Common Receives Honorary Degree, Gives Winston-Salem State University Commencement Speech

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"Go out and change the world," Common said to the crowd after being honored with his honorary degree.

Hip-hop artist Common received an honorary degree and delivered a commencement speech at the 2015 Winston-Salem State University graduation ceremony on Friday.

"Congrats to the 2015 graduates of #WSSU #Progress Thanx for the Honorary Doctorate! Dr. Lynn has a nice sound to it. #ImGeeked #WonderfulDay #HBCU" the singer wrote on Instagram.

During the North Carolina university's ceremony, Common received an honorary degree — Doctor of Humane Letters.

"I just have to say that this is one of the best days of my life — to get this honor from you all and for what it's for," the singer said after receiving his degree. "The spirit that you all bring right now, I just want to say go out and change the world. We all have got it in us. Go out and change the world. We've got opportunity. That changing the world starts with us; it starts with how we think about ourselves and loving ourselves."

"As we love ourselves, we can love each other and love our family members," he continued. "Let's just go change the world."

The 27-minute commencement speech was delivered at Bowman Gray Stadium to a graduating class of 1,000 students and an audience of 12,000 people, Winston-Salem Journal reported. Common discussed dropping out of college to pursue his musical career, acting and being an author, according to Winston-Salem. After concluding his speech, the school choir and band performed the singer's Oscar-winning song "Glory" during the ceremony.

"You want to surround yourself with people who believe in your path," the singer said during his speech. "Belief is contagious. As you climb up the mountain, it will be difficult at times."

 

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