The Paul Quinn College Class of 2013, which includes students who made the courageous choice to attend the institution during its most transformative years, will have the iconic Bill Cosby as its commencement speaker. The legendary comedian, actor, television producer, author, and activist will deliver the commencement address at Paul Quinn College’s graduation ceremony at 10 a.m., May 4, on the lawn of the Richard Allen Chapel, which is located on the campus at 3837 Simpson Stuart Road.
“This is such a fitting conclusion to the Quinnite Nation collegiate experience for this class,” said Paul Quinn College’s President Michael Sorrell. “These students battled landfills, witnessed the demolition of fifteen abandoned buildings, the transformation of the football field to an organic farm, the renovation of the dorm, dining hall, fitness center, student lounge, classrooms, the Grand Lounge, and more. They deserve to have one of the most revered men in the world as their commencement speaker. This is our way of saying ‘Thank you for believing in us and we love you.’”
Cosby recently completed the book “I Didn’t Ask to Be Born (But I’m Glad I Was)” and is once again on tour. Cosby promises to bring his signature wholesome brand of comedic social commentary supported by thought-provoking social insights and his well-known passion for education to an institution recognized for its impressive renaissance.
“It is always a pleasure to see those fresh faces of the new graduates,” says Cosby about delivering commencement addresses. “It’s also fun to notice the relieved smiles of the parents who are wondering, ‘Are they going to be all right?’ The unanswered questions are now really directed at them.”
Cosby, a Philadelphia native, is well-known for having an epiphany about the value of a formal education during his time in the Navy. “Four years later in May,” Cosby has famously recalled, “I hit the ground running from Norfolk, VA and immediately enrolled at Temple University in Philadelphia.” Eventually, he would earn his master’s and doctorate degrees in education.
Cosby has shown no signs of slowing down. “People always say ‘You don’t need money, why are you still working?’ My answer is that it isn’t about money. That’s academic. It’s about accepting the challenges of one’s own ideas, clarifying the unanswered questions and pursuing the excitement of discovery,” he says. Cosby has received honorary degrees from more than a dozen colleges and universities.
Cosby became wildly popular for his family-oriented stand-up comedy. Over the years, Cosby leveraged his comedic influence to become an actor, author, television producer, educator, and activist. He is best known for creating the cartoon “Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids” and “The Cosby Show”, which went on to become the highest ranking sitcom of all time. One of only three American television programs to have been number one in the Nielson ratings for at least five consecutive seasons, “The Cosby Show” sparked a robust conversation throughout the national African-American community about whether or not the fictional affluent Huxtable family served as an accurate depiction of how some African-Americans live. Among his honors are a Kennedy Center Honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award, and the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. In 2011, the U.S. Navy made Cosby an honorary Chief Petty Officer.
Paul Quinn College is opening the doors of the graduation ceremony to welcome members of the Dallas community to attend. However, the college will require all guests to have a ticket. Tickets are free and will be available for pick up from noon to 7 p.m., Tuesday, April 30 through Thursday, May 2, in the Paul Quinn College Business Office, Room 219 in the John Hurst Adams Building of the campus. Each guest will be limited to obtaining a maximum of five tickets per visit to the Business Office. For more information regarding tickets, please call 214-379-5560.
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