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By Kerry-Ann Hamilton
University News
September 18, 2010

Artist and Advocate John Legend lectures as “Stand In”

The lecture was underway in the Locke Hall first floor auditorium when a knock at the door interrupted the “Education in Black America” class on Thursday morning. Students were surprised to see six-time Grammy winner and philanthropist John Legend enter the classroom. He served as guest lecturer for Dr. Greg Carr’s class as part of the MtvU series “Stand In.”

The course traces the development of post-slavery education to present day challenges of disparities in education across race, gender and socio-economic lines.

Legend implored students to not just study, but to act.

"We need all hands on deck to tackle this problem," he said in response to a question, what can one individual do to address the apparently insurmountable crisis? Legend urged students to tutor at a local school and help students in our cities who lag behind.

Sheneese Thompson, 17, who sat in the front row during the lecture said she was impressed with Legend’s passion and his scholarly approach.

“I found John Legend to be in tune with the issues affecting our education system,” said Thompson, a Gates Millennium Scholar. “He offered insight and was not simply a celebrity presence.”

"Stand-In" brings celebrities and intellectuals into college classrooms to teach for a day. Previous lecturers include - Bill Gates, Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Melissa Etheridge and Don Cheadle.

Legend also unveiled the MTV and the College Board “Get Schooled College Affordability Challenge.’’ The contest asks current and prospective college students to create “an innovative digital tool that helps more and low- and middle-income students connect with money for school.’’

The winning individual or team will get $10,000, as well as a $100,000 budget to bring the idea to fruition. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is helping to underwrite the project. The contest runs through Dec. 17.

Photo by Justin Knight


Stand In: John Legend
Posted October 4th, 2010 by mtvU

John Legend makes an unexpected visit to Howard University and surprises a class to talk about education as a civil right, the obstacles he faced, and how students can help re-imagine the financial aid process. Watch VIDEO


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