Honorary Degrees Awarded

Medgar Evers President Patricia Ramsey conferred undergraduate and honorary doctoral degrees during a joint commencement ceremony honoring the classes of 2020 and 2021 in this, the college’s historic 51st year. The virtual event on Thursday, June 3, 2021, officially recognized 2,662 students in both graduating classes. “These graduates are resilient innovators who lead by example and demonstrate flexibility and unwavering determination. They truly embody our College’s motto of courage, strength, and fortitude.”

The College awarded honorary degrees to two distinguished individuals whose lives exemplify the College’s shared principles of professional excellence and personal success, and whose achievements reflect the institution’s mission of social and economic justice as well as a commitment to service.

Michael T. Pugh, president and chief executive officer of Carver Bancorp, received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. Carver Bancorp is the holding company for Carver Federal Savings Bank, a federally chartered savings bank and the nation’s largest publicly traded African- and Caribbean American operated bank, with approximately $600 million in assets and 140 employees. Mr. Pugh also serves as a board member of several non-profit organizations, including the Society for Financial Education and Professional Development, Community Development Bankers Association, and Madison Square Boys and Girls Club.

Mr. Pugh worked as a bank teller while earning a Bachelor of Science in Health Administration from Eastern Michigan University, and he pursued a Master of Science in Financial Management from the University of Maryland Global Campus. Mr. Pugh also earned professional certifications from Babson College and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Ziggy Marley, an eight-time Grammy winner, Emmy winner, musician, producer, activist, and humanitarian, will receive an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts. The eldest son of Bob and Rita Marley, his legendary career spans 40 years as a musical pioneer, infusing reggae with funk, blues, rock, and other elements. Over the past 15 years, Ziggy has fulfilled a dream inspired by his father— becoming a truly independent artist, owning his own masters and publishing rights.

Championing political and philanthropic causes, Marley served as a Goodwill Youth Ambassador for the United Nations and actively participates in Bob Marley Foundation initiatives worldwide. He founded his own charity, URGE (Unlimited Resources Giving Enlightenment), a non-profit organization whose mission encompasses building new schools, operating health clinics, and supporting beneficiaries, including One Love Youth Camp, Chepstowe Basic School in Jamaica, and HOLA (Heart of Los Angeles).

Marley recently received the Black Press of America’s prestigious Global Icon Achievement Award. In 2017, his contributions were recognized with the George and Ira Gershwin Award for Lifetime Musical Achievement, making him the first reggae artist to receive the esteemed award in its more than three-decades.

To the delight of all, Marley delivered a rendition of his father’s 1980 hit, “Redemption Song.” Via Instagram, he revealed that the recognition brought much joy to his mother, Rita Marley.