New Jersey

Rutgers University Names Queen Latifah, Anita Hill as Commencement Speakers

Anita Hill and New Jersey's own Queen Latifah have been named keynote speakers for two of Rutgers University's commencement ceremonies in May, the school announced Wednesday. 

The actress, rapper and producer Queen Latifah will deliver the commencement address for Rutgers University-Newark at Prudential Center on May 14. She'll also receive an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree.

Anita Hill, a national leading figure in the #TimesUp movement against sexual harassment and assault, will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree for Rutgers University-Camden's Law School ceremony on May 17 at the BT&T Pavilion on the Camden Waterfront.

Queens Latifah, who was born in Newark and raised in East Orange, has earned a Grammy, Primetime Emmy, Golden Globe, three Screen Actors Guild Awards, three NAACP Image Awards, two BET Awards, among other distinctions, according to a biography released by Rutgers. 

At the age of 21, she organized and became CEO of Flavor Unit Records and Management Company based in Jersey City, and in 1995, her label won its first Grammy for "U.N.I.T.Y.," a song she composed. 

She most recently co-starred in the comedy "Girls Trip," which was chosen by Time magazine as one of the top 10 films of 2017. 

Queen Latifah received Newark Beth Israel Medical Center's Community Award in 2013 for her work helping low-income youth and disadvantaged residents going through foreclosure. 

"Queen Latifah has been a consistent supporter of Newark and a source of inspiration for creative people and entrepreneurs in our city and throughout the world,” said Lyneir Richardson, Executive Director of The Center for Urban Entrepreneurship and Economic Development at Rutgers – Newark. “She is an inspiring role model of excellence for Rutgers-Newark."

Hill, who currently serves as professor of social policy, law and women's, gender and sexuality studies at Brandeis University, graduated from Yale Law School in 1980 and began her career in private practice in Washington, D.C. She then accepted a position working for the Hon. Clarence Thomas at the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights, and later, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. 

Hill's 1991 testimony during Thomas' confirmation hearings for his appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court ignited the national conversation about sexual harassment.

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