Deval L. Patrick, who recently concluded two terms as the 71st governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, will be the principal speaker at the Afternoon Exercises of Harvard’s 364th Commencement on May 28.
“Deval Patrick is an extraordinarily distinguished alumnus, a deeply dedicated public servant, and an inspiring embodiment of the American dream,” said Harvard University President Drew Faust. “We greatly look forward to welcoming him home to Harvard on Commencement Day.”
Raised on Chicago’s South Side, Patrick came to Massachusetts at age 14, having won a scholarship to Milton Academy through the Boston-based organization A Better Chance. He earned admission to Harvard College, as the first in his family to attend college, and spent a year in Africa after graduation on a Rockefeller Fellowship before studying for his law degree at Harvard Law School, where he was president of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau.
Early in his career, he served as a law clerk on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Los Angeles, as a staff attorney at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund working on voting rights and death-penalty cases, and then as a partner at the Boston law firm Hill & Barlow.
In 1994, President Bill Clinton named him assistant attorney general for civil rights, the nation’s top civil rights post. In that role, he led the Justice Department’s efforts in such areas as prosecuting hate crimes and enforcing laws on employment discrimination, fair lending, and rights for the disabled.
Nas has found a new home in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Harvard University’s W.E.B Du Bois Institute and Hip-Hop Archive announced the creation of the Nasir Jones Fellowship. The fellowship named after the rapper who is known for his philosophical bars, will allow scholars and artists to use their education through a creative outlet. The Nasir Jones Fellowship key purpose is based on the motto: Education is real power.
The Hip-Hop Archive press release states the mission: “To seek projects from scholars and artists that build on the rich and complex hip-hop tradition; to respect that tradition through historically grounded and contextualized critical insights; and most importantly, to represent one’s creative and/or intellectually rigorous contribution to hip-hop and the discourse through personal and academic projects.”
The fellowship will cover the works of Nas and other prolific hip-hop artists who contributed monumental work to the genre. Recipients of The Nasir Jones Fellowship will be selected by Harvard faculty.
The MC who received the privilege of his own fellowship at the Ivy League states:
“In my roller coaster of a life I’ve endured good and bad for sure, and I’ve truly been blessed to have achieved so much through art in my short life thus far. But I am immensely over-the-top excited about the Nasir Jones Hip-Hop Fellowship at Harvard. From Queens, NY to true cultural academia. My hopes are that greed for knowledge, art, self-determination and expression go a long way. It is a true honor to have my name attached to so much hard work, alongside great names like Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and W.E.B. Du Bois and to such a prestigious and historical institution, and all in the name of the music I grew to be a part of.”
Before forming his own fellowship, Nas has helped Grammy-award winning music producer 9th Wonder with his own academic research project called These Are The Breaks. The research was based on compiling original samples from hip-hop albums that were permanently archived in the Harvard Library; Nas’s Illimatic was a part of the research. 9th Wonder’s research project and journey to Harvard has become a documentary called, The Harvard Fellow.