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Harvard University can add one more big name to its already distinguished list of commencement speakers. The university just confirmed that Oprah will be delivering the 362nd Commencement address on May 30.
While this is the first time Oprah will be the principal speaker at Harvard's afternoon exercises, she's no stranger to inspiring college students. Last year, she delivered Spelman College's commencement address.
Harvard President Drew Faust is looking forward to the address. "Oprah’s journey from her grandmother’s Mississippi farm to becoming one of the world’s most admired women is one of the great American success stories, " she told the Harvard Gazette. “She has used her extraordinary influence and reach as a force for good in the world, with a constant focus on the importance of educational opportunity and the virtues of serving others.”
Essence magazine honored Oprah with the Power Award at the 6th Annual Essence Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon Thursday. On the red carpet, Oprah told Essence what she believes is true power: "[T]he thing about power for me is that it's connected to a source that's obviously greater than myself. Any time you can connect to the source and understand that that's where all of your energy, your creativity, your joy and your triumph come from, I consider that to be authentic power."
Get more of Oprah's thoughts on power.
Oprah dropped in on Jordan High School students and DIRECTV employees Wednesday for a surprise visit during a school assembly. DIRECTV employees spent the day painting college-themed murals with students and mentoring as part of the Mayor's Partnership for LA Schools. Just as they were wrapping up their day, Oprah popped in to offer some words of inspiration.
Tyler Perry wants your help decorating the set of one of his new series for OWN! Post your pictures on Facebook and you may spot yourself in the set's diner when the show premieres in May.
Plus, Tyler's bringing all-new episodes of basic cable's #1 sitcom of 2011, For Better or Worse, to OWN. Look out for the debut in the fall of 2013.
There's nothing like a good old-fashioned "We Are the World"-style anthem, am I right? Many voices (preferably with a high percentage of celebrities), joining together in catchy song, to support a cause you weren't totally completely sure was a cause at all? Turns out, today is National Voter Registration Day, and guess what -- according to the nonpartisan group L.O.V.E., AKA "Let One Voice Emerge," the largest group of non-voters in America is unmarried women. What? Ladies, nearly 20 million of you are not voting! Not to nag, but remember how just a few generations ago, it was illegal for women to vote? It is a mighty power we have been given. Let's not abdicate it because it seems like a pain to get to the polls, or to get registered (it's not).
In the meantime, let Fergie, Keke Palmer, Patti Austin, Sheila E., and many many others inspire you to vote like your life depends on it. (Which it just might.)
Drew Barrymore's Voting Campaign
The Impact of the 2008 Presidential Election
The bakery chain Sprinkles has begun a "Pay It Forward" campaign designed to bring a little more, ah, sweetness to the typical partisan squabbles. Every day until Election Day, members of Congress can get a dozen cupcakes from the Georgetown Sprinkles shop for free -- if they have it sent to a representative or senator from the opposing party. According to Washington City Paper's Young and Hungry blog, Sprinkles founder Candace Nelson hopes “to inspire a spirit of bipartisanship on Capitol Hill.”
I'm sure political junkies and sugar fiends alike can agree that this is one of the more original ideas we've heard out of Washington DC in some time.
What Oprah Knows About the Importance of Voting
When Mack opened her suitcase 10 hours later, in Florida, there was Bob-bob, "a little shaken but still purring," according to The Orlando Sentinel. You have to love a happy ending like that. But you also have to love the video on the Sentinel's site, where Ethel and her daughter discuss Bob-bob's adventure, adding that he was never the smartest cat. Well, who needs common sense when you have such good luck? After all, Bob-bob made it through the airline's security checks, X-rays and all. Think about that the next time you get stopped by security for having a slightly-not-teensy-enough bottle of hand sanitizer in your bag.
A Fashion Show With a True Cat Walk
Why We Love our Cats (And Dogs)
The Airport Adventures of Jack the Cat
We all have our September 11th stories. Mine involves a husband who worked at the World Trade Centers.
We were both temping, having just arrived in New York City as fresh as newborn babies. My husband was temping for Silverstein Properties, the company which had just purchased the leases for the WTC buildings; he spent his days – get this – photocopying contracts and leases that would soon mean nothing. Good thing he was perpetually late to work; good thing he stopped to pack a sandwich; good thing he stepped out of the subway that morning just instants before his workplace was getting hit by planes.
So now what? He’s fine. Everyone we knew was fine. We're the lucky ones, we who don’t have anyone in particular to personally mourn. Still, every year I have to squint at the news if I want to not be weepy all day. We’re still traumatized, as a nation – anyone in doubt of that need only to look at the way 9/11 is covered in the media. But this morning, a tweet, of all things, reminded me of how to deal with the day.
Edward Champion includes two links telling two different stories of visits to the sites of tragedies: 9/11, and Pearl Harbor. No doubt the tourist smiling for pictures at the WTC site mean well. But what a good reminder, that when this country suffered a similar trauma at Pearl Harbor, it was commemorated with “remembrance and quiet dedication.”
This is because Cassandra found herself suffering a debilitating asthma attack that quickly escalated to something more, a mystery illness that caused her to feel faint, have difficulty breathing and then controlling her muscles, and finally to lose consciousness. But in a completely "wow"-inducing sequence (which she has pieced together from what others have told her), a man carried her off the train and then proceeded to, along with a cast of other good Samaritans, transport her to the hospital. Read the article for the responses Cassandra has gotten from her poster—though she still has not found the man who carried her to safety.
9 Day-Brightening Stories of Generosity
Doing a Good Deed Every Day
As an animal lover, I like to tell my dog about the interesting pet-related stories I come across on the Internet. "Look at this hard-working, life-saving, diabetes-sniffing Golden Retriever," I'll tell the snoring mound on the floor. Or else, "Wow, check out Faith, the amazing two-legged dog who learned to walk upright!" as my mutt diligently licks leftover applesauce off the baby's high chair. I just think she might be interested to know that dogs have amazing potential, and not just as farting foot-warmers. (Although I will say she excels at that.) But Lemon Pie is one dog I couldn't even tell my own under-acheiving pup about without getting choked up.
Lemon Pie lost his front paws in a uniquely horrifying way -- according to the BBC, they were chopped off by a Mexican gang as (brace yourself) practice. But thanks to some kind souls, Lemon Pie was rescued by an animal shelter and fitted with, amazingly, two prosthetic legs. You just have to watch the video, and see Lemon Pie galloping along on his new legs, to believe it. This dog is the picture of a survivor, and the people who rescued him, who saw fit to raise the $8000 for his artificial paws, portraits of what is right with the world.
Helping Victims of Domestic Abuse By Saving Their Pets
Saying Goodbye to a Furry Best Friend
Amazing Animal Updates