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Shaw Graduates

2014 Speakers

Rev. Dr. James A. ThorntonBaccalaureate Service Speaker
Reverend Dr. James A. Thornton
Pastor, Salem Missionary Baptist Church

Rev. Dr. James A. Thornton is a graduate of Fordham University. He received his Masters of Divinity Degree from New York Theological Seminary and his Doctorate of Divinity Degree from United Theological Seminary, Dayton, Ohio. Rev. Dr. James A. Thornton assumed the mantle of leadership as the 6th Pastor of the Salem Missionary Baptist Church on May 1, 2006 upon the retirement of his father, Rev. Thomas J. Boyd.

Dr. Thornton is the director and reorganizer of Salem's Afterschool Enrichment Center. He is also an adjunct professor of Ethics at New York Theological Seminary. Dr. Thornton serves as an instructor for the National Baptist Convention Congress of Christian Education. As a graduate of the Lott Carey Convention's Pastoral Excellence Program, he has brought the Christian witness to the mission fields of Guyana, Jamaica and South Africa, and he has partnered with the Philadelphia-based 300 Chosen Ministries, in the preaching and teaching of God's word on foreign shores. 

He is married to Angela Thornton and they have one son, Isaiah.



Gloria Bongi Ngema-ZumaCommencement Speaker
Madam Gloria Bongi Ngema-Zuma 
First Lady of the Republic of South Africa

Gloria Bongi Ngema-Zuma was born in Durban, and became First Lady of the Republic of South Africa when her husband, the Honorable Jacob Zuma, became the fourth president of the Republic in May 2009. 

As First Lady, she actively participates in a number of programs that support presidential community development objectives, especially in the area of primary healthcare. Her aim is to engage stakeholders around issues that are of importance to her, the President and the people of South Africa, and the world. One such issue is her work on diabetes.

Madam Zuma founded The Bongi Ngema-Zuma Foundation in 2010 and, since then, has been working tirelessly to raise awareness of diabetes and other non-communicable diseases. It is her passion to ensure that no-one suffers unnecessarily or dies because they are unaware of the fact that they have diabetes or because they are not receiving appropriate treatment for the condition.

She founded the initiative in memory of her mother, who lived with diabetes for three decades. Her mother’s commitment to leading a normal and active life has made Madame Ngema determined to ensure that everyone living with the condition should have the same quality of life.

On a broader social level, it is also her aim to promote the empowerment of women and children, rural development and education in her beloved South Africa..

Prior to becoming First Lady, Madam Ngema-Zuma held various positions in companies such as Deloitte, IBM; and Standard Chartered and Merchant Bank (SCMB). Her working experience spans such areas as marketing management, communications, client relationship management, business partner management and investment consulting.

She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree from the Graduate School of Marketing; an IMM Diploma in Marketing Communications from the Institute of Marketing Management; a Marketing Degree from ICM of the UK; and Certifications in Public Relations and  Sales Management  from Damelin  College.

Madam Ngema-Zuma has received many accolades for her work, and is a member of a number of organizations and world-wide networks. These include the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), the Africa Heritage Society and the Institute of Marketing Management (IMM), to list a few. 

She and President Zuma are the proud parents of one son.