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‘Abbott Elementary’ Star Sheryl Lee Ralph Delivers Emotional Speech at Graduation Ceremony

2022 marked a major milestone for Abbott Elementary star Sheryl Lee Ralph when she won her first Emmy. And now in 2023, the Dream Girls alum can add another achievement to her list of amazing accomplishments: receiving an honorary doctorate degree.

Over the weekend, the Moesha star, 66, delivered a moving commencement speech to the Rutgers University Graduating Class of 2023. Ralph first graduated from the college back in 1975, where she became the youngest female graduate ever during that time.

While standing at the podium, Ralph snapped a quick IG selfie with the scholars in the audience, where she can be seen smiling widely in her Rutgers cap and gown.

The caption read, “Congratulations Rutgers University Graduating Class of 2023! Proud to have been your Commencement Speaker and to receive my Ph.D. T. H. Dr. Sheryl Lee Ralph OJ.”

The actress received an honorary doctorate of Fine Arts from Rutgers University President Jonathan Holloway. During her speech, she shared an inspiring message with the crowd of students. “I could have just imagined what it was like when you first came here to the campus as freshmen,” she said, per Vibe magazine.

Ralph continued, “Our country and the world took a tragic and difficult turn. Kobe died, George Floyd was killed, and then the world and everything changed when COVID-19…shut down the world. But, you stayed the course, you never gave up, you kept doing. We need people who have been through something and still have so much to give and share—that’s you.”

Before she ended her speech, Ralph wanted to give the graduating class one piece of advice. “Figure out what makes you happy,” she told the crowd. “If you enjoy what you do, it doesn’t feel like a job. Don’t chase money. Money will come.”

Big congrats on receiving your honorary degree, Sheryl!

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