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Spring Commencement Speakers: Senator Mark Warner and Lt. Gov. Fairfax

Published date: March 20, 2018

Senator Mark WarnerVirginia State University (VSU) President Makola M. Abdullah, Ph.D. announces U.S. Senator Mark Warner and the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Lt. Gov. Justin E. Fairfax will serve as commencement speakers for VSU’s spring commencement ceremonies. The University will hold two ceremonies on Sunday, May 13, 2018 including a morning ceremony at 9 a.m. followed by an afternoon ceremony at 2 p.m. in the VSU Multipurpose Center. Lt. Gov. Fairfax will be the 9 a.m. speaker and Senator Warner is slated as the speaker for the 2 p.m. ceremony.
 
Senator Warner was elected to the U.S. Senate in November 2008 and reelected to a second term in November 2014. He serves on the Senate Finance, Banking, Budget, and Rules Committees as well as the Select Committee on Intelligence, where he is the Vice Chairman. During his time in the Senate, Senator Warner has established himself as a bipartisan leader who has worked with Republicans and Democrats alike to cut red tape, increase government performance and accountability, and promote private sector innovation and job creation. Senator Warner has been recognized as a national leader in fighting for our military men and women and veterans, and in working to find bipartisan, balanced solutions to address our country's debt and deficit.
 
From 2002 to 2006, he served as Governor of Virginia.  When he left office in 2006, Virginia was ranked as the best state for business, the best managed state, and the best state in which to receive a public education.
 
The first in his family to graduate from college, Senator Warner spent 20 years as a successful technology and business leader in Virginia before entering public office. An early investor in the cellular telephone business, he co-founded the company that became Nextel and invested in hundreds of start-up technology companies that created tens of thousands of jobs.
 
Senator Warner and his wife, Lisa Collis, and their three daughters live in Alexandria, Virginia. 
 
Fairfax was elected Lieutenant Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia on November 7, 2017. He is only the second African American in history, and the first in nearly 30 years since the tenure of Governor L. Douglas Wilder, to be elected to statewide office in Virginia.
 

Lt. Gov. Justin FairfaxLt. Gov. Fairfax has been recognized as one of the top young attorneys in the nation and a rising star in American politics. He is a prominent and highly successful lawyer, political figure, philanthropist, and a proud husband, father and community leader. In 2013, at the age of 34, he was awarded the National Bar Association’s “Nation’s Best Advocates Award,” which recognizes 40 top attorneys nationwide under the age of 40. He most recently served as a top commercial and white-collar criminal litigator in the Northern Virginia office of the prestigious law firm, Venable, LLP, which he departed in January 2018, to focus on his duties as Lieutenant Governor during his first General Assembly session.
 
He previously served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia in the Major Crimes and Narcotics Unit of the Alexandria Division. During his tenure as a federal prosecutor, he was appointed to serve as the deputy coordinator of the Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force. Prior to his service as a federal prosecutor, he worked as a litigator at WilmerHale, LLP in Washington, D.C., following his stint as a federal law clerk to United States District Court Judge Gerald Bruce Lee in the Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria Division.
 
He received a scholarship to attend Columbia Law School where he was selected to be a member of the Columbia Law Review and earned his juris doctorate in 2005. He also received a scholarship to attend Duke University where he graduated in 2000 with a degree in public policy studies and was selected as the class graduation speaker for the Duke University Sanford School of Public Policy. He served a three-year term on the Duke University Board of Trustees and is currently serving his third three-year term on the Board of Visitors of the Duke University Terry Sanford School of Public Policy.
 
Lt. Gov. Fairfax and his wife, Dr. Cerina W. Fairfax, DDS, have one son, Cameron, and one daughter, Carys.
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