Grammy Award-winning artist and philanthropist Wyclef Jean can now add another distinguished honor to his long list of achievements: The Haitian-born Jean was awarded an honorary doctorate on May 23 from Western Connecticut State University in Danbury.
Dr. Jean delivered a commencement speech, titled "Vision for the Future," to the graduating class of 2010 and was presented a check from the university in the amount of $9,500 for his organization, Yéle Haiti.
Founded in 2005, Yéle Haiti was one of the leading organizations that stepped up to the plate in the aftermath of this year's earthquake in Haiti.
Jean, who came from humble beginnings, stated that he had to "ride a donkey to school in Haiti" and stressed the importance of perseverance.
"I lived in a one-room shack. When I came to America, I didn't speak a word of English. Today I am able to travel the world, reach people with my music, work on behalf of my native Haiti and even speak at a college commencement."
Challenging WCSU's class of 2010 to have a vision for the future and embark on their dreams, Jean stated:
"Create a vision based on your specific gifts, talents and tools. There is greatness in simply being you and using your skill to do something with your vision -- and to put your personal plan in motion."