Viola Davis To Receive Honorary Doctorate from University of Rhode Island


April 30, 2024

Academy Award-winning actor Viola Davis will be honored for her contributions to her profession and to her community!

Davis is a multi-award-winning actress, one of only four Black actors to achieve EGOT status, winning all four competitive American performing arts awards. She is also a bestselling author and celebrated philanthropist, dedicated to inspiring and giving back to her community. Now, she will receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Rhode Island (URI) during their commencement ceremonies in May. 

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Davis was born in South Carolina but spent her formative years in Central Falls, Rhode Island. She majored in theater at Rhode Island College before attending Julliard in New York City, and she got her start in acting by appearing in small stage productions in Central Falls. Davis continues to pour into the community where she was raised, providing support to the arts and education organizations throughout the state. In 2013, the actor was honored with an award for “Making A Difference” by her alma mater, Rhode Island College. 

“I always feel that when I come back to Rhode Island, I am home,” Davis said upon receiving the award.

Davis will receive an honorary Doctorate of Letters from the University of Rhode Island during the commencement ceremonies on May 18. The university is also honoring Deborah Godrich Royce and Charles “Chuck” M. Royce in recognition of their professional and personal achievement. 


“I could not be more pleased with this year’s honorary degree recipients, whose lives and work serve as an inspiration to our university and exemplify impressive achievements and contributions to the arts, philanthropy, business, and public service,” URI President Marc Parlange said. “Each of our recipients has had a meaningful impact on their field, our state, and the world, and they embody the values we work to instill in all our students. We warmly welcome them into the URI community, and I look forward to honoring them during our commencement activities.”

Commencement begins on May 17 through May 19 in eight college-based ceremonies for undergraduate and graduate degree candidates.

Cover Photo: Viola Davis To Receive Honorary Doctorate from University of Rhode Island / Photo credit: Harvard Business Review


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