Puff Daddy’s Howard Commencement Speech Ignites Debate

Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs at South by Southwest March 12, 2014, in Austin, Texas
Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for SXSW

Sean Combs, who left Howard University in 1990 after only two years to pursue his dreams of music stardom, is scheduled to deliver the school’s commencement address this spring, interim Howard President Wayne Frederick announced Tuesday in a statement.

Critics and supporters took to social media to decry and praise the decision. Opponents said the honor should go, well, to a college graduate, while proponents say that Combs’ success speaks for itself.


He is slated to deliver the address on May 10, when 1,800 students will be awarded degrees, Frederick writes. He also wrote that Combs would be awarded an honorary doctorate in humanities at the ceremony. Also scheduled to receive honorary degrees are CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer; Clive Callender, a surgery professor at Howard’s medical school (and the first doctor to perform a transplant at Howard University Hospital); jazz artist Benny Golson; and PepsiCo chairman and chief executive Indra Nooyi.

“In selecting the individuals who will be awarded honorary degrees, Howard University continues the tradition of identifying leaders whose work has clearly contributed to the advancement of their fields and the world,” Frederick said in the statement. “We are honored to have Mr. Combs serve as our speaker. He sat in classrooms where our students sit, walked ‘The Yard,’ like many students, his entrepreneurial spirit was sparked at Howard. We know he will inspire our class to work hard and to always strive for excellence.”

The mogul, who has gone through several names, including Sean “Puff” Combs, P. Diddy and Diddy, announced in March that he was returning to his old stage name of Puff Daddy, according to the Daily News.

Do you think Puff Daddy should speak at Howard’s commencement? Let us know in the comments section. Here is what Twitter has to say so far:

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