U.S. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings will speak at the University of Maryland, College Park’s winter commencement, the university announced Wednesday.
The Baltimore Democrat will also receive an honorary doctorate of public service from the university during the Dec. 19 ceremony at the XFINITY Center on campus.
“We are at pivotal time in our nation and our world, and it is a tremendous honor to address a bright, talented and ambitious graduating class as they enter our workforce and make an impact on the future,” Cummings said in a statement.
University president Wallace D. Loh said Cummings is an “outstanding role model” for students in College Park.
“Congressman Cummings rose from a humble background, embraced the power of education, and in 35 years of service has never forgotten where he came from,” Loh said in a statement. “Colleagues on both sides of the aisle deeply admire his commitment to bipartisanship. His message has great power.”
Cummings began his career in the Maryland House of Delegates and has represented the state’s seventh congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1996.
The Baltimore native is now the ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
“He really has an opportunity to talk about what the future of higher education is going to be and what is going to be commitment of not only Maryland, but the federal government,” said student government association president A.J. Pruitt. “I hope he brings a message of unity.”
Cummings earned a degree from the University of Maryland law school, and has been awarded 12 honorary doctoral degrees from colleges across the country.
Cummings is not the only political figure that will address graduates in this state. U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos will speak at the University of Baltimore on Dec. 18., a choice that prompted protests and petitions from students who say the controversial cabinet member’s values don’t align with those of the school.