Georgia Supreme Court Justice Robert Benham and former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin will be the commencement speakers at the upcoming fall ceremonies at Clayton State University.
Clayton State’s fall commencement will take place on Saturday, Dec. 10, with ceremonies at 9 a.m. and noon. Benham will speak at the 9 a.m. ceremony, and Franklin at noon. Both will be held in Clayton State Athletics & Fitness Center
Benham began his judicial career on the Court of Appeals of Georgia where he served for six years beginning in 1984. In 1989, he was appointed to the Supreme Court of Georgia and served as presiding justice from 1994 to 1995. He became chief justice in 1995 and held that position until 2001. He continues to serve on the Court, having been reelected in 2008 to serve his fourth, six-year term.
Franklin was elected the first African American woman mayor of a major southern city in 2002, and served two terms until 2009. Upon leaving office, she was appointed to the William and Camille Cosby Endowed Chair at Spelman College and served in this capacity until June 2011. She currently serves as the chairman of the board of directors and chief executive officer of Purpose Built Communities and president of Clarke-Franklin and Associates, Inc. She co-chairs the United Way of Atlanta's Regional Commission on Homelessness, serves as the chair of the National Center of Civil and Human Rights, and serves on the board of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research. Additionally, Franklin serves on the board of directors of Mueller Water Products.