NSHSS Chair Claes Nobel delivered the commencement address to the Virginia State University graduating class of 2012 on May 13 in Richmond, Virginia. VSU awarded 680 undergraduate and graduate degrees at its 126th commencement ceremony, the largest in its history. During the ceremony, held at the Richmond Coliseum, university President Keith T. Miller conferred upon Mr. Nobel an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, recognizing him as “a renowned champion of environmental stewardship and youth leadership” who has “continued his family’s legacy of recognizing and rewarding outstanding achievement by launching The National Society of High School Scholars.”
In his commencement address, Mr. Nobel urged the new graduates to act with "cool heads and warm hearts” to transform and change the world for the better. He praised the dedication and skills of their professors and encouraged the new graduates to appreciate the love and support they have received from family and friends who have helped them achieve this major milestone in their lives.
Virginia State University, founded in 1882, is one of Virginia's two land-grant institutions, with a current student population of 5,300, and is a member-school of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, which supports and represents nearly 300,000 students attending its 47 member-schools that include public Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), medical schools, and law schools.