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Virginia Union University Announces Anthony Anderson as 2021 Commencement Speaker

Virginia Union University has announced that producer of ABC’s multi-award nominated sitcom “black-ish,” will deliver the 122nd commencement address on May 8, 2021, at 10:00 a.m. The ceremony will be held virtually on VUU Facebook and on YouTube VUU TV. After the ceremony, students are invited to virtually attend separate school-based celebrations with their classmates, Deans, and faculty.

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“Our students’ lives mirror many of the themes characterized in the show black-ish. Anthony Anderson will bring the perfect message filled with honesty and humor as our students begin the next phase of their life,” said Dr. Hakim J. Lucas, President & CEO of Virginia Union University. “I am thrilled our graduates will have the opportunity to hear from him especially after a year of COVID-19 and calls for social justice reform.”

Emmy and Golden Globe nominated actor Anthony Anderson has brought his talent and humor to the small screen and in theatres. He is in his seventh season of “black-ish” portraying Andre “Dre” Johnson, a family man who struggles to gain a sense of cultural identity while raising his kids in a predominantly white, upper-middle class neighborhood. He is also host of the ABC game show “To Tell the Truth;” producer of the shows “grown-ish” for Freeform and “mixed-ish” for ABC, both “black-ish” spin offs; and executive producer of “Road Trippin” with Rickey Thompson and Denzel Dion which airs on SnapChat. On the big screen, he has appeared in “Transformers”, Oscar-winning film “The Departed”, and the “Barbershop” franchise to name a few. Most recently, he starred in and was the executive producer of Netflix’s film “BEATS”, alongside Uzo Aduba and newcomer Khalil Everage.

Active in his community as an advocate and philanthropist, Anderson will host his fourth annual Anthony Anderson Celebrity Golf Classic next year, benefiting the American Diabetes Association, Los Angeles Mission and Boys & Girls Club of America. He also proudly serves on the GOOD+ Foundation’s Fatherhood Leadership Council and was inducted into the Class of 2017 Boys & Girls Club of America National Alumni Hall of Fame. Anderson has Type 2 diabetes and is an advocate for diabetes awareness and a spokesperson for the “Getting Real About Diabetes” campaign. Anderson has always been a supporter of his hometown, Compton, California. He has partnered with the City of Compton in holiday food giveaways in the city where they provided food to over 1,000 residents. Last year, he emceed the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Ground-Breaking Event to support local youths. In the battle against Covid-19, Anderson joined Mayor Garcetti at a South L.A. clinic to urge communities of color to seek COVID-19 testing. He also co-hosted the “Saving Our Selves: A BET COVID-19 Relief Effort” special, to support African Americans impacted by coronavirus. And in lieu of participating in the Veteran’s Day Parade due to Covid-19, he co-hosted “The 2020 National Memorial Day Parade: America Stands Tall” television special.

Born in 1970, Anderson pursued his acting career as he continued his education by attending Hollywood High School for the Performing Arts, where he earned first place in the NAACP's ACTSO Awards with his performance of the classic monologue from "The Great White Hope." That performance, along with his dedication to his craft, earned him an arts scholarship to Howard University.

About VUU: Virginia Union University is a premier liberal arts urban institution of higher education and center of excellence for the preparation of students and the development of leaders for tomorrow’s world. It was founded in 1865 to give newly emancipated slaves an opportunity for education and advancement. Virginia Union University offers a broad range of educational opportunities that advance liberal arts education, teaching, research, science, technology, continuing education, civic engagement, and international experiences. Visit for more information.


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