Two prominent figures with strong ties to Longwood, one a bestselling author and commentator on sports and society and the other the former speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates, will address the Longwood Class of 2023 at Commencement ceremonies on May 19-20.

John Feinstein
John Feinstein

Washington Post columnist John Feinstein, the undergraduate Commencement ceremony speaker, is the author of more than 40 books, many of them bestsellers, and is one of the most prolific and respected journalists working today.

Feinstein’s first book, A Season on the Brink, which chronicled a year with the Indiana Hoosiers basketball program and their legendary coach Bob Knight, reached the top spot on the New York Times bestsellers list. His most recent book, from 2021, is Raise a Fist, Take a Knee: Race and the Illusion of Progress in Modern Sports.

Feinstein has visited Longwood several times and wrote about Lancer basketball in another recent book: The Back Roads to March: The Unsung, Unheralded, and Unknown Heroes of a College Basketball Season.

Feinstein has served as a regular columnist for The Washington Post and Golf Digest, and hosted daily sports radio shows. A graduate of Duke University, he has been inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, the National Sportswriters and Sportscasters Hall of Fame, and the U.S. Basketball Writers Hall of Fame.

Feinstein will address graduates at the undergraduate Commencement on Saturday, May 20 at 9:30 a.m. on Wheeler Mall.

Kirk Cox
Kirk Cox

Kirk Cox is an educator and Republican legislator who served for more than three decades as a teacher while representing Colonial Heights and Chesterfield County in the Virginia General Assembly. He was first elected to the legislative body in 1989, and was unanimously elected as the 55th Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates in 2018.

A longtime champion of public education, Cox taught government at Manchester High School in Chesterfield County until 2012. In 2018, he addressed Longwood University SGA members at an end-of-the-year banquet, urging them to consider public service, especially in politics.

“I really would challenge you as you go forth from Longwood to get involved in the process,” said Cox in his SGA address. “You’ve gotten tremendous training and experience here as citizen leaders, and we really need you. If your generation doesn’t step up to take a leadership role, we’re not going to have the leaders we need. I hope you will be one of those leaders.”

This will not be Cox’s first Commencement ceremony at Longwood: His oldest son Lane walked across the stage on Wheeler Mall as a new graduate in 2014.

Cox will address students at the Graduate Commencement Ceremony on Friday, May 19 at 4:30 p.m. in Willett Hall.

“Both John Feinstein and Kirk Cox are great friends of Longwood,” said President W. Taylor Reveley IV. “In their own fields, they have been important voices and leaders, and I am grateful that they will be sharing some of their accumulated wisdom and experience as the ‘last lesson’ for Longwood graduates before they receive their diplomas on the very special occasion of Commencement Weekend.”

Commencement ceremonies will be livestreamed at for those who cannot attend in person and in Jarman Hall for those who prefer to be indoors.

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