Pharrell Williams to Speak at NYU Commencement

Wednesday, Apr 12, 2017

Pharrell Williams, performer, songwriter, producer, entrepreneur, and last year’s Artist in Residence at the Tisch School of the Arts, will address the graduates and guests on behalf of all the degree recipients at New York University’s 185th Commencement exercises.

Williams, who has received 11 Grammy Awards is the founder of the non-profit educational organization From One Hand To AnOTHER (FOHTA), will receive a Doctor of Fine Arts degree, honoris causa, at the ceremony which will be held Wednesday, May 17, 2017 in Yankee Stadium.

Pharrell Williams
Pharrell Williams

"Last year, Tisch was fortunate to experience first hand Artist in Residence Pharrell Williams’s tremendous talent, generosity, and ability to inspire the future generations, so we’re thrilled to welcome him back to NYU as Commencement speaker,” said Allyson Green, dean, Tisch School of the Arts. “From his outstanding creative work to his commitment to encouraging positive change in realms of educating youth and protecting the planet, he is a shining example of the infinite possibilities the world holds for all our students as they embark on their post-college careers.”

Among the activities Williams participated in as Artist in Residence was a music master class with students from Tisch’s Clive Davis Institute, where Williams offered advice to students’ creative works in progress.  The class helped launch the career of then Clive Davis Institute student Maggie Rogers (BFA, ’16).

In addition to Williams, other recipients of honorary doctorates at the 185th Commencement include: Thomas R. Frieden, most recent head of the Centers for Disease Control; Nobel Prize Winning Chemist Jean-Marie Pierre Lehn; Senator Barbara A. Mikulski; Author Melissa V. Harris-Perry; Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords; and NASA astronaut Mark Kelly.