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Odessa Hines
Director of Public Relations
Phone: 919-546-8268 
E-mail:  ohines@shawu.edu   

Shaw Announces Congressman G. K. Butterfield as Commencement Speaker

Congressman G.K. ButterfieldApril 29, 2015 – During its historic 150th anniversary year, Shaw University will host its annual commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 9, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. at the Raleigh Convention Center in Raleigh, North Carolina. U.S. Congressman G.K. Butterfield (D-NC First District) will deliver the keynote speech. Graduating students will lead a procession from Shaw’s Downtown Raleigh campus to the Convention Center at the start of the ceremony.

Born in Wilson, North Carolina, Butterfield was raised by Dr. and Mrs. G. K. Butterfield, Sr. His father practiced dentistry for 50 years and served as one of North Carolina's first black elected officials since Reconstruction. His mother was a classroom teacher for 48 years. Butterfield attended Charles H. Darden High School and later graduated from college and law school at North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina. After earning his law degree, Butterfield founded a law practice in Wilson and served the community in that capacity for 13 years.

In 1988, Butterfield was elected as Resident Superior Court judge. For two years, he served on the North Carolina Supreme Court by appointment of the governor. Butterfield retired from the judiciary after 15 years of service and ran for Congress. He was elected to serve the First District of North Carolina in the U.S. House of Representatives in a special election on July 20, 2004, to fill the seat of Frank Ballance.

“Congressman Butterfield has been a tireless advocate for North Carolinians for many years and we are honored to have him as our commencement speaker during our historic 150th anniversary celebration,” said Shaw University Interim President Dr. Gaddis J. Faulcon. “His work as an attorney, as a judge and now as a congressman serves as a wonderful example of service and leadership for our students."

Butterfield serves in the Democratic leadership as Chief Deputy Whip and Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. He sits on the Committee on Energy and Commerce as the fifth most senior Democrat on the Health Subcommittee. In addition, he serves as a member of the subcommittees of Communications and Technology, and Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade. He is also a veteran of the U.S. Army.