Oprah Gives Commencement Address at Colorado College

Oprah Winfrey gave the commencement address at Colorado College’s graduation ceremony Sunday morning, joining people such as Sandra Day O’Connor and Dick Cheney, who have also given commencement addresses in the last few decades.

Winfrey had intended to simply attend the graduation as a guest to lend support to a former student of The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in the South African village of Henley on Klip. After learning she’d be in the audience, college President Jill Tiefenthaler extended an invitation to Winfrey to address the graduates, which Winfrey accepted.

Winfrey has created an unparalleled connection with people around the world, making her one of the most respected and admired figures today. She also is a dedicated philanthropist. During a December 2002 visit with Nelson Mandela, she pledged to build a school in South Africa; today, the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls provides an excellent education for 8th- to 12th-grade girls in South Africa. Winfrey has contributed more than $200 million toward providing education for academically gifted girls from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Winfrey is an Academy Award-nominated actress for her role in “The Color Purple,” earned critical acclaim in “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” and produced and acted in the Academy Award-winning film “Selma.” Winfrey starred in the Emmy-nominated HBO Films production “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” and most recently portrayed “Mrs. Which” in Disney’s “A Wrinkle in Time” film adaptation from director Ava DuVernay.

Additionally, Winfrey is a founding donor of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. In 2013, she was awarded the Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, and in 2018, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association honored her with the Cecil B. deMille Award.

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