2014 Tutu Fellow Ada Osakwe delivered the convocation address to the Kellogg School of Management Class of 2020. She became the first African to be given this honour, and the fourth black woman. She followed in the footsteps of outstanding Black Americans Edith Cooper, the Global Head of Human Capital at Goldman Sachs in 2017; Roslyn Brock, the Chairman Emeritus of the NAACP in 2012; and media titan Oprah Winfrey, in 2011.
Ada is an award-winning food entrepreneur and Founder of The Nuli Juice Company and an alumnus of the Kellogg School.
She said it was also a pivotal moment in history, as plans for the traditional, in-person convocation ceremony had to change drastically, given all that was going on in our world now. The class of 2020 also saw their year upended by the ongoing global health pandemic and completed the last few months of their MBA degree program virtually, instead of on campus in the classroom, and they will receive their diplomas in the mail or on their phones.
Recognizing the need to offer extra inspiration at this extraordinary moment in history, in her commencement speech, Ada praised them for their bravery, resilience and courage. She said that it was important to believe in yourself to make it through challenging time “So in your quest to thrive, there will be curve-balls thrown your way and you’ll have to take risks, it’s a given. But you’ve just got to trust your journey,” she advised the graduating students.
Ada said she will always speak out against racial injustice and urged those who were not black to also find their voices on this issue as allies to ensure there is more equality, tolerance and acceptance for all.
You can watch the full address below: