Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs was awarded an honorary doctorate from Howard University on Saturday morning during a ceremony where the hip-hop mogul delivered the commencement address.
“Ain’t no homecoming like a Howard homecoming,” Combs told the crowd, according to Billboard. Combs had attended Howard as a business major for two years before dropping out in 1990, and he spoke to the crowd of new graduates about the impact his time at the Washington, DC university made on his life. “Howard University didn’t just change my life – it entered my soul, my heart, my being and my spirit,” he said as he received his honorary degree in humanities. “Nobody is going to invite you to the front of the line, you got to push your way to the front of the line.”
Combs was recognized by the university on Saturday alongside CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer, surgeon Clive Callender, jazz saxophonist Benny Golson and PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi.
“We are honored to have Mr. Combs serve as our speaker,” Howard’s interim President Wayne Frederick said in a statement. “He sat in classrooms where our students sit, walked ‘The Yard,’ and like many students, his entrepreneurial spirit was sparked at Howard.”
The Bad Boy Records founder and entrepreneur has put out music under a host of names, including Puffy, P. Diddy, Diddy, Puff Daddy and his own real name. He announced in March that he was going back to Puff Daddy, just before releasing his new single, “Big Homie.” “You could go to any hood / Bet they know me,” he declares on the track. Perhaps from now on, they’ll know him as Dr. Combs.