Whoopi Goldberg Addresses SCAD Graduates June 4th


Award-winning actress, producer and bestselling author Whoopi Goldberg addressed the Savannah College of Art and Design graduating class of 2011 at commencement ceremonies in Savannah and Atlanta, Saturday, June 4. Goldberg spoke to graduates at SCAD's 31st Savannah commencement ceremony, 9 a.m., at the Savannah Civic Center, 301 W. Oglethorpe Ave. She then addressed the graduates at SCAD Atlanta's fifth commencement ceremony, 6 p.m., at the Georgia World Congress Center, 285 Andrew Young International Blvd. N.W.

"I'm someplace I used to dream about as a kid," Goldberg said. "I dreamed of this place, a place where film and media, liberal arts, design, fashion and architecture could live together. I'm so pleased to be here... I'm so proud to be with you all."

SCAD president Paula Wallace said to the graduates, "I am inspired by each and every one of you--by your talent, by your intention, and by the boundless, borderless promise of things to come."

In 2002, Whoopi Goldberg became one of a very elite group of artists who have won the Grammy ("Whoopi Goldberg," 1985), the Academy Award ("Ghost," 1990), the Golden Globe ("The Color Purple," 1985 and "Ghost," 1990), the Emmy (as host of AMC's "Beyond Tara: The Extraordinary Life of Hattie McDaniel," 2002 and a Daytime Emmy for "The View" in 2009) and a Tony (producer of "Thoroughly Modern Millie," 2002). She is equally well-known for her humanitarian efforts on behalf of children, the homeless, human rights, education, substance abuse and the battle against AIDS, as well as many other causes and charities. Among her many charitable activities, Goldberg is a goodwill ambassador to the United Nations.

Born and raised in New York City, Goldberg worked in theatre and improvisation in San Diego and the Bay Area, where she performed with the Blake Street Hawkeyes theatre troupe. It was there that she created the characters which became "The Spook Show" and evolved into her hit Broadway show, Grammy Award-winning album and the HBO special that helped launch her career.

Goldberg made her motion picture debut in Steven Spielberg's film version of Alice Walker's "The Color Purple," for which she earned an Academy Award nomination and a Golden Globe Award. Her performance in "Ghost" earned her the Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress. Goldberg has also appeared in such films as "Jumpin' Jack Flash," "Clara's Heart," "The Long Walk Home," "Soapdish," "The Player," "Sarafina!," "Sister Act," "Made in America," "Corrina, Corrina," "Boys on the Side," "Eddie," "The Associate" and "Ghosts of Mississippi," "How Stella Got Her Groove Back," "Girl, Interrupted," "Kingdom Come" and "Rat Race." She has voiced characters in such animated features as "The Lion King," "Racing Stripes," "Doogal," and "Everyone's Hero." In November 2010, she was part of Tyler Perry's all-star film adaption of "For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf." She will be seen next in the feature film, "Earthbound," with Kate Hudson, Gael Garcia Bernal and Kathy Bates.

On television, Goldberg appeared for five seasons on "Star Trek: The Next Generation," co-starred with Jean Stapleton in "Bagdad Cafe" and hosted her own syndicated late-night talk show. She appeared in the Emmy-nominated HBO drama, "In the Gloaming," directed by Christopher Reeve, as well as "The Wonderful World of Disney's Rogers & Hammerstein's Cinderella" and "A Knight in Camelot" and appeared in the mini-series "Alice in Wonderland" and "The Magical Legend of the Leprechauns." She starred in the NBC sitcom, "Whoopi," which she executive produced, as well as the television movies, "It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie" and Showtime's "Good Fences," which she co-produced with co-star Danny Glover. She produced and appeared on Nick Jr's "Whoopi's Littleburg" and recently guest starred opposite Benjamin Bratt in A&E's "The Cleaner" and currently appears on ABC's Emmy Award-winning "The View," for which she has won a Daytime Emmy Award.

As she has in every other facet of her career, Goldberg has made her mark as a producer. She executive produced the Lifetime original drama series "Strong Medicine," the longest-running original drama created for basic cable and the first cable show to go into syndication. From 1998-2002, she executive produced and appeared in the center square on the Emmy Award-winning "Hollywood Squares." She executive produced the Lifetime original movie, "What Makes a Family," Showtime's "Ruby's Bucket of Blood" and executive produced and starred in the TNT Original Movie, "Call Me Claus" and the Showtime original, "Good Fences."

Goldberg executive produced the hit Broadway musical, "Thoroughly Modern Millie," which won six Tony Awards, including Best Musical. She also produced "Whoopi...The 20th Anniversary" and "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" (in which she also starred), as well as the West End debut of "Sister Act: The Musical" at the London Palladium. She will produce the upcoming Broadway production of the musical, "White Noise." Whoop, Inc. recently announced a partnership with Discovery Communications' Emerging Networks Group to develop targeted series for Investigation Discovery and Science Channel. They also produced, with Goldberg starring, "Stream," an original sci-fi mini-series event for FEARnet.com, the world's premiere horror and thriller website and video on demand service. Whoop, Inc. also produced the live-action comedy series, "Just for Kicks," set in the world of girls' soccer, for Nickelodeon. They have numerous projects in various stages of development for stage, screen and television.

Goldberg has appeared on many television series and specials, including her own HBO specials, three-time host of ABC's "A Gala for the President at Ford's Theatre" and nine "Comic Relief" telecasts with Billy Crystal and Robin Williams. She received Emmy Award nominations for hosting the 66th, 68th and 71st "Academy Awards" telecasts and returned to host the 2002 telecast at the new Kodak Theatre. In 2008, Goldberg hosted the Tony Awards for the first time.

She returned to Broadway in 1997, garnering rave reviews in "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum." In 2001, Goldberg returned to her performing roots, on tour for the first time in over 10 years, performing one-night-only engagements across the U.S. In 2003, she produced and starred in the title role of the Broadway revival of "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom." She commemorated the 20th anniversary of her original one-woman show with a Tony-nominated engagement production on Broadway last year and the HBO broadcast of the show was nominated for an Emmy Award. She recently appeared in the hit Broadway musical "Xanadu" and made her West End stage debut in a special limited run as Mother Superior in "Sister Act: The Musical" in August, which she also produced. Up next, Goldberg has produced a provocative new rock musical called "White Noise," which follows a pair of sisters who are discovered by a powerful record producer and groomed into a well-packaged rock/pop band. Directed and choreographed by Broadway's Sergio Trujillo, the show will play an 8-week limited engagement starting in April 2011.

In addition to the Oscar, the Grammy and two Golden Globe Awards, Goldberg has been honored with multiple NAACP Image Awards, numerous People's Choice Awards (including a special tribute in 1998) and five Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards as "Favorite Movie Actress," as well as various awards and honors for her many humanitarian efforts.

In 1992, Goldberg made her debut as an author with her first children's book, "Alice." Her second literary endeavor, simply entitled "Book," became a bestseller in the U.S. and around the world. Hyperion Books published "Whoopi's Big Book of Manners" in 2006 and launched a new series of books, "Sugar Plum Ballerinas," in 2008 with "Plum Fantastic," followed by 2009's "Toeshoe Trouble" and "Perfectly Prima" in early 2010. A fourth installment, "Terrible Terrel," was published in October, along with a new book for adults, "Is It Just Me?"

Among her many awards and honors, Goldberg has placed prints of her hands, feet and braids in the forecourt of the famed Grauman's Chinese Theatre and received her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in front of the Kodak Theatre.

For over 30 years SCAD has offered the finest art and design education in the world, preparing talented students for creative, professional careers. Over the past five years, an average of eight out of 10 SCAD alumni, responding to a survey, were employed in their fields or had been admitted to graduate school within six months of graduation. In addition to SCAD's unrivaled career services, the university offers internships, competitions and classroom assignments designed to connect students with businesses, design firms, media and other educational and nonprofit organizations. Visiting professionals also meet with students to critique work, offer advice and recruit for internships and full-time positions.

SCAD: The University for Creative Careers

The Savannah College of Art and Design is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution conferring bachelor's and master's degrees to prepare talented students for professional careers. As the most comprehensive art and design university in the world, SCAD offers more than 40 majors and more than 50 minors at distinctive locations in Savannah and Atlanta, Georgia; in Hong Kong; in Lacoste, France; and online through SCAD eLearning.

SCAD has more than 20,000 alumni and offers an exceptional education and unparalleled career preparation. The diverse student body, consisting of more than 10,000 students, comes from all 50 United States and nearly 100 countries worldwide. Each student is nurtured and motivated by a faculty of more than 700 professors with extraordinary academic credentials and valuable professional experience. These professors emphasize learning through individual attention in an inspiring university environment. SCAD's innovative curriculum is enhanced by advanced, professional-level technology, equipment and learning resources and has garnered acclaim from respected organizations and publications, including 3D World, American Institute of Architects, BusinessWeek, DesignIntelligence, U.S. News & World Report and the Los Angeles Times.

For more information, visit scad.edu.


Photo Credit: Walter McBride/WM Photos

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