Oprah Winfrey Tells Graduates It Took Over 10 Years To Get College Degree

In a commencement speech for Tennessee State University’s class of 2023, Oprah Winfrey shared that, unlike them, she did not graduate with her college degree in four, or even five, years.  

On Saturday, the media mogul explained to the graduating class that she had been one credit shy of qualifying for her diploma when her career in broadcast journalism took off. Winfrey told students that it would be 10 years before she returned to complete her degree, The Associated Press reported. 

Winfrey said her father pushed her to finish the education she had started at TSU. Over the years he asked her repeatedly, “When you going to get that degree?”

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It wasn’t until 1988 that Winfrey received her degree from the Nashville-based HBCU, WABE reported. By that time she had become the Oprah Winfrey we all know and love. 

“So I got my degree from Tennessee State, right around the time I got my third Emmy,” Winfrey said.

To date, Winfrey has won 19 Emmys, 12 NAACP Image Awards, and a Tony. To boot, she was nominated for an Oscar for her work in The Color Purple and as a producer for Selma

After telling the students about her journey to graduation and her God-ordained steps to success, the OWN  creator encouraged them to follow their purpose and to listen to the “still, small voice,” that will lead them to a space where they would “begin to know your own heart and figure out what matters most,”

Winfrey inspired the graduates to do purposeful work with the story of Tennessee state Reps. Justin Jones and Justin Pearson, who were expelled for for protesting for tougher gun laws while on the house floor, and the work and passion of Nelson Mandela. 

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