Cal U Commencement speaker Terence Carter, who developed ‘Empire’ and other shows, is a descendant of Jennie Adams Carter, the school’s first African-American graduate.
The television executive behind such broadcast TV hits as Empire, Gotham, The X-Files, Bones and Glee will deliver the Commencement address at California University of Pennsylvania.
Speaker Terence Carter, executive vice president of drama and comedy development for Twentieth Century Fox Television, is also the great-great-grandson of Elizabeth “Jennie” Adams Carter, Class of 1881, California’s first African-American graduate.
Carter will address master’s and doctoral degree candidates 7 p.m. Friday, May 10. The first class to graduate from Cal U’s Doctor of Criminal Justice program will be among those vested in their academic hoods and awarded their degrees.
Carter also will speak to associate and bachelor’s degree candidates at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 11. Both ceremonies will be held in the Convocation Center, on Cal U’s main campus in California, Pa.
University President Geraldine M. Jones will confer about 1,200 degrees at the ceremonies, although not all graduates will choose to attend. Families and friends are welcome to watch as students cross the stage to greet the president and accept their diplomas.
About the speaker
Carter has held his current title at Twentieth Century Fox TV since January 2018. In this role he has developed recent hits including Fox’s The Passage and ABC’s Single Parents, as well as programs such as Mixtape at Netflix and Bless This Mess at ABC, which are set to premiere next season.
He previously served as executive vice president of drama development, programming and event series for Fox, where he was responsible for developing and overseeing Empire – the network’s No. 1 show for four years – and such acclaimed shows as Marvel’s The Gifted, Lethal Weapon, Gotham, Lucifer, Glee, Bones, X-Files, 24: Legacy and Sleepy Hollow.
Prior to joining Fox in 2009, Carter was vice president of drama programming at NBC Entertainment/Universal Media Studios, where he developed shows such as Parenthood and Southland. Before joining the drama team at NBC, he was the network’s director of comedy development.
Carter has received numerous honors. In 2009, he was named one of The Hollywood Reporter’s “Next Generation: Top 35 Executives Under 35.” In 2011, he was profiled in Variety’s “New Leaders” edition.
He serves on the board of directors for the “I Have A Dream” Foundation – Los Angeles, which honored him as a Champion of Education at its 2016 Dreamer Dinner. The following year, he received an Emerging Leader Award from the Ron Brown Scholar Program at the 2017 American Journey Awards.
Carter grew up in Washington, D.C. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University with a bachelor’s degree in African-American Studies and a focus in film and media.
His ancestor Jennie Adams Carter is an inspirational figure in California University’s history. She graduated with a normal school diploma in 1881 and went on to become a respected teacher, school administrator and orator. Her photo and related artifacts are displayed in Carter residence hall, which also houses Cal U’s Multicultural Center. Each year the University presents its Jennie Carter Award to an individual who exemplifies her indomitable spirit.
There is no charge to attend Cal U’s spring 2019 graduation ceremonies, and free parking is available. University staff will guide guests to designated parking and seating areas in the order of their arrival.
Seats are not reserved. Guests are urged to arrive at least one hour before Commencement begins.