The University of Richmond is announcing the speakers who will address graduates during commencement weekend May 6-7.

Entrepreneur Sheila Johnson, who is the founder and CEO of Salamander Hotels & Resorts and a founding partner of Black Entertainment Television, will deliver the main commencement speech during the ceremony May 7 at 2 p.m. Robert Reynolds, principal at Reynolds Development, will deliver the commencement address for the MBA ceremony. Donald Lemons, the chief justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia, will address graduates of the School of Law.

Main Commencement, May 7, 2 p.m.

The Robins Center

Sheila Johnson is a successful entrepreneur and impassioned philanthropist.  

As founder and CEO of Salamander Hotels & Resorts, Johnson oversees a growing portfolio of luxury properties, including the equestrian-inspired Salamander Resort & Spa, which was recognized in 2014 by Condé Nast Traveler as one of the Top 10 Resorts in the South and by Travel + Leisure as one of the World’s Greatest Hotels.

As vice chairman of Monumental Sports & Entertainment, Johnson is the only African-American woman to have ownership in three professional sports teams: the NBA’s Washington Wizards, the NHL’s Washington Capitals and the WNBA’s Washington Mystics, for which she serves as president and managing partner. She also serves on the executive committee of the United States Golf Association.

Johnson has long been a powerful influence in the entertainment industry, starting with her work as founding partner of Black Entertainment Television. She has served as executive producer of four documentary films. She also helped finance the Screen Actors Guild nominated feature film “The Butler,” directed by Lee Daniels and distributed by Harvey Weinstein.

From 2006 to 2009, she served as global ambassador for CARE, a leading humanitarian organization that combats global poverty by empowering women. She also served as a member of Accordia Global Health Foundation’s International Council, rallying support for the foundation’s efforts to overcome the burden of infectious diseases in Africa.   

MBA Commencement, May 6, 11:30 a.m.

Queally Hall, Ukrop Auditorium

Robert Reynolds, a 1998 MBA alum, is principal at Reynolds Development. He served on the Robins School’s Executive Advisory Council from 2004 to 2016. Before joining Reynolds he served as vice president of leasing for The Cordish Company, a commercial real estate development company in Baltimore. He also started and managed a distribution business that sold software products to manufacturers.

His great grandfather, Richard Reynolds, established Reynolds Metals Company, which is headquartered in Richmond. Two of his great uncles, Richard Reynolds Jr. and David Reynolds were CEOs of the company, and also trustees of the University of Richmond. The company donated $1 million to name the Richard S. Reynolds Graduate School of Business.

School of Law Commencement, May 6, 2 p.m.

The Robins Center

Donald Lemons is the chief justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia, a role he has served in since 2014. Governor Allen appointed Lemons to the Circuit Court of the City of Richmond in 1995. Three years later he was elected to an eight-year term to the Virginia Court of Appeals, and in 2000, he was elected to the Supreme Court of Virginia. From 1976 to 1978, he was assistant dean and assistant professor of law at the University of Virginia School of Law, his alma mater.

SPCS Commencement, May 6, 9 a.m.

The Robins Center

As part of a long-standing tradition, a graduating student, a faculty member and an alumnus will speak at the SPCS graduation ceremony. These speakers will be announced in April. 

# # #