Rhodes to Award Honorary Degree to Dr. Benjamin L. Hooks

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Publication Date: 4/28/2008


Dr. Benjamin L. Hooks, 2007 recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, will receive the Honorary Doctor of Humanities degree at the 159th Commencement of Rhodes College on Saturday, May 10. The ceremony begins at 9:30 a.m. in Fisher Garden on the Rhodes campus. In the event of rain, commencement will take place at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church located at 70 N. Bellevue Blvd. President William E. Troutt will preside over the ceremony.

Hooks served as executive director and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) from 1977 to 1992 and was NAACP’s 1986 Spingarn Medal recipient. Hooks has had an extensive career as an ordained minister, attorney, judge, and civil rights leader. In the 1970s, he was a producer and host of local television shows and also served on the board of commissioners for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Hooks attended LeMoyne-Owen College and holds a B.A. degree from Howard University.  He served in the U.S. Army during World War II prior to attending DePaul University where he earned his law degree in 1948. Hooks later became the first African American criminal court judge in Tennessee.