The News Service
The 237th Commencement
Sage Morgan-Hubbard and Joshua Wilson To Deliver Senior Orations
Sage Xaxua Morgan-Hubbard of Hyattsville, Md., and Joshua Isaiah Wilson of Haleyville, Ala., will deliver senior orations to their classmates on Sunday, May 29, at 12:20 p.m. in the First Baptist Church in America. Morgan-Hubbard’s address is titled “Story and Voice: Passing on Brown’s Legacy,” and Wilson’s address is titled “Dreams, Diversity and Dixie.”
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Brown University’s graduating Class of 2005 will hear orations from two classmates – first from a poet and social activist, then from an Alabama farmer – during the University’s 237th Commencement Ceremony Sunday, May 29, 2005, at 12:20 p.m. in the First Baptist Church in America.
Sage Xaxua Morgan-Hubbard of Hyattsville, Md., and Joshua Isaiah Wilson of Haleyville, Ala., have been selected as senior orators, a traditional highlight of Brown’s Commencement Weekend. They were chosen from among 60 applicants by a group of faculty and graduating seniors.
“Everyone will enjoy both speeches tremendously,” said Steven Cornish, associate dean of the College and a member of the selection committee. “Joshua’s speech is very moving and had everyone a little choked up, while Sage’s speech is very inspiring and covers a lot of ground.”
Because the First Baptist Church in America is large enough to hold only the graduates, honorary degree recipients, parents of the orators and a few guests, the orations will be simulcast to The College Green, where parents, friends and guests of the graduating class will gather to watch on a large video screen. Closed captioning will be provided. In the event of inclement weather, guests of the graduates may listen to an audio feed of the ceremonies in Meehan Auditorium, Hope Street at Lloyd Avenue, or to a video simulcast in Sayles Hall and the Salomon Center for Teaching.
Sage Xaxua Morgan-Hubbard
Morgan-Hubbard graduated from Edmund Burke High School, a small private school with a senior class of about 45, of which two went on to attend Ivy League universities. She spoke at her high school graduation, presenting a poetic tribute and her rendition of “I Feel Good,” by James Brown. This year she has much simpler plans because, she says, “I have a lot to get into that six and a half minutes.”
In her speech, titled “Story and Voice: Passing on Brown’s Legacy,” Morgan-Hubbard will emphasize the power of voice and story to change and inspire, just as she was inspired by the stories and people she encountered during her years at Brown.
She will also touch upon the special bond she feels with President Simmons and her classmates. Beaming with hope and promise, they arrived at Brown in September 2001 only to face devastating terrorism on American soil two weeks later. “It was such a tough year already for all of us,” said Morgan-Hubbard. “Then to go through this horrific event, we had to hang onto one another all the more.”
Morgan-Hubbard completed a double concentration in ethnic studies and performance studies. She started the performance poetry group WORD! while at Brown and participated in several community service programs. She was also part of a research group for the University Steering Committee on Slavery and Justice and taught at local middle schools.
“It’s important to me to help others and have a social conscience because I am very fortunate to be graduating from Brown,” Morgan-Hubbard said. “My parents and others have sacrificed and worked hard for me to be here. Being chosen as an orator has given me a means of saying thanks and paying tribute to those who couldn’t come to Brown, but who can be inspired by my voice and my story.”
Morgan-Hubbard is the daughter of Margaret and Grigsby Morgan-Hubbard of Hyattsville, Md. She is a Mellon Mays Fellow and plans to attend graduate school and pursue a doctorate in performance studies.
Joshua Isaiah Wilson
Joshua Isaiah Wilson doesn’t mind the country life and hard work. When he wasn’t studying, reading scripture or lifting weights while growing up in Haleyville, Ala., he was working 55 hours a week on the family farm, where the nearest traffic light was 10 miles away. “Ninety percent of what we ate came from what we planted or killed,” he says.
In deciding to attend Brown, Wilson, a two-time first-team football and academic all-stater in high school, took the advice of his older brother, a football star at Auburn University. “He told me, ‘You can’t pass up the Ivy League. It’s a great opportunity. Go for the education,’” said Wilson. “I knew I had to try.”
In his speech, titled “Dreams, Diversity and Dixie,” Wilson will highlight his journey from culture shock to comfort zone at Brown. “My experience growing up on a farm in rural Alabama and my uniqueness made me the typical Brown student,” he said. “Even though I stand out, I fit in perfectly.”
Wilson played on the defensive line for the Brown football team during his freshman year, but a serious concussion ended his career during his sophomore year. While at Brown, Wilson also served as an advisor for the Brown Christian Fellowship, taught freshman Bible study, and was a member of College Hill for Christ, a division of Campus Crusade.
Wilson will graduate with a degree in religious studies. After taking a week off, he plans to move to California to further his studies with Benny Hinn Ministries, where he will conduct research and contribute to spiritual guidance books produced by Hinn, a prominent religious author. Wilson is also negotiating with a theological marketing firm to write and publish at least two books of his own in the next year.
Wilson is the son of Jerry and Trudie Wilson of Haleyville, Ala.