Tyler Perry to give commencement speech at Emory, receive honorary degree

ATLANTA — Tyler Perry is a media mogul, billionaire, actor, writer and producer. Soon, he will add “doctor” to his list of accomplishments.

Emory University announced this week that Perry will be the commencement speaker for the Class of 2022′s graduation. Perry will also receive an honorary doctor of letters degree from Emory.

“That’s right: y’all asked for me, so I’m coming!” Perry said in a video announcement. “Hey, they’re giving me an honorary degree! I’m officially a doctor, hello! Thank you all so much and I’ll see you in May.”

Perry grew up in New Orleans and often speaks of his difficult childhood because of his father’s abuse. Perry dropped out of high school, but eventually earned his GED.

Perry moved to Atlanta in the 90s. Perry said he struggled and ended up homeless living along Sylvan Road. After years of dedication, Perry finally saw his big break and now he is one of the top entertainers in the world.


It’s not just his success story in the entertainment that people have come to admire. Perry is also known for making charitable contributions to metro Atlanta and around the world.

It’s not uncommon for Perry to personally call the WSB-TV Newsroom after a story airs on Channel 2 Action News about a person or family going through a rough time. He then offers a very generous donation to help the person in need. This has happened countless times over the years.

“Tyler Perry is a visionary creative force — writing, directing, producing and performing in plays, films and TV shows that move, entertain and inspire,” Emory President Gregory L. Fenves said. “Equally impressive are his endeavors as a philanthropist, humanitarian and social justice advocate. Whether funding scholarships for talented students, covering the grocery bills of elderly Atlanta residents, or supporting global disaster relief, he is renowned for creating opportunities and giving back to his community.”

Emory’s graduation ceremony will be the first one held on campus since the pandemic began. The ceremony is set for May 9.

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