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Commencement Speaker


Referee, National Basketball Association


Tony Brothers

Referee, National Basketball Association

Tony Brothers is a native of Norfolk, Virginia.  He graduated from Booker T. Washington High School and went on to receive his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration/Management Information Systems from Old Dominion University (ODU) in 1986.

Mr. Brothers is entering his 25th season as a National Basketball Association (NBA) official and has officiated 1,653 regular season games, 127 playoff games including 7 NBA Finals appearances.

Prior to joining the NBA, Mr. Brothers spent four years officiating in the CBA, including three CBA Finals and a CBA All-Star Game. He has one year of collegiate officiating experience at the Division III level. He also has seven years of high school officiating experience in Virginia, including three state tournaments.

Although Mr. Brothers did not attend Norfolk State University, he has a strong affinity to NSU. His late mother, Dorothy B. Brothers, began her collegiate education at Norfolk State. Mrs. Brothers, before her passing in 2002, spent 30 years as a very successful and highly well-known senior executive at Bank of America.  She is considered a pioneer in the area of diversity within the banking industry.

As a way of honoring his late mother, Mr. Brothers and his former wife, Monica Brothers, co-founded, Still Hope Foundation, Inc. Still Hope is an organization that seeks to assist single mothers in building a strong and successful family unit by offering quality resources and supportive relationships. In September 2015, Mr. Brothers established Men for Hope, Inc., to Support underserved men, Organize men’s efforts in the community, and Work with organizations providing services for single women parenting young men — the SOW concept. As a tax-exempt 501 (c) (3) public charity, Men for Hope endeavors to “SOW seeds” through mentorship and resources that promote education, financial literacy and self-fulfillment. Also to honor his mother, Mr. Brothers has established a $25,000 endowment at Norfolk State University.

Mr. Brothers serves or has served on the Board of Directors for the National Center for the Prevention of Community Violence, Men for Hope, Achievable Dream Virginia Beach, Boys and Girls Clubs of Southeast Virginia, and Run for Food International. He is the recipient of numerous awards including the ODU Distinguished Alumni Award; the Humanitarian Award from the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities; the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Award from the Urban League of Hampton Roads, Inc.; the Men Who Empower Award from the YWCA of South Hampton Roads; and the Lead Like King Award from The Urban Renewal Center. Mr. Brothers is the father of two sons — Travis, 23 and Trent, 17.