Stephen A. Smith Will Receive an Honorary Degree from WSSU, Will Serve as Commencement Speaker on May 14

April 18, 2011
  On the recommendation of Chancellor Donald J. Reaves and with the concurrence of the faculty committee on honorary degrees, the Board of Trustees of Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) has voted unanimously to award the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters to Stephen A. Smith, a noted journalist, media personality and motivational speaker.

    A 1991 graduate of Winston-Salem State, Smith will also serve as the keynote speaker for the university’s Spring Commencement Ceremony which will be held on Saturday, May 14, at 9:45 a.m. in the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

    “It is always a special opportunity to have an alumnus of the university speak at graduation,” said Reaves.  “We are pleased that Stephen has agreed to participate in Spring Commencement and that we will be able to recognize his contributions to his profession and to the broader society with an honorary degree from his alma mater.  He has certainly made his mark in the world of sports reporting and also has given freely of his time and talent to inspire young people around the country through his motivational speaking programs.”

    Smith’s journalism career began with covering high school sports for the New York Daily News in 1993.  He has made his way up the ranks of sports reporters, covering college basketball and football and then the National Basketball Association.  In 2003, Smith was promoted to general sports columnist at the Philadelphia Inquirer, becoming one of only 21 African Americans in the nation to hold that title at that time.

    A sports commentator and analyst, Smith was a part of Fox SportsNet’s “Best Damn Sports Show, Period!” and served as an analyst on ESPN’s premier basketball show, “NBA Shootaround.”  He also has had his own radio show on 1050 ESPN in New York.

    Beyond covering sports, Smith has taken lessons learned from the athletes, celebrities and newsmakers he has written about and used them to develop motivational presentations.  Additionally, he devotes much of his free time to speaking to young people and to charitable organizations throughout the country bringing a message that focuses on the pursuit of excellence and the triumphing over challenges. 

    Smith also is a supporter of the YMCA and YWCA in Brooklyn, the United Negro College Fund and his alma mater.  In 2007, he served as the keynote speaker for the WSSU Mass Communications Club and also shot a promotional video for the university.

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