Christopher Womack to Deliver Clark Atlanta University’s 34th Commencement Address

Atlanta, GA (May 17, 2023) – Clark Atlanta University has announced that Christopher “Chris” Womack, the newly named president, and CEO of the Southern Company, will deliver the address during its 34th commencement exercises on Saturday, May 20, 2023, at 8 a.m. at the Clark Atlanta University Panther Stadium.

Womack is the first African American to serve as CEO and president of the Southern Company, one of the nation’s largest energy providers. He joins a small cadre of Black chief executives who lead some of the 500 largest U.S.-based, publicly traded corporations.

Womack joined the Southern Company in 1988 and has since held several leadership positions within Southern and its subsidiaries. He was formerly chairman, president and CEO of Georgia Power, the company’s largest subsidiary.

Prior to joining the Southern Company, he worked on Capitol Hill as a legislative aide for former Congressman Leon E. Panetta, who at the time was chairman of the House Budget Committee, and as staff director for the Subcommittee on Personnel and Police for the Committee on House Administration.

Womack has earned a name for himself as a business and community leader. He has chaired or served as a member of the boards of the Atlanta Convention of Visitors Bureau, the Atlanta Sports Council, Communities in Schools of Georgia, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Essential Utilities, Inc., Georgia Ports Authority, and Invesco Ltd., among others.

He is the past chair of the board of the East Lake Foundation and is currently on the national board of First Tee, a youth development organization that integrates the game of golf with a life skills curriculum to build its participants’ inner strength, self-confidence, and resilience.

“Christopher Womack has reached the highest echelons of the business world, yet spends considerable time using his skills and success to serve as a leader and advocate in our community,” said CAU President George T. French, Jr., Ph.D.  “His brand of conscientious leadership is having a direct impact on the lives of thousands of Atlanta citizens, as well as citizens throughout the nation.

“As our emerging scholars prepare to take their place in the world, they can look to Womack as a role model for how to succeed in their respective fields while using their CAU education to be engaged civic servants in pursuit of uplifting their communities.”

Womack holds a bachelor’s degree from Western Michigan University, a master’s degree from The American University, and he completed the Stanford Executive Program in 2001. He is presently pursuing a doctoral degree in political science at Clark Atlanta University.

Clark Atlanta’s Baccalaureate Service is scheduled for Friday, May 19, 2023, at 10:00 a.m. in the Vivian Wilson Henderson Health and Physical Education Center Leonidas S. Epps Gymnasium.  This year’s speaker is Bishop Robin Dease, elected bishop by the 2022 Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference of The United Methodist Church and consecrated November 4, 2022. Her first assignment as bishop is to the North Georgia Episcopal Area of The United Methodist Church and she begins service in North Georgia.

This year’s valedictorian is Shayna Cartledge a Mass Media Arts major with a concentration in Radio-Television and Film and a minor in Business Administration.  The salutatorian for the Class of 2023 is Bria D. Hickman-Graze, a Mass Media Arts major with a concentration in Radio-Television-Film and a minor in music.

For a full list of graduation activities, visit