CAP ‘N GOWN ROUND UP: John Legend, Jill Scott, Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs Cop Honorary Doctorate Degrees

Mead Graduates Hey guys, did you miss me last week? I got a freelance gig that pulled me away from you, but don’t think you weren’t missed. Now that we’re all here, cue pomp and circumstance and grab that D.I.Y cap ’cause marching season has come ’round for the class of 2014.

Turn up Raise up those diplomas for all to see. Wait! Before you do, let’s honor our second annual tradition by giving a nod to speakers doling out their pearls of wisdom on success, dreams and perseverance. Admittedly, I only tuned into four commencement speeches this year, but it was enough. The speakers honesty and push for great things outta this young bunch was enough to make me wanna press the rewind button and reawaken my former college grad days of passionate motivation.

So, let’s flip the lid and start with Jilly from Philly. The soul singer got a doctorate of humane letters from Temple University this month. She admitted working two jobs and holding down a full load at Temple. Beating all the odds she faced, she found her light of purpose. Takeaway: “Light up the darkness.”

John Legend copped an honorary doctorate of music from his alma mater UPENN. The crooner waxed poetic about the virtues of love (what newlywed wouldn’t) in life. He also made sure to give social issue shoutouts to Trayvon Martin and the 300 kidnapped Nigerian girls. Takeaway: “Love yourself. Love your work. Love the people around you. Dare to love those that are different from you, no matter where they’re from, what they look like and who they love.”

Whether you wanted him or not, Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs stepped behind Howard University’s podium in a fresh collar to symbolize his doctorate of humanity and held up his honorary degree. What the speech lacked in articulation it made up for in motivation. Most especially the mogul’s insistence on youngins harnessing their power. Takeaway: “Thought I told ya that we won’t stop, Thought I told ya that we won’t stop.”

Finally, a model of inspiration to several people (including me) is former Rutgers University football player Eric LeGrand, who became paralyzed in 2010. He told his 2014 class to continue to persevere like he does every morning when attempting to walk despite failing each time. And offers support and guidance to those suffering similar paralysis through his Team LeGrand FoundationTakeaway: “Please continue to believe in me. Believe in yourselves because we’re all going to change the world together.” Check the link below for the full speech.


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