John Legend receives honorary degree, delivers commencement address at Duke University

Durham County News

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Duke University graduates walked across the stage today for the school’s first in-person ceremony since the COVID-19 pandemic.

Each graduate could invite two guests to the in-person ceremony at Wallace Wade stadium. Masks had to be worn throughout the entire ceremony and everyone was spaced out with assigned seating.

“We gather to celebrate this day one that’s made all the more joyful as we mark the slow return of normal life amongst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” said Duke University president, Vincent Price.

Even with faces covered, you could still see the excitement coming from students’ faces as they got an opportunity the class before them didn’t get, walking across the stage. Duke live-streamed the ceremony, and one of the biggest moments was R&B star John Legend delivering the commencement speech.

“On your way to Wallace Wade, your class lost a lot. Some lost job offers some lost loved ones and all of you lost a whole year of moments that make college so special,” said Legend.

Before Legend left the stage he made a remark that segued into his popular song “Glory” which he did a 30-second rendition of.

Duke says it’s still exploring possibilities for celebrating the class of 2020 in-person on campus in the coming months but has not said when that decision will be made.

Legend graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in English with an emphasis on African-American literature.

He is the first African-American man to achieve “EGOT” distinction – meaning he earned Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony awards.

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