(The Root) — For people who never attended The Oprah Winfrey Show during its 25 years on the air, witnessing the media mogul deliver Spelman College’s commencement speech on Sunday was the next best thing.
A thunderous applause rippled through the hall as Winfrey approached the podium to address the college’s 550 graduates and ceremony attendees at the Georgia International Convention Center in College Park, Ga., just outside of Atlanta.
Winfrey, who reminded the female class that “your crown has been paid for [and to] put it on your head and wear it,” stressed three pieces of advice she felt would be valuable to the Class of 2012: Know who you are and what you want; find a way to serve; and always do the right thing.
“You must have some vision for your life. Even if you don’t know the plan, you have to have a direction in which you choose to go,” Winfrey said. “What I learned is that that’s a great metaphor for life. You want to be in the driver’s seat of your own life because if you are not, life will drive you.”
Winfrey quoted the likes of Langston Hughes, Isaac Newton, Martin Luther King Jr., Sterling Brown and Maya Angelou during her address. First lady Michelle Obama delivered Spelman’s commencement address last year.
Winfrey, a graduate of Tennessee State University, an HBCU, has had a long relationship with the Atlanta University Center (AUC), which consists of Spelman, Morehouse College, Clark Atlanta University and Morris Brown College. She received an honorary doctorate from Spelman in 1993, and this year, in addition to delivering the commencement address, received the institution’s National Community Service Award.