Entertainer and entrepreneur Sean Combs will deliver Howard University’s commencement speech this year in Washington on the morning of May 10.
The school announced Tuesday that Combs will be among five people who will receive honorary degrees as trailblazers in their fields. The university will also honor CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer, transplant surgeon Clive Callender, jazz legend Benny Golson and PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi.
Interim President Wayne A.I. Frederick revealed that Combs, a former Howard student in the late 1980’s, will also receive an honorary doctorate in humanities at the ceremony. “We are honored to have Mr. Combs serve as our speaker,” Frederick said. “He sat in classrooms where our students sit, walked ‘The Yard,’ and like many students, his entrepreneurial spirit was sparked at Howard. We know he will inspire our class to work hard and to always strive for excellence.”
Wayne Frederick went on to say Combs’ entrepreneurial spirit was sparked at Howard. While at studying business administration at Howard, Puff promoted parties that are still the stuff of legends, ran an airport shuttle service, and commuted back and forth between DC and New York to intern with Andre Harrell at Uptown Records.
This was as a freshman and sophomore.
He famously dropped out of Howard at age 19 to become one of the youngest music executives in history. Through his Puff Daddy persona, he built his own business and brand in music, TV, Films and on stage. Last year he launched an all-music TV channel, Revolt, aiming to create the ESPN of music that airs in about 20 million U.S. homes.
Besides that, few people are more persuasive than Puffy. The man made Biggie Smalls a sex symbol. He convinced legions of party people that sweet, coconut flavored, vodka is the thing to drink? He is even credited with inventing the all-white party.
If anyone knows about hard work and determination, it’s him. And, maybe that’s not so bad a message to give the graduating class of 2014, as they enter into a world where entrepreneurship is an attainable career goal.