St. Mary’s College of Maryland announced today that Angélique Kidjo, the five-time Grammy winner and goodwill ambassador, will be the 2023 Commencement speaker on Saturday, May 13, 2023. The ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. on the College’s Townhouse Green in St. Mary’s City.
“Angélique Kidjo has a voice I believe our graduates will want to hear – and not just her spectacular singing voice,” said Tuajuanda C. Jordan, PhD, president of St. Mary’s College of Maryland. “Just as she has done wonders to promote musical harmony across many disparate genres, her work as a goodwill ambassador has done much to promote cultural harmony – something that is much needed in today’s world.”
Kidjo’s impressive resume includes 16 albums, multiple cultures, and languages, as well as respect from her peers and a growing international audience. She has inspired some of today’s most captivating creators of West African music, Afrobeat, Afro-pop, dancehall, hip-hop, and alt-R&B.
Kidjo’s work also extends beyond music as she advocates for children around the globe. She has served as a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF and OXFAM, and was appointed by French President Emmanuel Macron as a spokesperson for AFAWA (Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa). She has also founded her own charitable foundation, Batonga, dedicated to supporting the education of young girls in Africa.
In addition to speaking at the Commencement ceremony, Kidjo will perform in concert at the Nancy R. & Norton T. Dodge Performing Arts Center on the campus later that evening, beginning at 7 p.m.