NORFOLK, Va. - This is sure to make Norfolk State students happy.
Musician and Hampton Roads native Pharrell Williams delivered the keynote address at NSU's 107th Commencement at 9 a.m. on Saturday, December 11 at Joseph G. Echols Memorial Hall. The ceremony honored the December graduates of the Class of 2021.
The address was also live streamed on NSU's website.
A 13-time Grammy award winner, Academy Award nominee, and the recipient of ASCAP's prestigious Golden Note Award, the Virginia Beach native has been committed to putting the spotlight not just on his hometown, but the Hampton Roads area as a whole.
He was also a co-producer on the film "Hidden Figures," which told the story of the four African American women scientists at Hampton's NASA Langley Research Center who helped Americans get to space.
Williams' Something in the Water festival, held for the first time in 2019, celebrated the community and diversity of Virginia Beach and proved to be a success to the local economy.
In the summer of 2020, Williams and friend and fellow Virginia Beach native Chad Hugo were inducted to the Songwriters Hall of Fame as the producer duo The Neptunes.
As NSU conferred degrees for nearly 400 graduates, Williams also received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.
To attend the ceremony, all invited guests were required to have a ticket, which was given by their graduate. Norfolk State University also required proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours of the ceremony.