Celebrating the 25th anniversary and final year of the nation’s No. 1 syndicated urban morning radio program, the Tom Joyner Morning Show, broadcasting legend and longtime Dallas resident Tom Joyner will deliver the keynote address at the University of North Texas at Dallas Spring Commencement at 5 p.m. on Friday, May 17, at Inspiring Body of Christ Church.
UNT Dallas, the fastest-growing state university in Texas, is set to graduate another record-setting class of some 500 students.
Joyner’s unprecedented success through five decades in the radio industry began with an unwavering foundation in education. A graduate of Alabama’s Tuskegee Institute, now Tuskegee University, Joyner learned the value of a college degree by witnessing his grandfather, one of only 3,000 black physicians in the United States after earning a medical degree in 1909, and his parents, both of whom graduated from historically black colleges. Both of Joyner’s sons are also HBCU alumni.
His commitment to education led him to create the Tom Joyner Foundation, which provides programming initiatives and partnerships in support of historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) and its communities. The foundation recently launched HBCUbiquity, a new podcast dedicated to interviews, analysis and discussions about HBCUs.
A trailblazer in his field, Joyner will speak to a unique group of graduates, all trailblazers in their own right. Largely minority and hailing from underserved southern Dallas communities, and many being first-generation college students, these graduates continue to lay the foundation for the City of Dallas’ emerging urban university, the only four-year public university in the city limits.
Boasting the most affordable tuition costs in Dallas-Fort Worth, and ranking No. 1 in the nation for lowest student debt upon graduation, UNT Dallas is making higher education a reality for resilient, ambitious and career-minded students who have too often been deterred from achieving a college degree solely because of financial barriers.
Joyner knows a little something about resiliency and ambition. He embarked on a radio career straight out of college, starting in Montgomery, Ala., bouncing from a number of stations in the South and Midwest, including Memphis to St. Louis to Chicago and Dallas. In 1985, Joyner did something on other radio personality had ever done before: Hosting a morning show on KKDA-FM in Dallas, and an afternoon show at WGCI-FM in the Windy City. For eight years, he commuted daily between the cities, earning the nicknames, “The Fly Jock” and “The Hardest Working Man in Radio.”
The nationally syndicated Tom Joyner Morning Show debuted in 1994 after he signed with ABC Radio Networks. Ever since, Joyner and his legion of fans have shared a symbiotic relationship that includes the Tom Joyner Foundation Fantastic Voyage cruise, which annually features some of the biggest performers in R&B, including Diana Ross, Janet Jackson, Sheila E., John Legend, Mary J. Blige, Charlie Wilson and many more.
Joyner, the founder of Reach Media Inc., and BlackAmericaWeb.com, announced that he will retire in December.