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Two Little Rock higher-education institutions -- Philander Smith College and the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service -- will hold commencement exercises over the weekend.

Philander Smith College will hold its graduation ceremony today, beginning at 10 a.m. in the Statehouse Convention Center.

Actor and producer Laz Alonso is the main commencement speaker. Alonso was born and raised in Washington, D.C., and graduated from Howard University, a historically black college in the nation's capital.

He began his career as an investment banker in New York City before pursuing an acting career. His roles include Tsu'tey in the science fiction film Avatar and Fenix Calderon in the film Fast & Furious. Other film credits include Jarhead, Miracle at St. Anna, and Jumping The Broom.

A total of 105 degrees will be conferred, according to Philander Smith officials.

Honorary doctorates

The college will award honorary doctorates to four alumni:

• Charles W. Donaldson of Little Rock, a former longtime higher-education administrator with the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

• Arthur N. Montgomery of Batesville, a retired military veteran.

• Lynda Byrd of San Antonio, Texas, a retired administrator with the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church.

• Raphael Lewis of Little Rock, a retired Philander Smith College political science professor.

After the graduation ceremony, the college will host a free luncheon on campus for faculty and staff members, students, and members of the community to celebrate with the new graduates and their families.

Philander Smith College, founded in 1877, is a private historically black college.

Clinton School

On Sunday, the Clinton School of Public Service will hold its graduation ceremony at the Statehouse Convention Center.

The main commencement speaker will be Christina Standerfer, who becomes a professor emeritus, effective July 1. Standerfer is the first Clinton School faculty member to achieve emeritus status. (Tom Bruce was named dean emeritus in 2008.)

Standerfer was a 2012-13 Fulbright Lecturing Scholar at University Marin Barleti in Tirana, Albania, and worked with the U.N. women's agency and the U.S. Embassy delivering workshops and reports on public speaking, policy debate, conflict transformation, and effective advocacy.

At graduation, as part of the school's commitment to public service and tradition of giving, the school will collect socks, checks and cash from guests who wish to donate to the A Bridge to Work program. A Bridge To Work is a Little Rock partnership with Canvas Community Church that helps to connect homeless people to stable employment.

The Clinton School, founded in 2004, is part of the public University of Arkansas System and confers master's degrees.

Metro on 05/04/2019

Print Headline: Philander Smith, Clinton School set graduations

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