John Legend to be 2021 Commencement Speaker For Duke University
John Legend to Help 2021 Graduates Celebrate
It’s graduation time again. Last year at this time, students were swept up with the sad news of graduation ceremony cancellations. Big celebrities joined the virtual commencements to cheer students up.
Although many colleges and universities are opting for smaller, in-person commencements, many schools are still relying on a virtual format. This year, Duke students are lucky enough to get an in-person ceremony and a major commencement speaker.
“Hello, Duke Class of 2021, what a year we’ve all had,” Legend said in a video announcement with soft piano music playing in background. “But you’ve made it through, you’re about to graduate, and I’m coming to Durham.”
“Let’s celebrate in an extraordinary way, for this extraordinary accomplishment, in these extraordinary times,” Legend said, subtly singing. “I’ll see you in May.”
Legend Will Receive Honorary Degree from Duke
President Vincent Price announced Tuesday Duke will also award Legend an honorary degree during the ceremony.
“We are thrilled to have John Legend serve as our speaker at undergraduate commencement—and to have such an extraordinary group of honorary degree recipients, each of whom have made transformational contributions to our understanding of the world,” said Price. “I know that their example will excite and inspire our graduates, and I look forward to welcoming them on May 2.”
Legend also serves on the boards of directors of Harlem Village Academies and Management Leadership for Tomorrow, and on the advisory boards of the Quattrone Center for the Fair Administration of Justice at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School and Teach for All.
Legend co-founded Get Lifted Film Co. to lift the voices and talents of others, particularly people of color and has been coaching on The Voice since 2019.
President Price will also present honorary degrees to civil rights leader and activist Barbara Arnwine, Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing Professor Jacquelyn Campbell, Harvard University Professor of History and of African and African American Studies Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, and former Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency William K. Reilly during the event.
A Commencement to Inspire the Class of 2021
This is not Legend’s first commencement speech, he has already been awarded with honorary degrees from University of Pennsylvania and Howard University and given a handful of commencement speeches. This one is set to be just as inspiring as his previous addresses.
Commencement will take place May 2 in Wallace Wade Stadium. Due to COVID-19 it will only be open to graduating undergraduate students and their pre-registered guests.
However, the entire ceremony will be streamed live at this link.