Nationally recognized physician Ben Carson will deliver the commencement address at Midwestern State University’s graduation ceremony at 10 a.m. May 11 at Kay Yeager Coliseum. Approximately 716 students are candidates to earn their degrees this May.
In June 2008, President George W. Bush awarded Carson the Presidential Medal of Freedom – the highest civilian honor given. He was recognized in 2008 by U.S. News & World Report and Harvard’s Center for Public Leadership, as one of “America’s Best Leaders.” In 2001, Carson was named by CNN and Time magazine as one of the nation’s 20 foremost physicians and scientists. Also in 2001, he was selected by the Library of Congress as one of 89 “Living Legends” on its 200th anniversary. Carson is the recipient of the 2006 Spingarn Medal, the highest honor awarded by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
In 2009, the award-winning movie, Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story, starring Cuba Gooding Jr. as Carson, premiered on TNT and is based on his memoir of growing up poor in a single parent home. As a child, Carson dreamed of becoming a physician but bad grades, a horrible temper, and low self-esteem threatened to end that dream until his mother, with only a third-grade education, challenged her sons to strive for excellence. Today Carson is a full professor of neurosurgery, oncology, plastic surgery, and pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, where he has directed pediatric neurosurgery at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center for more than 25 years.
Carson has performed the first and only successful separation of craniopagus (Siamese) twins joined at the back of the head, the first completely successful separation of type-2 vertical craniopagus twins in 1997 in South Africa, and the first successful placement of an intrauterine shunt for a hydrocephalic twin. He has authored more than 100 neurosurgical publications, and has been awarded more than 60 honorary doctorate degrees and dozens of national merit citations. Including his memoir, he has written five best-selling books.
Carson sits on the board of directors of numerous organizations, including Kellogg Company; Costco Wholesale Corporation; the Academy of Achievement; and is an Emeritus Fellow of the Yale Corporation, the governing body of Yale University. He was appointed in 2004 by Bush to serve on the President’s Council on Bioethics. Carson, a highly regarded motivational speaker, has addressed audiences ranging from school systems to political leaders at the President’s National Prayer Breakfast in 1997 and again this February.
Carson is president and co-founder of the Carson Scholars Fund, which recognizes young people of all backgrounds for exceptional academic and humanitarian accomplishments. More than $5.6 million dollars have been awarded to more than 5,600 scholars. The program also establishes Carson Reading Rooms to encourage young students and their families to discover the pleasure to be found in books and to recognize the true power of learning. Carson is also the co-founder of Angels of the OR under the auspices of the Baltimore Community Foundation, which provides grants to assist neurosurgery patients with expenses not covered by insurance. He has been married for more than 35 years to his wife, Candy, and has three sons.