Alumna & Billionaire Oprah Winfrey To Serve As Tennessee State University Undergraduate Commencement Speaker


One of Tennessee State University’s most notable alumni is making their return to campus!

Billionaire media mogul and TSU alumna Oprah Winfrey will be headlining Tennessee State University’s undergraduate commencement. The university announced Winfrey as well as Graduate Commencement and Speaker U.S. Congressmen Bennie Thompson (D-Mississippi), in a release this morning. Winfrey & Thompson will be addressing 800 graduates across both days. Winfrey speaking at the Nashville-based HBCU is significant. Winfrey is a 1986 graduate of Tennessee State University, where she majored in Speech Communications and Performing Arts. She won a full scholarship to Tennessee State after she won the Miss Black Tennessee beauty pageant.

“Commencement is always a special time for our students and their families, as it marks a major milestone in our students’ lives and a sign of success for them,” says Tennessee State President, Dr. Glenda Glover, “To have Ms. Winfrey as our speaker will be a life changing moment for graduates and the University. She is someone who has walked the TSU campus as a student, sat in some of the same classroom, and knows first-hand the value of a TSU education. Ms. Winfrey and Congressman Thompson are trailblazers, history makers and HBCU graduates, adding to the excitement and anticipation for both commencement ceremonies.”  


Oprah Winfrey came to prominence as host of the nationally syndicated daytime television talk show The Oprah Winfrey Show. The show ran from 1986 to 2011, becoming the highest rated talk show in history. After becoming a millionaire in 1986, she opened HARPO Studios in Chicago. This allowed her to get full ownership of the show, hiring her own people to produce and promote the program. She became a billionaire in 2003, becoming the first black female billionaire in history. She expanded her media empire, launching the O Magazine and the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN).

Winfrey will address the graduates on Saturday, May 8th at 8 AM CST.

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