Commencement Speaker

Scott cooper, Hampden-Sydney commencement speaker

SCOTT COOPER '92, born and raised in Abingdon, Virginia, and a 1992 graduate in Economics from Hampden-Sydney College, is now a multi-hyphenate: writer, director, producer, and actor.

The Oscar-winning CRAZY HEART marked Cooper's first foray behind the camera as both writer and director. He won a 2010 Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature and garnered nominations from the Independent Spirit Awards, the WGA and the USC Scripter Awards for screenwriting on behalf of the film. The film received three Academy Award nominations and won for Best Actor and Best Original Song.

Scott's most recent project, the acclaimed OUT OF THE FURNACE, which he wrote and directed, is a gripping drama about family, fate, circumstance, and justice and stars Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, Woody Harrelson and Zoe Saldana. Produced by Leonardo DiCaprio's Appian Way and Ridley Scott's Scott Free Productions, Relativity Media released the film nationwide on December 6, 2013. (Full bio...)

Baccalaureate Speaker

Dr. Robert Franklin, Jr.DR. ROBERT MICHAEL FRANKLIN, JR. is Senior Advisor for Community and Diversity at Emory University (Atlanta), Director of the Religion Department at The Chautauqua Institution (Chautauqua, New York) and James Laney Professor in Moral Leadership at Emory University (Atlanta). He is president emeritus of Morehouse College, the nation's largest private, four-year liberal arts college for men, where he served as the tenth president from 2007 through 2012. In 2013 he was a Visiting Scholar at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute at Stanford University.  

Franklin was the Presidential Distinguished Professor of Social Ethics at Emory University (2004-2007), where he provided leadership for a university-wide initiative titled "Confronting the Human Condition and the Human Experience" and was a senior fellow at the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at the law school.

He provides commentary for the National Public Radio (NPR) program, "All Things Considered," and weekly commentary for Atlanta Interfaith Broadcasting Television. Franklin graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Morehouse in 1975 with a degree in political science and religion.

Franklin holds ordination in two Christian denominations:  the American Baptist Churches USA and the Church of God in Christ. Franklin earned the master of divinity degree Christian social ethics and pastoral care in 1978 at the Harvard Divinity School, where he also served as assistant director of Ministry Education. Other pastoral positions include assistant pastor at St. Paul Church of God in Christ in Chicago and Protestant chaplain at St. Bernard Hospital, also in Chicago.  (Full bio...)