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Darton, ASU set to get graduation marches started

ALBANY, Ga. -- More than 650 graduates are eligible to pick up degrees or certificates this weekend as Darton State College and Albany State University get the graduation season under way by holding their 2013 spring commencements.

Friday evening at 7, Darton will conduct its graduation ceremony at the Cavalier Arena as more than 320 graduates receive associate of science, arts or applied science degrees and certificates.

Former Albany Mayor Tommy Coleman will deliver Darton's spring commencement address.

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Tommy Coleman, center, enjoys grandchildren, Davis Coleman, 8, left, and Harper Coleman, 6.

Saturday morning at 9:45 at the Albany Civic Center, nearly 350 Albany State graduates are expected to pick up bachelor's, master's or education specialist degrees.

The keynote speaker for ASU's commencement is

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Lezli Baskerville

Lezli Baskerville, the fifth and first female president and chief executive officer of the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education. The organization is the only national membership, advocacy and capacity building association for the nation's 103 Historically Black Colleges and Universities and 92 Predominantly Black Institutions.

Coleman is a partner in the Perry & Walters law firm and specializes in local government law, election law, public finance, education law, zoning and land use planning. His involvement in government actually started at Darton College, then Albany Junior College, when he was elected vice president of the student body. He was also in the band, the chorus and a member of the tennis team.

In 1980, Gov. George Busbee appointed Coleman executive director of the Georgia Democratic Party. Upon his return to Albany in 1987, Coleman rekindled an active role in politics and local government, having previously served as one of the youngest Albany city commissioners from 1976-1980 before moving to Atlanta.

In 1989, he was elected to the first of four terms as mayor of Albany.

Baskerville is a lawyer, government relations and equity professional and a recognized expert on equal educational and employment opportunity, education excellence and access, pipeline issues, education funding, best practices in minority student persistence, affirmative action and diversity issues.

Prior to heading NAFEO, she served as vice president for government relations for The College Board and was responsible for shaping and advancing the legislative agenda.

Baskerville received a bachelor's degree with honors from the Douglass College, Rutgers University. She holds a juris doctorate degree with honors from Howard University School of Law, an honorary doctorate of laws from Benedict College, a doctor of humane letters degree from Shaw University and a presidential honors citation from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.

She is a graduate of the Executive Management Program for Minority Directors at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Business.