Lionel Richie, the pop and rhythm and blues singer, is Tuskegee University's commencement speaker at 9:30 a.m. Sunday in the Daniel "Chappie" James Center for Aerospace Science and Health Education.
Richie, a member of the 1974 class, is a staunch supporter of the university and the Tuskegee community. During the exercise, he will announce plans to assist the college become an interactive global university. Delivered live by satellite, Richie's speech also will focus on internships and scholarships for Tuskegee students to help them study and learn management skills of the music and entertainment industry.
Richie, a native of Tuskegee, spent more than a decade as a saxophonist and lead singer with the Commodores, a funk group formed at the university. He later left the group in 1982 and struck gold with hits in a solo act, hitting No. 1 on the pop charts with singles like “Hello," “All Night Long" and“Say You, Say Me.”
The event will mark the last commencement for President Benjamin F. Payton whose retirement is effective June 30.