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Release Date: Tuesday, May 6, 2014 7:55 PM
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Entrepreneur and Entertainment Mogul Sean Combs to Deliver Howard University’s 146th Commencement Address


Wolf Blitzer, Clive Callender, Benny Golson and Indra K. Nooyi are the 2014 Honorees

WASHINGTON (April 15, 2014) – Entrepreneur and philanthropist Sean Combs will deliver the 146th Commencement address at Howard University on Saturday, May 10, 2014, Interim President Wayne A.I. Frederick announced today.

The University will award degrees to more than 1800 students. Combs was a student at Howard University in the late 1980s. He will receive an honorary doctorate in humanities at the convocation.

“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. "We are honored to have Mr. Combs serve as our speaker. He sat in classrooms where our students sit, walked 'The Yard,' and 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."

Five individuals will receive honorary degrees during the ceremony. They represent an exemplary group of pioneers and trailblazers in the fields of journalism, the arts, business and medicine. This year’s honorees are:

Wolf Blitzer

Wolf Blitzer is CNN’s lead political anchor and the anchor of “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer” and “Wolf,” which both air weekdays at 5 p.m. and 1 p.m. ET respectively. Blitzer was pivotal to CNN's election coverage throughout America's Choice 2012, serving as lead anchor on key primary nights, caucus nights and the Emmy award-winning election night. He has authored two books, Between Washington and Jerusalem: A Reporter's Notebook and Territory of Lies. Blitzer earned a bachelor of arts degree in history from the State University of New York at Buffalo and a master of arts degree in international relations from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. For more information please visit

Clive Callender

Clive Callender, M.D., is the former LaSalle D. Leffall, Jr., Professor of Surgery at the Howard University College of Medicine and the first physician to perform a transplant at Howard University Hospital. Callender has focused much of his career on transplant medicine among minority segments of the population. He has authored more than 125 scientific publications on transplantation and appeared on “The Oprah Show,”  “Nightline,” and “The CBS Evening News.” He is also founder of the National Minority Organ/Tissue Transplant Education Program (MOTTEP), an organization dedicated to increasing minority donation rates. Callender received his B.S. degree in chemistry and physiology from Hunter College. He went on to Meharry Medical College where he received his M.D. degree in 1963.

Sean Combs

Sean Combs is chairman, chief executive officer and founder of Combs Enterprises, one of the world's preeminent group of companies and brands. Recently declared “One of the Most Influential People in the World" by Time Magazine and CNN, Combs has built a reputation as a master brand builder, pop culture icon and champion of youth education and entrepreneurship. Under the Combs Enterprises umbrella, he oversees a broad range of businesses including REVOLT, the new music-oriented platform for television, web and mobile; Bad Boy Entertainment; Sean John; Combs Wines and Spirits – Ciroc Vodka and DeLeon Tequila; and the Blue Flame Agency.

Benny Golson Benny Golson is the multitalented and internationally renowned jazz legend. A composer, arranger, lyricist, producer and tenor saxophonist, Golson has played in the bands of Benny Goodman, Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel Hampton, Earl Bostic and Art Blakey. He has recorded more than 30 albums in the United States and Europe under his own name and innumerable ones with other major artists. Golson has also written well over 300 compositions. He has lectured at the Lincoln Center through a special series by Wynton Marsalis. He has instructed doctoral candidates at New York University and lectured faculty at National University at San Diego.

Indra K. Nooyi Indra K. Nooyi is chairman and chief executive officer of PepsiCo. In its global food and beverage portfolio, PepsiCo has 22 brands that generate more than $1 billion each in annual sales. Nooyi is the chief architect of Performance with Purpose, PepsiCo’s promise to do what’s right for the business by doing what’s right for people and the planet. In addition to being a member of the PepsiCo Board of Directors, Nooyi serves as a member of the boards of U.S.-China Business Council, the U.S.-India Business Council, The Consumer Goods Forum, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and Tsinghua University. She holds a B.S. from Madras Christian College, an M.B.A. from the Indian Institute of Management in Calcutta and a Master of Public and Private Management from Yale University.

To read more about the 2014 Commencement Ceremony, please click here.

Note to the Media: If you are interested in covering the 2014 Commencement Ceremony, please submit your request here no later than 5 p.m. on May 7, 2014. All broadcast media must be stationary by 8 a.m. 



Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private, research university that is comprised of 13 schools and colleges. Students pursue studies in more than 120 areas leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. Since 1998, the University has produced two Rhodes Scholars, two Truman Scholars, a Marshall Scholar, 30 Fulbright Scholars and 11 Pickering Fellows. Howard also produces more on campus African-American Ph.D. recipients than any other university in the United States. For more information on Howard University, call 202-238-2330, or visit the University's Web site at

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