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Published on April 26, 2024
Angela Bassett and Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson to Receive Honorary Degrees at Spelman College CommencementSource: Wikipedia/Fred Schilling / United States Supreme Court, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Atlanta's prestigious Spelman College is gearing up for a star-studded 137th commencement ceremony on May 19 at the Georgia International Convention Center, with Hollywood A-lister Angela Bassett set to take the stage as the keynote speaker. As confirmed by FOX5 Atlanta, not only will Bassett impart wisdom to the graduates, but she'll also be awarded an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree. Recognized for her roles in cultural keystones like "Malcolm X," "Waiting to Exhale," and "Black Panther," Bassett's credentials attest to a robust career that flawlessly melds critical acclaim with blockbuster success.

It's not just Bassett who will be basking in academic honors. Alongside the decorated thespian, Spelman is set to recognize Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree. Coming fresh from the bench and into the hearts of Spelman’s graduating class, Jackson will receive the degree for her lifelong dedication to justice and equality. As reported by WSB-TV, esteemed journalist Rose Scott, who has spent nearly two decades holding the powerful to account, is slated to receive the National Community Service Award. The Commencement Ceremony will follow the Baccalaureate Ceremony, where Reverend Dr. Yvette Flunder, founder of the City of Refuge United Church of Christ, is scheduled to weave her advocacy for social justice into her speech.

Spelman College President Dr. Helene D. Gayle shared her enthusiasm, captured by WSB-TV, stating "Spelman College is honored to have acclaimed actress and director Angela Bassett to bring words of inspiration to our graduating Class of 2024." Gayle emphasized the importance of Bassett's and other honorees' contributions to society and their exemplary status for the new graduates.

The ceremonies are expected to draw a significant audience, bolstered by nearby Morehouse College's announcement that President Joe Biden will deliver its commencement speech. With over 500 Spelman degree candidates poised to cross the stage, theirs will be a celebration tinged with the same excellence and determination personified by their honorary degree recipients. The Baccalaureate and commencement ceremonies promise to encapsulate achievement, delivering a message to carry forward: Spelman's legacy is as much forged by its past as it is shaped by those who advocate for it today and tomorrow.