Nine-time Grammy winning musician John Legend will be returning to his alma mater, University of Pennsylvania, to speak at the institution’s 258th commencement ceremony on Monday, May 19.
Legend, whose birth name is John Stephens, was a 1999 graduate from the College of Arts and Sciences who holds a degree in English with a concentration in African-American lit and culture. Fame hasn’t distracted the talented musician from helping those who are less fortunate – he has been very involved philanthropic efforts, benefit concerts and even launched the Show Me Campaign in 2007, an organization that aims to break the cycle of poverty by giving every child access to a proper education.
At this year’s ceremony, Legend will be receiving an honorary Doctor of Music. Other honorary degree recipients that will share the stage include:
Eugenio Calabi - Penn’s Thomas A. Scott Professor Emeritus of Mathematics, is a visionary mathematician whose work has had profound implications well beyond his own field of complex differential geometry. Calabi will be receiving an honorary Doctor of Sciences.
Johnnetta Betsch Cole - Director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art. Cole will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.
Edna Adan Ismail - became Somaliland and Somalia’s first qualified nurse/midwife in 1961 when she returned to her homeland after training in the United Kingdom. Ismail will receive an honorary Doctor of Sciences.
Raymond G. Perelman - a Philadelphia native son and the CEO of the multinational RGP Holdings, Inc. Perelman will be receiving an honorary Doctor of Laws.
Olympia J. Snowe - a former United States Senator representing Maine, is the first woman in American history to serve in both houses of Congress and both houses of a state legislature. Snowe will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws.
George A. Weiss - president of George Weiss Associates, Inc., and CEO of Weiss Multi-Strategy Advisors, LLC. Weiss will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws.
John Legend will remain in town after the commencement as he will be performing at the Kimmel Center's Verizon Hall on Tuesday, May 20.