Oprah Gives Soul-Searching Commencement Address to 2012 Spelman Grads
Fe’Saad’s Editor-In-Chief, Deborah Champagne was among the media outlets who witnessed global media mogul and philanthropist Oprah Winfrey’s commencement address to the Spelman College class of 2012 on Sunday, May 20. Those who were fortunate enough to land a ticket to the sold out event had to arrive at the Georgia International Convention Center, in College Park on time because the doors would be closed at exactly 2:30p.
Plain clothes security surrounded a fleet of limousines and executive town cars near the entrance where celebrity guest and honorary recipients including Oprah awaited clearance before taking their places. In true fashion, Oprah entered from stage right smiling and waving along with Spelman’s President, Beverly Daniel Tatum and other honorees to a roaring crowd of thousands. Among the honorary guest was Hollywood Actress and wife of Actor Samuel L. Jackson, LaTanya Richardson who also shared the stage with Oprah and others.
Oprah’s inspiring commencement speech to the 2012 graduates and their guest began with her determined to be of no distinction, yelling in a soul-stirring voice “What’s Up Spelman?” The greeting caused a thunderous sound of excitement among the audience, but soon settled down so that no one miss Oprah’s 3-points she assured would lead to success. The first point she shared with the graduates was to “Know Who You Are“, a question she struggled with for many years in her career. She said it wasn’t until one day she realized that she was simply a servant and a “Child of God”.
The second point she impressed upon them was to always find a place to serve, which was the turning point in her career. Oprah said once she learned to do everything for a purpose, her life began to prosper. Finally, she urged the graduates to “Always Do the Right Thing“, no matter if other’s don’t agree, and that you will know that you did the right thing when peace followed your decision. ”There were many shows that we taped that I decided not to air because if it didn’t feel right, I just couldn’t do it“, Oprah shared in a tender moment in her speech. ”Always Do the Right Thing and I promise you will be successful“, she urged with conviction.
After her speech, President Tatum thanked Oprah for spending over two and half hours with the graduates on Saturday, May 19th and then presented her with the National Community Service Award for 2012.
Later that evening, Oprah spent more time in Atlanta and attended the birthday celebration of civil rights leader and former U.S. Ambassador Andrew Young.
Deborah Champagne, Editor-In-Chief
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