Dillard to award two honorary degrees during 2018 Commencement Ceremony, Saturday, May 12
Chance The Rapper, a Multi-Grammy Award Winning Rapper and Philanthropist, to Deliver
Commencement Address and Receive Honorary Degree
NEW ORLEANS – Grammy Winning Artist,, Chancelor “Chance the Rapper” Bennett, will deliver this year’s commencement address and is one two honorary doctorate recipients. Dillard University will hold its 82st Commencement on Saturday, 8 a.m., on the Rosa Freeman Keller Avenue of the Oaks, on campus. The procession starts at 7:45 a.m. The University will confer more than 200 undergraduate degrees.
Chance the Rapper, 25, is a hip-hop artist, singer, songwriter, and record producer, whose rise to mainstream success has been unprecedented as an independent artist. In 2017, his Coloring Book became the first streaming only album to be nominated and win a Grammy. Without even signing a record deal, Bennett’s strategic move has undoubtedly changed the music industry forever.
He contributed to Kanye West's album The Life of Pablo, in 2016, as a co-writer and was featured on several tracks. Bennett has also collaborated with H&M, Nike and has appeared on Saturday Night Live and the ESPN’s Espys Awards. But almost as much as he receives, he gives away.
Bennett has been intentional with using his ever growing popularity to give back to his hometown of Chicago, especially the youth who admire him. In 2014, Chance used #savechicago to stop gun-violence for 42 hours and since then, he’s forged ahead. And for three years, whether through hosting the monthly high school OpenMike series at Chicago’s Public Libraries, raising over $100,000 to bring sleeping-bags and coats to Chicago's homeless, or raising over $4 million for his local Chicago Public School System, Bennet makes helping others a priority.
Claiborne Haughton, ‘67, will also receive an Honorary Doctorate of Letters. After earning his bachelor’s degree in biology from Dillard, his government career began with the Department of Defense (DOD) in Indianapolis. He rose from a trainee to one of few African American charter members of the elite Federal Senior Executive Service, in 12 years. Haughton pioneered and developed innovative and instrumental equal opportunity programs for DOD’s total force of 3.2 million military and civilian personnel worldwide, creating access where before there was none. He exercised oversight over the Nation’s largest equal opportunity training program, the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute, located at Patrick Air Force Base in Florida. Haughton established the first DOD-wide employment program for individuals with disabilities, including the celebrated DOD Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program.
Haughton also originated the DOD/Labor Department Workforce Recruitment Program or WRP for college students with disabilities. He wrote the first DOD policy prohibiting sexual harassment in the military and civilian sectors, and managed the development of countless diversity laws, regulations and executive orders.
In 2002, Haughton retired as the Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Equal Opportunity. He was the ranking Career Equal Opportunity Official at the Pentagon for 23 years. Now, he’s president and chief executive of the Haughton Group, a diversity consulting and motivational speaking company. Haughton and his wife, Linda Nixon Haughton, ‘73, and their family established the Dillard University Endowed Scholarship for African American Students with Disabilities.
From W.E.B DuBois, Dr. Martin Luther King to Michelle Obama and Misty Copeland, the University’s linage is filled with world-wide influencers who have delivered commencement addresses or have spoken at Brainfood, The Dillard University President’s Lecture Series. The University considers itself a place that not only educates some of the country’s top scholars and leaders, but where the community is always invited for robust discussions.