The News Service
The 237th Commencement
Actress Phylicia Rashad Will Deliver Baccalaureate Address on May 28
Award-winning actress Phylicia Rashad will deliver the baccalaureate address to Brown University’s graduating seniors on Saturday, May 28, 2005, at 3:30 p.m. in the First Baptist Church in America.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Award-winning actress and 2005 Tony Award nominee Phylicia Rashad will deliver the baccalaureate address, titled “Bridging the Gap,” to graduating seniors at Brown University on Saturday, May 28, 2005, at 3:30 p.m. in the First Baptist Church in America. Because seating in the church is sufficient only for the graduating class, family and friends may watch a video simulcast of the service on The College Green, in Sayles Hall or in Salomon Center. The audio portion will be available in Manning Chapel.
Rashad, who will receive an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree during the University’s Commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 29, is known by many as Clair Huxtable of The Cosby Show and as Ruth Lucas of Cosby. She received the NAACP Image Award for Best Actress in a Comedy Series for each of these roles, and has received two People’s Choice Awards. In 2001, she received the Muse Award for Outstanding Vision and Achievement from the Board of Directors of New York Women in Film and Television.
She also is an award-winning stage actress. In 2004, she won the Tony Award for best performance by a leading actress in a play for her portrayal of Lena Younger in A Raisin in the Sun, becoming the first black actress to win a Tony for a dramatic leading role. She is a 2005 Tony Award nominee in the category of best performance by a leading actress in a play for her portrayal of Aunt Ester in August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean.
Rashad participates in a number of charitable and nonprofit organizations, including the PRASAD Project, an international charitable organization, and a national organization called Recruiting New Teachers.
The baccalaureate is a medieval tradition incorporating the custom of presenting the candidates for the degree of bachelor (bacci) with the laurels (lauri) of sermonic oration. Brown’s president delivered the baccalaureate sermon until 1937, when Henry Wriston, the first University president who was not a Baptist minister, assumed office.
The multifaith service begins with the Lion Dance, a Chinese New Year tradition in which the lion banishes evil spirits and brings good luck to the places where he dances. There will then be a Muslim call to prayer, followed by a Hindu blessing, a Baha’i reading, a Christian reading, a Jewish text and a text from the Zen Buddhist tradition.