UNITED STATES NEWS

Oprah tells class of 2023 to follow ‘still, small voice’

May 6, 2023, 9:24 AM | Updated: 9:44 am

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Oprah Winfrey delighted graduates at her alma mater Tennessee State University on Saturday, telling the story of how she fell one credit short of graduating as she launched the media career that would make her a household name.

Giving the commencement address at the historically Black university, Winfrey recalled that she was living with her father in East Nashville while attending college, helping out in his store, and presenting the weekend news at a Black radio station. That’s where the lead anchor of the local CBS television affiliate heard her voice. He called her at school to ask if she wanted a job.

“I said, ‘No sir. TV? Not really, sir, because my father says I have to finish school, and school is just too important,’” Winfrey recalled.

She then went back to class and related the conversation to her scene design professor who “looked at me as if I didn’t have the brains that God gave lettuce,” Winfrey said.

He spoke to her father, and Winfrey took the job. Beginning the second semester of her sophomore year, Winfrey arranged to finish her classes by 2:00 p.m. so she could work at the television station from 2:30 to 10:30 and be home by her father’s 11:00 p.m. curfew.

By the end of her senior year in 1975, Winfrey’s career was in full swing. So she wasn’t terribly distressed to learn that she was one credit short and would not be able to graduate. But her father would not let go of the topic, asking her for years, “‘When you going to get that degree?’” she said.

Finally in 1988, she was allowed to write a paper and submit some of her shows for the final credit.

“So I got my degree from Tennessee State, right around the time I got my third Emmy,” Winfrey said.

Her success in life has come from God’s grace and from listening to what she called the “still, small voice” inside while filtering out the noise of the world. That way “you begin to know your own heart and figure out what matters most,” Winfrey said. “Every right move I’ve made has come from listening deeply and following that still, small voice.”

Winfrey told the class of 2023 they are living in a difficult time in many ways.

“Unfortunately, you are going to encounter people who insist that it’s not actually possible to make any difference,” she said. But she held up the examples of Tennessee state Reps. Justin Jones and Justin Pearson who are “using their lives to prove the cynics wrong.”

The Republican majority reinstated on a interim basis by their local city councils within days and now face a special election to regain their seats.

The United States is “not a finished product,” she said. “Anything is possible. The wheels are still in spin. Saints walk among us. And as Nelson Mandela so brilliantly demonstrated, it’s better to be hopeful than fearful, if for no other reason than that hope brings us one step closer to joy.”

United States News

Associated Press

Police in suburban Chicago are sued over a fatal shooting of a man in his home

CHICAGO (AP) — The sisters of a man fatally shot in his home this month by suburban Chicago police filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday against the officers and their department, alleging wrongful death and other counts. Kyenna McConico and Kennetha Barnes, sisters of Isaac Goodlow III, filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Chicago […]

22 minutes ago

Workers drive among shipping containers and trailers at a BNSF intermodal terminal, Jan. 3, 2024, i...

Associated Press

US economy grew solid 3.2% in fourth quarter, a slight downgrade from government’s initial estimate

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. economy grew at a robust 3.2% annual pace from October through December, propelled by healthy consumer spending, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday in a slight downgrade from its initial estimate. The expansion in the nation’s gross domestic product — the economy’s total output of goods and services — slipped from […]

47 minutes ago

FILE - Activists mark the first anniversary of the Supreme Court's decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Wom...

Associated Press

About as many abortions are happening in the US monthly as before Roe was overturned, report finds

The number of abortions performed each month is about the same as before the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and the nationwide right to abortion more than a year and a half ago, a new report finds. The latest edition of the #WeCount report conducted for the Society of Family Planning, a nonprofit […]

52 minutes ago

This undated photo shows oral historian Francine D. Spang-Willis, who is leading a project to creat...

Associated Press

Laurene Powell Jobs’ philanthropy seeks to strengthen communities with grants for local leaders

Francine Spang-Willis wishes the landscape of the Crazy Mountains near Livingston, Montana, could speak for itself. But absent that, the oral historian will launch a new project talking to people with a connection to the land. Spang-Willis is one of a dozen new fellows announced Wednesday by the Emerson Collective, Laurene Powell Jobs’ philanthropy. In […]

1 hour ago

American and District of Columbia flags fly outside of the Madison Hotel on Feb. 26, 2024, in Washi...

Associated Press

AP Decision Notes: What to expect in the District of Columbia’s GOP presidential primary

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republicans in the nation’s capital will gather in a hotel this weekend and cast their ballots for the GOP presidential candidate they would like to see occupy the White House. The contest may be the best chance for former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley to score a victory in a presidential nomination contest. […]

2 hours ago

FILE - The Idaho state flag hangs in the State Capitol in Boise, Idaho, Jan. 9, 2023. Idaho Republi...

Associated Press

AP Decision Notes: What to expect in Idaho’s GOP caucuses

WASHINGTON (AP) — When life cancels your primary, have a caucus. That’s what Idaho Republicans will do this Saturday when they gather in meetings across the state to help pick their party’s presidential nominee. State legislators originally hoped to save money by consolidating the March 12 presidential primary with their May 21 primary for state […]

2 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Valley residents should be mindful of plumbing ahead of holidays

With Halloween in the rear-view and more holidays coming up, Day & Night recommends that Valley residents prepare accordingly.

Oprah tells class of 2023 to follow ‘still, small voice’