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Humanitarian Ben Carson to be speaker for graduates

Ben Carson

Internationally renowned neurosurgeon and humanitarian Benjamin Carson will deliver the keynote address at the University's 167th Commencement ceremony on Monday, May 14.

Carson is a full professor of neurosurgery, oncology, plastic surgery and pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, where he has directed pediatric neurosurgery at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center for more than 25 years. He is well known for overcoming his troubled youth in inner-city Detroit, thanks to his mother's strong guidance and his own avid reading, to become a gifted neurosurgeon famous for his work separating conjoined twins.

"Few men or women have demonstrated to so inspiring a degree the transformational effect of liberal learning and the humanities. Dr. Carson has transformed lives both inside the operating room and beyond through his dedication to improve access to education. His story is one that will inspire and resonate with our students," says President Jim Wagner, who will preside over the ceremony for about 3,700 graduates. Commencement will take place on the Quadrangle with more than 14,000 expected to attend.

Some of Carson's career highlights include the first and only successful separation of craniopagus twins joined at the back of the head in 1987, among other groundbreaking surgeries. He is president and co-founder of the Carson Scholars Fund, which recognizes young people of all backgrounds for exceptional academic and humanitarian accomplishments, and has awarded more than $4.5 million dollars to more than 4,500 scholars.  

Carson has received numerous awards for his accomplishments, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2008, the highest civilian honor in the United States. He is the author of four books; a fifth book, "America The Beautiful," will be released this year. 

Carson has been recommended to the Emory Board of Trustees to receive an honorary doctor of humane letters degree at the Commencement ceremony.

For more information on Commencement and related events, visit

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