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STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) — Former Rhode Island Supreme Court Chief Justice Frank J. Williams will be the commencement speaker for Mississippi State’s three graduation ceremonies taking place next month.

Approximately 3,200 students will receive degrees during May 3 and May 4 ceremonies at Humphrey Coliseum.

Williams, a noted historian and current president of the Ulysses S. Grant Association, has played key roles in making MSU one of the nation’s leading centers for study of the American Civil War. Last year, Williams and his wife, Virginia, donated their collection of Abraham Lincoln and Civil War memorabilia, valued at nearly $3 million, to the university. Williams also was instrumental in locating the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library at MSU in 2009.

Williams and former Mississippi House Speaker Pro Tempore Robert G. Clark Jr. also will receive honorary degrees.