Humanitarian, education activist and Oklahoma State University graduate Dr. Tererai Trent will be the featured speaker at OSU’s three undergraduate commencement ceremonies set for Saturday, May 10, at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater.
“Dr. Trent is an inspiration and we are proud to call her an alum,” said OSU President Burns Hargis. “She is a walking testament to education as the pathway out of poverty, and she is utilizing that same pathway to ensure a new life for students in rural Africa, as the founder of an educational foundation.”
Hargis will recognize Trent’s many accomplishments by bestowing one of the university’s highest honors, the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.
Trent is scheduled to speak at all three of the undergraduate ceremonies on Saturday. The first, at 9:30 a.m., will honor graduates from the College of Education and the College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology. The 12:30 p.m. commencement will honor graduates from the Spears School of Business and the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. The 4 p.m. commencement will honor graduates from the College of Human Sciences and the College of Arts and Sciences.
The Graduate College commencement is set for Friday, May 9, at 7 p.m. at Gallagher-Iba Arena. The Center for Veterinary Health Sciences commencement will be held Friday, May 9, at 1:30 p.m. in Gallagher-Iba Arena. In all, more than 3,500 students will earn degrees.
Secretly educating herself as a youngster, Trent rose from a childhood of poverty in Africa to earn both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from OSU while raising a family. She shattered all barriers to become a symbol of hope for women in her home village and gained widespread attention when TV host Oprah Winfrey designated Trent her “all-time favorite guest.”
Trent earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural education from OSU in 2001, followed by a master’s degree in 2003 and a doctorate from Western Michigan University in 2009.
When Trent joined Winfrey as a guest on the Oprah Show in 2011, Winfrey announced that she had donated $1.5 million to help Trent build a school for the children in her hometown in rural Zimbabwe, Africa.
Trent founded Tinogona Foundation to build, repair and renovate schools in rural Zimbabwe. Through strategic partnerships with the Oprah Winfrey Foundation and Save the Children, nine schools are being built and education has been improved for nearly 4,000 children so far.