2016 Morehouse College (U.S.A) Graduation
Introduction by Dr. John Silvanus Wilson, President of Morehouse College
It is my privilege to present Mrs Tsitsi Masiyiwa as we confer upon her the honorary doctor of humane letters. Mrs Masiyiwa, Morehouse college is pleased to honor you for your work as a philanthropist and social entrepreneur. Along with your husband, today’s commencement speaker, Strive Masiyiwa, you founded the Higherlife Foundation to invest in and support orphaned and vulnerable children with a focus on education, healthcare, and technology. The foundation which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, has now supported more than 250 thousand children to access education including our Andrew Young international scholars – that is impact!
Higherlife Foundation has now become one of the largest educational scholarship programs in Africa. You have also co founded Muzinhda Hub – an entrepreneurial and innovation project in Zimbabwe that serves as an incubator lab for youth digital skill development and business mentorship.
As a passionate advocate for transforming the lives of children, you have made a difference. You have committed your life to a mission that provides every child the basic human right to earn an education, live healthy lives, and overcome poverty. And now as you expand your work into innovation and technology committing time and attention to the digital learnership of scores of African young men and women, we salute you and your immeasurable commitment to public service.
Mrs Masiyiwa your life is a shining example of what the world can achieve when heart and service come together. Therefore, by the authority granted me by the Morehouse College Board of Trustees, I confer upon you the honorary degree of human letters, with all the rights, privileges, and responsibilities appertaining there unto.
Mrs Tsitsi Masiyiwa Speech
The Board of Trustees of Morehouse College, President Wilson, staff, Ambassador Andrew Young, parents, students, and my family. Since the day I learned that you can ask God for anything, I began to make a wish list, making all sorts of requests for the things that I wanted and desired. On my list I asked God for wars to cease, famines to end, for peace and good success to my family and my children, for the sick and the downtrodden to be uplifted. I never ever prayed for the work that I do, and most importantly for the recognition that I received from this great institution today.
When I received the news of the award tears ran down my cheeks, as I thought to myself that a group of some of the worlds leading academics and business leaders, would sit down, and from an endless list of possibilities and potential awardees, they would find it fit to give me this award today. Its very humbling for me, and I am truly thankful and grateful.
There are numbers of versions that can be told as to how we got involved at Morehouse College.But I want you to remember this particular version. I distinctly remember sitting in my dining room in Johannesburg, South Africa, when we had a visit from senior staff members from Morehouse. They sat together with my husband, and I heard my husband announce that he was happy and willing to sponsor a group of 40 young Zimbabwean students to study at the college. Being a mother of five girls and one son, immediately I knew that the Math was wrong, as there were no girls. So I weighed in with my own council and made a suggestion. Either we do 40 boys at Morehouse and 40 girls at another institution. Or we do 20/20. But it can’t be 40 boys to one institution for boys only I said to my husband. Well so far, today, we have 10 girls at Spelman, and the next 10 will soon be coming.
To the students graduating today, congratulations and well done for your exceptional achievements. You have been counselled and advised about the future and what it holds, and virtually all that has been said has been said. But my final word to you is that… you maintain your testimony, acknowledge the good things that God has done for you first and foremost, acknowledge the things that Morehouse College has put into you, and finally make sure you give back, but not only coming back to this great institution, but by giving back financially; so that the work that has gone before us but lies ahead of us, not only leaves a mark in history as the class of 2016 that moved mountains in the world; but let it be the class of 2016 that wrote the biggest cheque to Morehouse.
With these few words, thank you very much, thank you to my family who are with me here today. Thank you very much and god bless you mightily.