and how to livestream the ceremonies, visit FSU’s website at and FAMU’s website at

TCC commencement speaker

Dana Brooks: Brooks, TCC alumna and shareholder with Fasig Brooks Law Offices, was scheduled to deliver the keynote address for Tallahassee Community College at its commencement ceremony, Thursday, May 2, at 6 p.m. at the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center.

"This is TCC’s final graduation ceremony before becoming Tallahassee State College in July," the college said. Jullion Griffin, the Student Government Association President for 2023-24, was to provide the student remarks.

Contact Tarah Jean attjean@tallahassee.comor follow her on X:@tarahjean_.

This article originally appeared on Tallahassee Democrat: FSU, FAMU announce 2024 commencement speakers for spring graduation

Here’s a look at FSU, FAMU commencement speakers for the spring 2024 graduating class (2024)
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