ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA— Wesleyan President Dr. Dewey Clark announced today that Janice Bryant Howroyd, the first African American woman to run a $1 billion dollar business, will be the College’s 2018 spring commencement speaker on Saturday, April 28.
Businesswoman, entrepreneur, author and Presidential Special Appointee; Howroyd is the founder and CEO of The ActOne Group, a leading global corporation providing customized cutting edge workforce solutions in the human resources industry. According to Black Enterprise Magazine, she is the first African American woman to operate a company that generates more than $1 billion in annual revenue.
“It is an honor to have Ms. Howroyd as our keynote speaker, noted Clark, “She has had an amazing and interesting career. We are pleased that our students, faculty, staff and the Wesleyan community will be able to hear about her inspirational life and we look forward to welcoming her back home to eastern North Carolina.”
Howroyd grew up in Tarboro as one of eleven children in her family. After earning her undergraduate degree in English from NC A&T State University, she earned her master’s degree from the University of Maryland and her Ph.D. from North Carolina State University.
She moved to Los Angeles in 1976 with less than $1,000 in her pocket and worked for her brother-in-law at Billboard Magazine. Armed with a host of contacts and knowledge, she launched her own company in 1978 Act-1. Today The ActOne Group operates in 22 countries and offers services via AppleOne (staffing), A-Check Global (background checks and screening), ActOne Government and AgileOne (workforce solutions for mid-market and enterprise sized companies).
Forbes recently named Howroyd one of 2017’s America’s Richest Self-Made Women, and Ebony Magazine placed her in their 2017 Power 100, a list of the most influential African Americans. CNBC named her fourth of fourteen black women who changed business and finance, placing her ahead of Oprah Winfrey and Michelle Obama. Recognized by both past and current Presidential Administrations, Howroyd has been appointed and serves on a number of White House Advisory Commission Boards.
Due to the signficant enrollment growth Wesleyan has experienced in the last few years, the College will hold it’s 55th commencement on the front lawn of campus to accommodate graduates and their families.
Howroyd will be recognized with an honorary degree at the event.