SYRACUSE, N.YûNearly 25 years after leaving Syracuse University, Vanessa Williams will get her bachelor of fine arts degree this weekend. The 45-year-old actress-singer, who stars in ABC’s Ugly Betty, will also deliver the convocation address Saturday to
Williams attended Syracuse’s drama department as a musical theater major from 1981-1983. She earned the remaining credits for her degree through industry experience and performances on stage and screen. In 1983, Williams became the first Black Miss America. She surrendered the title in July 1984 after Penthouse magazine published nude, sexually explicit photographs of her taken several years earlier.
Over her career, Williams has sold more than 4 million albums, won critical praise for her performances on Broadway, made dozens of TV appearances and starred in several movies. She has won a Tony, received two NAACP Image Awards and nine Grammy nominations. In 1996, Williams received the George Arents Pioneer Medal, the university’s most prestigious alumni award.
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