Mumford will rename auditorium to honor ESPN's Jemele Hill

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News
Detroit native Jemele Hill will speak at Mumford High School's graduation ceremony Monday, and on Tuesday the school will dedicate the auditorium in her honor.

ESPN journalist Jemele Hill will deliver the commencement address at Detroit's Mumford High School, her alma mater, on Monday. The next day, the school will honor her by dedicating Mumford's auditorium in her name. 

Hill, a senior correspondent and columnist for ESPN's website The Undefeated, is a graduate of Mumford and Michigan State University.

“I always believed the greatest respect I could ever show Mumford was to prove worthy of the investment that so many educators there made in me," Hill said in an email message to The Detroit News. "To have a permanent legacy there is humbling because we’ve had a long legacy of students who have gone on to make incredible contributions to society. I am more determined than ever to make sure that I always represent Mumford with pride and integrity.”

At the graduation ceremony — Monday evening at Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts in Detroit — Hill will speak to 160 graduates. A handful of retired Mumford teachers who have inspired Hill also will be present. Mumford Principal Angela M. Prince said the teachers also are invited to the dedication ceremony Tuesday when the auditorium will be named the Jemele J. Hill Auditorium.

Prince said Hill is one of the school's alumni who has "continuously given back," adding that the national journalist has given to the school's sports teams and spearheaded an effort for every student at Mumford to see the blockbuster movie "Black Panther." 

"One of those things that we really want to make sure of is that students see people who came out of Mumford who are successful and give them hope that they can do it as well," said Prince, adding that it's important for the school to make its most successful students part of its history.

For example, Mumford's music studio is named after Grammy, Stellar and Dove-award-winning gospel recording artist Fred Hammond. Other famous alumni include comedian Gilda Radner, federal judge Paul Borman, movie producer Jerry Bruckheimer, members of the Winans family of gospel singers and Grammy Award-winning songwriter Allee Willis.

This is the second honor that will bring Hill back to her hometown this year. She was named Journalist of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists last month. She will accept the award at the association's annual convention Aug. 1-5 at the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center.

Twitter: @melodybaetens