NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Oprah Winfrey will deliver the Commencement Address at Smith College this spring.
The school announced Thursday that Winfrey will speak at the graduation ceremony on Sunday, May 21st. Winfrey will receive an honorary degree, as will former Northampton Mayor Clare Higgins and Olympic medalist and world and U.S. Champion figure skater Michelle Kwan.
In a news release sent to 22News, Smith College spokeswoman Stacey Schmeidel said “Oprah Winfrey is a global media leader, philanthropist, producer and actress. She has created an unparalleled connection with people around the world, making her one of the most respected and admired people today.”
Sophomore Sophia Giattina told 22News she expects Oprah will fit in perfectly with the passionate and diverse women at Smith College; “I grew up knowing about Oprah and her success stories, and it’s just really incredible to go to a school where it’s possible to be surrounded by women, very strong, powerful women, and people of color.”
Winfrey hosted the award-wining “Oprah Winfrey Show” for 25 years. She was awarded the Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, in 2013. Also among her accomplishments, Winfrey established the The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa in 2007. Morgan Mpungose, who is graduating from Smith this year, is a graduate of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls.
Smith College will also award two other honorary degrees on graduation day to Henrietta Mann, a Native American education and tribal leader and founding president of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribal College and Erin O’Shea, president of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Harvard University professor and 1988 Smith College graduate.