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Founders Day Ceremony
featuring Freshman Convocation

Thursday, September 19, 2019
10 a.m.
L. Douglas Wilder Performing Arts Center

In 2015, the Board of Visitors of Norfolk State University passed a resolution formally establishing “Founders Day” events to commemorate the University’s founding on September 18, 1935. Since then, events are held annually on a day close to our anniversary date for faculty, staff, and students to pause in celebration of NSU’s rich past and promising future.  Freshman Convocation is the University’s official welcome to incoming students as well as highlight the accomplishments of the University.

You are invited to attend the Founders Day Ceremony featuring Freshman Convocation at 10 a.m. on Thursday, September 19 in the L. Douglas Wilder Performing Arts Center, where the University will pause to celebrate its rich past and its promising future as well as welcome the Class of 2023. The featured keynote speaker is NSU alumnus, Larnell Exum.

The Ceremony will be immediately followed by a ceremonial march to the  Communications Tower.


Larnell ExumLarnell B. Exum is the Director of Travel, Security and Facilities for the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure for the United States House of Representatives. In his role as Director, Larnell ensures the Committee’s Congressional and Field hearings, Roundtable discussions, classified and unclassified briefings, and all matters pertaining to physical and personal security are conducted in accordance with government and committee policies and procedures.  Larnell is also the focal point for the committee’s domestic and international Congressional and Staff Delegation fact finding missions.  Prior to this position, his two most recent positions were as the Executive Response Specialist for the Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs for the General Services Administration and with the Senior Legislative Affairs Manager for the Department of Defense’s Defense Contract Management Agency, respectively. 

As the Principal and Founder of the Exum Group, LLC, a boutique-consulting firm located in Fort Washington, MD, Larnell stood up the Arlington, VA based Millennium Corporation’s Government Affairs Office. An expert at establishing and maintaining congressional and intergovernmental relationships, Larnell was appointed to serve in the Obama Administration as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, House Affairs. In this senior leadership role, he supported the Secretary of Defense; Deputy Secretary of Defense; and the Assistant Secretary of Defense, Legislative Affairs in all matters pertaining to the Members and Staff of the U.S. House of Representatives and the President's cabinet and his staff.Prior to his appointment in the Obama Administration, Larnell was the Deputy Chief of the Senate Army Liaison Office where he was responsible for a 68% increase in Senator’s membership in the Army’s Senate Army Caucus.

Commissioned a second lieutenant in the Infantry, Larnell’ s first assignment was with the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) Fort Drum, NY followed by an assignment with the 101st Airborne Division Air Assault Fort Campbell, KY.  During Operations Desert Shield and Storm, Larnell led an Infantry Rifle Company in the liberation of Kuwait.  Upon relinquishing command, Larnell was selected to serve as aide-de-camp and military assistant to the 13th and 14th Under Secretary of the Army’s respectively.

From 2002-2005, Larnell served as a Legislative Liaison in the Department of the Army’s House Army Liaison Division.  Retiring at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, Larnell escorted 125 members of Congress and their Staff on 45 fact-finding missions to 25 countries.  Upon retirement, Larnell accepted a political appointment as a Deputy Director with the Department of Environmental Resources for Prince George's County, MD where he quickly established a reputation as an honest, candid and compassionate leader.

The son of a WW II Navy veteran, the nephew of a Tuskegee Airman and four Army veterans, as well as the younger twin of Army Lieutenant Colonel, Darnell B. Exum, the Exum twins continue their family’s generational legacy of public service. 

His military awards and decorations include a Presidential Unit Citation, the Army Legion of Merit, a Bronze Star, Five Meritorious Service Medals, the Air Force Commendation Medal, an Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the Army Ranger Tab (Honor Graduate Leadership), the Combat Infantrymen’s Badge, the Airborne and Air Assault badges, respectively.  As a civilian, Larnell was awarded the Department of the Army Meritorious Civilian Service Award, the Commander’s Award for Civilian Service, as well as a Joint Civilian Service Achievement Award.

Born and reared in Norfolk, VA.  Larnell received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Political Science from Norfolk State University.  He has a Master’s Degree, in Executive Leadership from the McDonough School of Business, Georgetown University.  He is also a Senior Executive Fellow of the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.  He is presently pursuing a Doctorate Degree in Non-profit Management and Leadership.

He and his wife, Tina, are the proud parents of a son, Ensign Tyler J. Exum, Coast Guard Academy Class of 2018 and a daughter, Taylor A. Exum, a Junior majoring in Nursing.

Active in his community, Larnell also serves as Immediate  Past President of the Norfolk State University Alumni Association’s Military Alumni Chapter (MAC) as well member of the MAC Hall of Fame.  Larnell is also the Parent Advisor to the United States Coast Guard Academy’s Minority Outreach Team.  He and his wife also serve as Admissions Partners for the Academy.  He is also a member of the Washington DC Chapter of ROCKS, Inc., and a Life Member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., and is a licensed Minister.