NORTHAMPTON — Oprah Winfrey advised Smith College graduates to seek fulfillment by serving others and live with intention during the school’s commencement.
The author, actress, and former talk show host addressed more than 600 graduates at Sunday’s ceremony. She was among five women who received an honorary degree from the women’s liberal arts school.
Winfrey told the graduates to “shift the paradigm to service and the rewards will come.”
“This understanding that there is an alignment between who you are and what you do is the real, true empowerment,” Winfrey said.
One of Smith’s graduating students, Morgan Mpungose, attended the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy, a boarding school that the media mogul opened in 2007 for poor girls in South Africa.
Winfrey mentioned Mpungose in her speech, referring to her as Winfrey’s academy “daughter.” Winfrey spoke of Mpungose’s transformation during her time at the school, and said the hope of seeing such transformations in other women is what led her to found the academy.
“When you educate a girl, you are not just educating her,” Winfrey said. “You are educating her to create opportunities [for others].”
Winfrey spoke Saturday at Skidmore College’s commencement in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. Skidmore’s graduating class also included a student who attended Winfrey’s Leadership Academy.