MEMPHIS, Tenn., May 29, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) – Movie and television star Lamman Rucker, who currently plays the character Jacob Greenleaf in the Oprah Winfrey Network drama series “Greenleaf,” provided a spirited message of encouragement while receiving a Doctorate of Humane Letters during the Spring 2019 LeMoyne-Owen College Commencement and Lantern Service. Administrators said it was the largest graduating class in recent years when it conferred 156 Bachelor’s degrees and four Associate degrees to graduates during the 149th Commencement at the Mt. Vernon Baptist Church-Westwood on May 11.
During his keynote address, Rucker reminded the graduating class that this was not the end but the beginning, to pay it forward, and give back to those in need.
“The dream is bigger than you, but it does include you,” said Rucker. “If your dream only includes you, your dream isn’t big enough.”
Rucker spent his formative years in the greater Washington, DC area and studied at Carnegie-Mellon University and Duquesne University. He began his career in entertainment on the daytime soap operas “As the World Turns” and “All My Children” before roles in Tyler Perry’s films “Why Did I Get Married?” “Why Did I Get Married Too?,” and “Meet the Browns.” He also had the recurring roles on the UPN sitcoms “All of Us” and “Half & Half.”
“We were pleased to bestow the college’s highest academic honor to Mr. Rucker who has had an exemplary career in entertainment,” said Dr. Andrea Lewis Miller, President of LeMoyne-Owen College. “He embodies everything that we encourage our students to strive for including dedication, humility, and humanity. The students responded favorably to his inspirational message.”
Larry Dodson, former lead singer of the legendary band the Bar-Kays, also received an honorary degree and delivered a commencement keynote address.
LeMoyne-Owen College is an historically black college/university (HBCU) providing a transformative experience educating students for urban-focused leadership, scholarship, service and professional careers. LeMoyne-Owen College is pursuing excellence across six areas:
- Recruiting and retaining faculty to develop and grow strong academic programs
- Maximizing enrollment while balancing career preparation with maintaining the benefits of a small liberal arts college
- Retaining first-year, first-time students from the fall of their first year to the fall of their second year
- Maximizing graduation rates
- Ensuring the best post-graduation placements for our students in graduate school or careers
- Growing our endowment by building a vibrant culture of gratitude and giving among our students and alumni and by engaging a wider audience in our mission by communicating our value to the Greater Memphis region
LeMoyne-Owen College is building a culture of evidence by strengthening its commitment to continuous improvement. We will reinforce our data infrastructure and work across our campus community to develop impactful strategies and action plans to improve outcomes across all six of the above areas. We will track multiple indicators and adjust our strategies and plans in response to what our data tell us.
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