LaBelle to receive honorary degree

Philadelphia-born R&B singer and humanitarian Patti LaBelle will be honored during the 123rd commencement ceremony on May 13.

Philadelphia-born humanitarian and world-famous R&B diva Patti LaBelle will join the class of 2010 in May in accepting a diploma. LaBelle will be awarded Temple’s 2010 honorary doctorate of human letters degree May 13 at the Liacouras Center.

Courtesy W&W Public Relations, Inc. Patti LaBelle will be present at this year’s commencement to accept her honorary doctorate of humane letters degree. In 2008, she partnered with the School of Podiatry to raise awareness about diabetes, which she battles herself.

It is confirmed that the two-time Grammy winner, perhaps best known for songs “Lady Marmalade” and “If Only You Knew,” will return to her hometown to accept her diploma during the 123rd commencement ceremony.

But the singer is no stranger to Temple University – in 2008, she began a partnership with the School of Podiatry to raise awareness about diabetes.

“Patti LaBelle has led a life of incredible achievement in the performing and recording industries.  She has used her status as a public figure to bring attention to serious health issues, helping to save countless lives,” Temple University President Ann Weaver Hart said in a statement. “We are delighted to honor this native Philadelphian for her professional excellence and her selfless service to others.”

In addition to her renowned music career, LaBelle also does humanitarian work – since her own diagnosis with diabetes in 1994, she served as a spokesperson for the American Diabetes Association. She is also a spokesperson for the National Cancer Institute. Both cancer and diabetes hit close to home for LaBelle, as she lost her mother, three sisters and best friend to those diseases. She also serves as a spokesperson for the National Minority AIDS Council.

According to the selection criteria for honorary degree recipients listed on Temple’s Executive Office of the President Web page, “Candidates are to be nominated on the basis of their life’s work and should exemplify professional, intellectual, humanitarian or artistic achievement and leadership.”

Morgan Zalot and Ashleigh Gray can be reached at

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