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Graduation season is about to be in full swing and as institutions across the country celebrate the accomplishments of graduates, they will also recognize individuals who have left indelible marks within their respective industries by awarding them with honorary degrees. Morehouse College recently announced that actress Angela Bassett and entrepreneur Robert F. Smith will be given honorary degrees at its 135th commencement ceremony in May.

Smith—who is the founder and chief executive officer of the venture capital firm Vista Equity Partners—will deliver the keynote address at the ceremony. He will receive an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree. The billionaire has used his platform and resources to push philanthropic efforts forward. Earlier this year he donated $1.5 million to Morehouse for the creation of a scholarship fund and the development of a new outdoor study area on campus. He was also the National Museum of African American History and Culture’s largest private donor and has been an advocate for education and combating global poverty.

Bassett has used her artistry to bring the narratives of strong Black women to film and television. Some of her most pivotal roles were in films that include What’s Love Got to Do With It, Boyz ‘N the Hood, Malcolm X, Black Panther and countless other projects. Bassett will receive an Honorary Doctor of Arts degree.

“As Morehouse College celebrates its 152nd year of serving students, we are honored to welcome our community partner Robert F. Smith, one of the greatest business minds of our time, back to campus to share in the ceremony that is the highlight of the year,” David A. Thomas, President of Morehouse College, said in a statement. “His words of inspiration, and the presence of our other honorary degree recipients, will give the Class of 2019 a memorable experience that will challenge them to take the lessons that they learned as Men of Morehouse and become game-changers in their future endeavors.”

The commencement ceremony is slated to take place on May 19. More than 300 scholars will receive degrees and over 3,000 individuals are expected to attend.


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