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Missy Elliott Receives Honorary Doctorate From Norfolk State University, Donates $20K In Return

Virginia native Missy Elliott donated $20,000 to Norfolk State University after receiving an honorary doctorate from the school.

Missy Elliott is giving Norfolk State University students a leg-up on their future. On Saturday (December 10), the Supa Dupa Fly artist was awarded an honorary degree from the Virginia university's fall 2022 commencement ceremony. To a graduating class of 400, as reported by The Virginia Pilot, Elliott encouraged the students to be proud of their accomplishments.

“I am proud of y’all, and y’all should be proud of yourself,” Elliott said. “I want you to look at each other and say, ‘You already won.’ Let ’em know! Ain’t no winning, you already the one. ‘Cause y’all coulda been doing anything else the last few years, y’all coulda been wildin’ out, but y’all decided to finish the course. And that’s major.”

The event also marked Norfolk State University's 109th graduation ceremony, where Elliott was granted the Presidential Commencement Medallion. The 51-year-old, who also received an honorary doctorate from Berklee College in 2019, was given a second honorary degree from NSU, acknowledging her “outstanding professional achievements and extraordinary contributions to public service.”

“I’m looking around and I see innovators, visionaries, leaders created in here,” she said, wearing a gown with the school's green and gold colors. "I want to see these same faces years from now saying … ’I became famous, I became president, I became a lawyer.’ All of those things."

In return for the high honor, Elliott gifted NSU with a check for $20,000 to address its “area of greatest needs.” In related news, a street in Portsmouth, Virginia, where Elliott was born and raised, was recently named after the artist. On August 9, Portsmouth City Council unanimously voted to rename a street “Missy Elliott Boulevard.”  The street is currently titled McLean Street, and is adjacent to the Victory Crossing Shopping Center and Tidewater Community College.