Louisiana State Sen. Cleo Fields will serve as the spring 2022 commencement speaker at Baton Rouge Community College’s 26th Commencement ceremony Friday, May 20, at 9 a.m. The ceremony will take place outside on the Mid City Campus, 201 Community College Drive, on the grounds near the Magnolia Performing Arts Theatre & Pavilion. Degrees will be conferred to students who completed their studies this past spring and last fall. The ceremony will also be streamed live on BRCC’s Facebook page: Facebook.com/mybrcc. In the event of inclement weather, the commencement will be held in the Bonne Santé Wellness Center on the Mid City Campus.
“It's an honor to have Sen. Fields as our commencement speaker and share this special day with our graduates and their families,” said BRCC Chancellor Dr. Willie E. Smith. “Senator Fields has served the Baton Rouge community for decades and gives back in multiple ways. He’s always been in touch with meeting the needs of our community and currently serves a vital role in shaping the future of the educational landscape for our parish and state. We look forward to having him on our campus to share his message and to help celebrate the success of our graduates.”
Fields is a 1980 graduate of McKinley High School and a 1984 graduate of Southern University in the field of Mass Communications. In 1987, Fields obtained his law degree from the Southern University Law Center. Upon completion of law school, Fields was elected to the Louisiana State Senate at the age of 24. He became the youngest person ever elected to the State Senate in Louisiana’s history and at that time, the youngest in the nation.
In 1992, Fields was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Louisiana’s 4th Congressional district. At the age of 29, Fields was the youngest member of the 103rd Congress. In 1993, he created a Congressional Classroom for elementary through secondary school-age students. Noted for being the first of its kind in the country, the Congressional Classroom helped students develop leadership and self-esteem while understanding the governmental process. It is known today as the Louisiana Leadership Institute.
In 1995, he made a bid for Governor of Louisiana, leaving a historical mark by becoming the first African American since reconstruction to make the runoff. He then went on to complete two terms as Congressman. On December 13, 1997, Fields returned to the 14th Senatorial District of Louisiana and served until 2008. On October 12, 2019, Fields was re-elected to the 14th Senatorial District of Louisiana, making history again by becoming the first person in Louisiana to return to the Senate for the third time.
Fields is a member of the Mt. Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church. He is married to Debra and they have two sons, Brandon and Christopher.