Cobb Challenges HNU Graduates to be Hawks that ‘Pray,’ Not those that ‘Prey’

Holy Names University graduates

Holy Names University (HNU) commencement speaker Paul Cobb challenged the graduating class to “Just Serve” the community by organizing themselves into a postgraduate network to strategize and volunteer with community support in a “co-venture “to help each of you to face the real hardship of retiring your student debt and finding jobs.”

Besides inviting him to speak at the graduation, Holy Names awarded Cobb an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters degree.

In his remarks, Cobb channeled the university’s “Hawk” mascot theme to encourage the graduates to “dive with hawk-like eyes” to “pursue their own careers and HNU’s social justice mission the political reality of voter registration and census participation to become relevant.”

Cobb said, “since HNU has been recognized as the most diverse and racially integrated student body population in the country, your practice of Black, White, LatinX and Asian students each volunteering to join and “Just Serve” each other’s cultural organizations should become the model of intersectionality and cross-cultural activism on all the nation’s campuses.”

He thanked the students for recommending him as their speaker and for reading the Post and El Mundo as part of their class activities. In the 1960s, Cobb told them, he marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Alabama and Mississippi and helped to elect Bennie Thompson, the Black congressman who represents Tutwiler, Miss., where HNU students now volunteer to build housing and serve in the health clinic and community center.

“Be a hawk that ‘PRAYS’, not one that PREYS upon your community, so you can have the strength to fight the systems that have ‘preyed’ upon the unregistered and uncounted, the lost, the lonely, the left out, the unhealthy, the undereducated and homeless amongst us.

“Take an optimistic view of your hardships, convert them into opportunities.

“Si Se Puede. Unidos trabajando, el future es de nosotros para (working together, the future is ours for) LatinX recognition and Black culmination,” he said in reference to events the day before.

He said always remember that “Hawks Swoop, they don’t stoop.”

For more excerpts of Cobb’s speech visit

Photo of HNU graduates by Gay Plair Cobb.


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