Aside from Jamie Foxx, Other Black Celebs Bestowed Honorary Degrees

Photo:  Chelsea Purgahn (AP)
Photo: Chelsea Purgahn (AP)

Black celebs ranging from Jamie Foxx to Angela Bassett have been recipients of honorary degrees from universities. And most recently in a press release, it was announced that Tracee Ellis Ross will be receiving an honorary doctorate from Spelman College. To celebrate all of this Black excellence, here are a list of icons who have received the well deserved recognition.

Angela Bassett

Photo:  New Haven/Register (AP)
Photo: New Haven/Register (AP)

Angela Bassett lines up with other honorary degree recipients in front of Sterling Memorial Library at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, for commencement on May 21, 2018 where she received an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree.

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Tracee Ellis Ross

Tracee Ellis Ross attends the reopening of The Landmark at Tiffany & Co 5th Avenue on April 27, 2023 in New York City.
Tracee Ellis Ross attends the reopening of The Landmark at Tiffany & Co 5th Avenue on April 27, 2023 in New York City.

Tracee Ellis Ross will become a Doctor of Fine Arts for her work on shows like Black-ish and Girlfriends, as well as her docuseries The Hair Tales and podcast I Am America. The honorary degree will be awarded by Spelman College later this month. The Pattern CEO and founder is just one of many Black celebrities to receive the honor.

Jermaine Dupri

Photo:  Marcus Ingram (Getty Images)
Photo: Marcus Ingram (Getty Images)

Jermaine Dupri attends The Art Institute of Atlanta commencement ceremony at Riverside EpiCenter on June 17, 2022 in Austell, Georgia. He delivered the keynote and received an honorary degree.

John Legend

Photo:  Gilbert Carrasquillo (Getty Images)
Photo: Gilbert Carrasquillo (Getty Images)

Singer-songwriter John Legend receives an honorary doctorate of music during University of Pennsylvania’s 258th Commencement ceremony at Franklin Field on May 19, 2014 in Philadelphia, United States.

Stevie Wonder

Photo:  Arnold Gold (AP)
Photo: Arnold Gold (AP)

Stevie Wonder received an honorary Doctor of Music degree at the Yale University Commencement in New Haven, Conn., on Monday, May 22, 2017. Behind him is his son, Kwame Morris.

Jamie Foxx

Photo:  Chelsea Purgahn (AP)
Photo: Chelsea Purgahn (AP)

Jamie Foxx speaks during Jarvis Christian College’s commencement at Jarvis Christian College in Hawkins, Texas, on Saturday, May 5, 2018. Jesse J. Holland, race and ethnicity writer for the Associated Press, gave the keynote address, and Foxx received an honorary doctorate degree from the college.


Photo:  Derek White (Getty Images)
Photo: Derek White (Getty Images)

Chris “Ludacris” Bridges attends the 2022 Georgia State University Commencement Ceremony at Center Parc Credit Union Stadium at Georgia State University on May 04, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. He received an honorary degree at the event.

Taraji P. Henson

Photo:  Brian Stukes (Getty Images)
Photo: Brian Stukes (Getty Images)

Commencement speaker Taraji P. Henson receives honorary degree during Howard University 2022 Commencement at Howard University on May 07, 2022 in Washington, DC.

Oprah Winfrey

Photo:  Elise Amendola (AP)
Photo: Elise Amendola (AP)

Oprah Winfrey stands to receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree during commencement ceremonies at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., Thursday, May 30, 2013. She later delivered the commencement address.


Photo:  Jose Luis Magana (AP)
Photo: Jose Luis Magana (AP)

Sean Combs (better known as Diddy), accompanied by Howard University interim president Wayne Frederick, arrives to the graduation ceremony at Howard University in Washington, on Saturday, May 10, 2014. Combs was among five people receiving honorary degrees as trailblazers in their fields

Barack Obama

Photo:  Van Tine Dennis (AP)
Photo: Van Tine Dennis (AP)

Former President Barack Obama gives the Commencement address during the 250th Anniversary Commencement of Rutgers University held at High Point Solutions Stadium on the Bush Campus of Rutgers University-New Brunswick in Piscataway, NJ, USA, on May 15, 2016. President Obama received an honorary Doctor of Law Degree at the Commencement.

Michelle Obama

Photo:  Brynn Anderson (AP)
Photo: Brynn Anderson (AP)

In this May 9, 2015, photo, former first lady Michelle Obama is presented with a robe and honorary degree at the Tuskegee University’s spring commencement in Tuskegee, Ala.

Denzel Washington

Photo:  Matt Rourke (AP)
Photo: Matt Rourke (AP)

Actor Denzel Washington makes remarks during the University of Pennsylvania’s 255th Commencement Monday, May 16, 2011, in Philadelphia. Washington, whose son Malcolm attends the Ivy League school, received an honorary degree at the ceremony.

Kerry Washington

Photo:  Kris Connor (Getty Images)
Photo: Kris Connor (Getty Images)

Kerry Washington speaks and receives an honorary degree - Doctor of Fine Arts, honoris causa during the George Washington University 2013 commencement on the National Mall on May 19, 2013 in Washington, DC.

Lionel Richie

Photo:  Paul Marotta (Getty Images)
Photo: Paul Marotta (Getty Images)

Lionel Richie received an Honory Doctor of Music Degree and spoke to students at the Berklee College of Music Commencement Execises at Agganis Arena at Boston University on May 13, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts.

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