Tracee Ellis Ross is officially a Spelmanite! The historically Black, women’s college awarded her an honorary degree during their 136th Commencement ceremony.  Spelman announced about a month ago that Ross would receive an honorary doctorate. Students nominated the actress, and the Spelman Board of Trustees voted for her. After the news release, Ross shared how excited she was to join the Spelman sisterhood. Ross celebrated the occasion with a light-hearted video announcing she had become a Spelmanite.


I became a #Spelmanite today and it was awesome! Thank you @SpelmanCollege and #DrHeleneGayle for bestowing me with such an honor. Congratulations to the Class of 2023! It was really special to be robed with you. And thank you #NikoleHannahJones your powerful words.

♬ original sound – Tracee Ellis Ross
Via TikTok: Tracee Ellis Ross

Later in the video, followers can see Ross’ smile light up the stage as she accepts her honorary degree. She provided a powerful message to the graduates at the event.

“Make space for yourself, for your whole self,” she said. “Your joy, your power, your fear, your loneliness, your insecurities, your pleasure, your passion, your dreams. Let there be space for all of it. In the private moments when you meet yourself, allow all of you to be present without judgment.”

Honoring Impact

Spelman College awarded the actress and entrepreneur an honorary degree because of her impact in the entertainment world honoring Black women. With over three decades in the entertainment business, Ross has played some of Black television’s most iconic characters. Those roles include Joan from “Girlfriends,” and Dr. Rainbow Johnson on “Black-ish.” Other hats she’s worn include being a producer for “Hair Tales” and the CEO of her haircare line PATTERN Beauty. Now, Ross can add Spelmanite to her list of accolades. She joins a list of other notable Black women who received honorary degrees from HBCUs through the years, including Missy Elliott and Naomi Campbell.

Nikole Hannah-Jones, a Pulitzer Prize winner and creator of the 1619th Project, delivered the address during the commencement speech during the joyous moment. Congratulations to Spelman’s Class of 2023 and Tracee Ellis Ross.