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Oprah to speak at Harvard commencement

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  • Oprah Winfrey has awarded hundreds of grants to organizations that support education and the empowerment of women, children, and families worldwide. She will speak at Harvard University's afternoon commencement exercises on May 30.

      Oprah Winfrey has awarded hundreds of grants to organizations that support education and the empowerment of women, children, and families worldwide. She will speak at Harvard University's afternoon commencement exercises on May 30.
    Associated Press/May 17, 2011

 
Associated Press

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Oprah Winfrey has been selected as one of the principal speakers at Harvard University's commencement, the Ivy League school announced Monday.

The talk show host and media entrepreneur will speak at the afternoon exercises at Harvard's 362nd commencement scheduled for May 30.

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"Oprah's journey from her grandmother's Mississippi farm to becoming one of the world's most admired women is one of the great American success stories," Harvard President Drew Faust said in a statement. "She has used her extraordinary influence and reach as a force for good in the world, with a constant focus on the importance of educational opportunity and the virtues of serving others."

Through her private foundation, Winfrey has awarded hundreds of grants to organizations that support education and the empowerment of women, children, and families worldwide.

She has launched and led a wide array of educational, civic and charitable pursuits. Her book club has stimulated reading worldwide and featured many authors who might otherwise have been overlooked. Her advocacy spurred the 1993 passage of federal legislation, known as the "Oprah Bill," to establish a national database of convicted child abusers.

Winfrey was listed as the world's 11th most powerful woman by Forbes last year, and one of the world's 200 wealthiest people with a net worth of $2.7 billion.

Afternoon exercises serve as the annual meeting of the Harvard Alumni Association.

The university usually brings in a separate speaker for Class Day exercises the day before commencement. That speaker has not been announced.

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