Commencement Guest Speaker
Hill Harper is a humanitarian, an award-winning actor, best-selling author, entrepreneur, health and wellness ambassador/educator and philanthropist. Harper stars in ABC’s #1 television drama, The Good Doctor, for it’s 4th season, and hosts his new podcast, COMMAS, premiering during Black History Month 2021. In theaters, Harper can be seen in Warner Bros. Pictures film A Sun Is Also A Star starring Yara Shahidi.
In addition to his performing career, Harper has authored four New York Times bestsellers: Letters to a Young Brother, Letters to a Young Sister, The Conversation, and The Wealth Cure which chronicled his diagnosis with thyroid cancer and his journey to health. Letters to a Young Brother won several awards and was named “Best Book for Young Adults” by the American Library Association in 2007. Harper has been recognized with seven NAACP Image Awards, four of them for his writing. His latest book, Letters to an Incarcerated Brother, which speaks to the current mass incarceration crisis, was released to critical acclaim and was nominated for several awards.
Harper is the founder of the Manifest Your Destiny Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to empowering underserved youth through mentorship, scholarship and grant programs.
Harper was born in Iowa City, IA, the son of two doctors – his father, a psychiatrist and his mother, an anesthesiologist. He graduated magna cum laude from Brown University with a Bachelor of Arts degree and was named Valedictorian of his department. Harper then graduated with a J.D. (cum laude) from Harvard Law School, as well as with a Master’s Degree in Public Administration, with honors, from the Kennedy School of Government. He holds honorary doctoral degrees from Howard University, Winston-Salem State University, Cheyney University, Le-Moyne Owen College, Westfield State College, Dillard University and Tougaloo College.
Amongst his other titles, Harper is a successful businessman and entrepreneur. He is co-owner of the award-winning New Orleans hotel, International House, and a successful coffee franchise in downtown Detroit called The Roasting Plant. Harper also owns several commercial and residential rental properties in Los Angeles and Newark, NJ.
Harper served on the President's Cancer Panel having been appointed by President Obama in 2011, is a National Black Bank Foundation Board Member, and has been named Honorary Co- Chair of Redevelopment of Black Wall Street by Greenwood Chamber of Commerce. Harper travels worldwide as a motivational speaker, addressing current affairs and life-awakening topics to a wide array of audiences of youth, adults, couples, and business leaders. In 2004 and 2014, People Magazine named him one of their Sexiest Men Alive…he anticipates being named again in 2024.