Angela Bassett to Receive Honorary Degree from Spelman College


May 2, 2024

She’s being honored by one of the most prestigious HBCUs!

Critically acclaimed actor and director Angela Bassett is set to address the 2024 graduating class of Spelman College as the keynote speaker for the 137th Commencement Ceremony​​ this May. The legendary actor will inspire and encourage a new generation of Black women leaving the prestigious HBCU and heading to make their own mark on the world.

“Spelman College is honored to have acclaimed actress and director Angela Bassett to bring words of inspiration to our graduating Class of 2024,” said Spelman College President Helene D. Gayle, M.D., MPH.  “Her work has had a tremendous impact both on and off the screen and serves as an example for our students to lead in their own spaces.”


In addition to addressing the graduating class, Bassett will also receive an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from the college. Bassett is a celebrated, award-winning actress known for her portrayal of bold, empowered women in iconic films like What’s Love Got to Do With It?, Black Panther, Waiting To Exhale, Malcolm X. She’s been awarded 16 NAACP Image Awards, two Golden Globes, a BET Award, and more. In 2024, Bassett received an honorary Oscar at the 96th Academy Awards. 

The college will also award an honorary Doctor of Laws degree to Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first African American woman to serve as a Supreme Court Justice. Atlanta journalist Rose Scott will receive the National Community Service Award during the commencement ceremony. 


“We are equally honored to have a slate of strong Black women join us for our weekend ceremonies, including Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, Atlanta community icon Rose Scott and the esteemed Reverend Dr. Yvette Flunder,” added President Gayle in a statement. “We look forward to them inspiring our graduates, their families and the Spelman community.”

Spelman commencement activities will begin Saturday, May 18, and last through Sunday, May 19, at the Georgia International Convention Center. 

Cover Photo: Angela Bassett to Receive Honorary Degree from Spelman College / Photo credit: Greg Andersen


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