Antwan Wilson Commencement Speech

722 Words3 Pages

When Antwan Wilson was first asked to give the commencement speech for Nebraska Wesleyan University, he said he was humbled.

“People who grew up like I grew up don’t give commencement speeches in the state of Nebraska,” he said. “At least not when I grew up, that’s not the way it was.”

But on Saturday afternoon, the chancellor of D.C. Public Schools will deliver the university’s 128th commencement to 489 undergraduate and graduate students.

It’s been 22 years since Wilson’s own graduation, but he said it feels like he was just there.

"I look back, and I entered this institution almost 27 years ago," he said. "That's crazy to me. It feels like maybe 10."

But Wilson has come a long way since his graduation in 1995. After 19 years of various jobs …show more content…

“Not complaining and just doing your job. And just doing it hard and enjoying it,” he said. “That’s very much a Nebraska thing, I take a lot of pride in it.”

Wilson's time at Wesleyan was especially valued, enough to where he gave no second thought when asked to deliver the commencement speech.

“Wesleyan has benefited my life in so many ways,” he said. “It’s home. It will always be that.”

Wilson first came to Wesleyan in 1990, believing he would study law to promote social justice. It wasn’t until a spring break trip to the Chicago his sophomore year that he began to consider switching majors.

He visited the Chicago National Teacher of the Year, Linda Murray, at Hyde Park Career Academy. In Murray, Wilson saw a teacher who had extremely high expectations for all of her students, regardless of their race or background. He said he saw students begging to get into her classroom, willing to stand in the back of the classroom to take notes.

“For me, it was like, well why aren’t all kids getting this experience?” he said. “Why is the bar lowered so often for young people who look like me?”

Wilson ended up adding education on to a history social-science

Open Document