Kentucky State University announces spring commencement speaker

Kentucky State University announces spring commencement speaker

Posted on April 20, 2018

Kentucky State University recently announced Dr. Randal Pinkett, co-founder, chairman and CEO of BCT Partners, will deliver the keynote address at the spring 2018 commencement Saturday, May 12 at 9 a.m. at the William Exum Center.

Pinkett was the first African-American to win the United States version of The Apprentice.

Pinkett had an extensive business career prior to winning season four of The Apprentice. He gained corporate experience at General Electric, AT&T Bell Laboratories and Lucent Technologies. He’s also launched four socially responsible business ventures, which fund high school outreach activities, provide training and development for emerging and seasoned professionals, focus on the unique needs of inner city communities and implement broadband network and telecommunications solutions for affordable housing. Past clients for those companies include General Motors, the United Negro College Fund, Exxon, the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering and Merck & Company.

Pinkett has been featured on nationally televised programs such as The Today Show, Live with Regis and Kelly and CNN. He’s also been featured in Parade magazine, The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Boston Globe.

Pinkett is a Next Generation Leadership Fellow of the Rockefeller Foundation, a recipient of the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Fellowship, a former National Society of Black Engineers National Member of the Year, a former Top 20 Scholar by USA Today, an NCAA academic all-American and many, many more accolades.

Pinkett holds five academic degrees, including a bachelor’s in electrical engineering from Rutgers University; a master’s in computer science as a Rhodes Scholar from Oxford University in England; a master’s in electrical engineering, an MBA and a doctorate from MIT.

With three books and many scholarly publications, Pinkett is an accomplished writer and scholar. He is a proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., the Information Technology Senior Management Forum and The National Society of Black Engineers. He’s also the national spokesperson for Autism Speaks, the National Black MBA Association, New Jersey Reads and Junior Achievement of New York.

Born in Philadelphia, Pinkett currently resides in New Jersey with his wife, Zahara Wadud-Pinkett. He is an active member of First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in New Jersey.

Musical guest Callie Day will perform during commencement and baccalaureate. The Atlanta native has previously performed with the Miami University Opera, the Cincinnati Opera, the Bowling Green State University Opera and as a touring member of the American Spiritual Ensemble.

Day release her first single, Hear My Prayer, in 2016. Her freshman album released in 2017.

Here’s what graduating seniors need to know:

  • Graduates may share their photos on social media with the hashtag #KYSUGRAD18.
  • Graduates may submit information online for submission to their local newspaper at
  • Commencement rehearsal is scheduled for Wednesday, May 9 at 10 a.m. at the William Exum Center. Graduating seniors will have the opportunity to have a formal photo made in full regalia or professional attire. One free print will be distributed per graduating senior.
  • Baccalaureate service is scheduled Friday, May 11 at 10 a.m. in the Little Theatre of David H. Bradford Hall.

This story was updated May 2, 2018 at 9:30 p.m.