It can be hard to realize the admired people didn’t wake up in the position they’re in today. Some were graduates, who were unsure about their next move, but worked hard to get where they are today.
Commencement ceremonies are underway and not only are we celebrating the graduates, but we’re also thanking the phenomenal people who were once in the same position.
Here are 8 notable people with college degrees who inspire us to change the world:
Representative Maxine Waters
Before she was reclaiming her time, our favorite auntie, Maxine Waters, earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology from California State University at Los Angeles. She now represents a large portion of South Central, Los Angeles in the U.S. House of Representatives. Along with her career in politics, Waters is passionate about others using their voices to fight for justice and equality.
Hill Harper, graduated magna cum laude from Brown University with a Bachelor of Arts degree. He later went on to Harvard University, where he obtained a Masters in Public Administration, and a Juris Doctorate from Harvard Law School. He’s now an actor and philanthropist. He’s known for his work on “CSI: New York,” and his foundation Manifest Your Destiny.
Actress Lupita Nyong’o, earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Film Studies from Hampshire College, and her Master of Fine Arts Degree in Acting, from the Yale School of Drama. Her work has included “12 Years a Slave,” “The Jungle Book,” and “Black Panther.”
Former President Barack Obama, graduated from Columbia University with a degree in political science, and Harvard University Law School, where he graduated magna cum laude. Harvard Law School, was also where he met former First Lady Michelle Obama. His career led him to the Illinois State Senate, the U.S. Senate, and the White House, as the first African American president.
Issa Rae graduated from Stanford University, with a degree in African and African American Studies, accompanied by a political science minor. Rae went on to become a writer, producer, director and actress in her web series “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl,” and HBO series “Insecure.”
Michael Strahan, graduated from Texas Southern University, where he also earned an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters in 2013. Strahan was selected to play for the New York Giants after college, and helped his team win a Super Bowl in 2007. Since retiring from football, Strahan has crossed over into television with sports commentating, “Live! With Kelly & Michael,” and “Good Morning America.”
Taraji P. Henson
Award-winning actress, Taraji P. Henson, graduated from Howard University, with a degree in theater as a young mother. Henson’s breakout role came in the movie “Baby Boy,” in 2001. She later received Screen Actors Guild and Academy Award nominations for her role in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” in 2008. She went on to receive an Emmy nomination in 2015, for her role as Cookie in “Empire,” and won her first Golden Globe for the same role a year later.
Actress Viola Davis, graduated from The Juilliard School with a Bachelor of Arts degree. Some of Davis’ well-known work includes “The Help,” “Fences” and “How to Get Away With Murder.” She has also received numerous awards including two Tony Awards, an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, and an Oscar and Emmy.
Thank you to the phenomenal people who show graduates that although everyone’s journey looks different, anything is possible.