The U.S. attorney general and a legendary musician were among those who made an appearance - and received honorary degrees - at the Spelman College commencement on Sunday.
Loretta E. Lynch, America’s top law enforcement officer and the first African-American woman to be confirmed as attorney general of the United States shared her inspiring story and words of wisdom with 483 graduates of the Spelman College class of 2016 on Sunday at the Georgia International Convention Center in Atlanta.
"I see more than 480 strong and motivated young women who already decided to use their choices to change the world," Lynch said.
During the speech, Lynch also spoke of the very challenges that these graduates will face as they move into the world - and the issues the world is already facing.
"We have ethnic strife across the globe; we have the largest wave of refugees into Europe since World War II," she said. "With an attendant rise in xenophobia and ethnic hatred that pulls at our darkest memories."
Lynch also touched on global warming and the country's national security threats. She also touched on the country's internal strife.
"We have the challenges of building and strengthening the bonds of trust between law enforcement and the community," she said. "And that is not a small task."
She went on to say that the protection of the sacred right to vote "is not something we will ever drop" and vowed to continue the fight against discrimination.
"We still have too many instances in this beautiful country of ours where our friends, our family suffer discrimination and harm because of where their from because of what they look like, because of where they worship, because of whom they love or because of something as profoundly simple and private as where they use a restroom."
A native of Greensboro, N.C., Lynch is the 83rd attorney general. She was nominated by President Barack Obama in 2014 and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in April 2015.
Both she and famed singer Stevie Wonder received honorary degrees at the event.
The school cited Wonder as one of the most important musical artists of the late twentieth century.
And with 49 Top Forty singles, 25 Grammy Awards, a Golden Globe, an Academy Award and more than 100 million records sold worldwide, it's a fitting title.
But as many may know, his career and actions haven't ended at his music.
He is also the youngest recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors, is a Commander of France's National Order of Arts and Letters and has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Songwriters Hall of Fame, the NAACP Hall of Fame, and the Apollo Theatre Hall of Fame.
Wonder has received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and he is a designated U.N. Messenger of Peace with special focus on persons with disabilities.
In addition, he was instrumental in the campaign to make Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday a national holiday.
Officials with the school said Wonder continues to be a pivotal influence in U.S. and world events, demonstrating the activism that has made him a vital voice for social progress and world harmony.