Hip hop artist and Long Beach City College alumnus Ahmad Ali Lewis is scheduled to deliver the keynote address at his alma mater tomorrow in front of nearly 500 students who will walk during the 2017 Commencement Ceremony, college officials announced.
Lewis, known for his classic chart-topping song “Back in the Day”, graduated from LBCC as class valedictorian in 2008. He then transferred to Stanford University on scholarship and received a bachelor’s degree in sociology in 2010 and last month earned a master’s degree in social work and a pupil personnel services credential.
“The LBCC community is thrilled to welcome back Ahmad Lewis as our commencement speaker,” said LBCC President Dr. Reagan Romali in a statement. “His amazing journey exemplifies the best of what LBCC has to offer and how far our Viking graduates can go in life.”
Lewis rose to fame at age 17 as a rap artist and went to co-found 4th Avenue Jones, which released several albums and toured internationally with the likes of Stevie Wonder, The Black Eyed Peas and Sheryl Crow.
Now the 41-year-old works with children, youth and families as a clinical social worker as well as recording new songs and writing a self-help book chronicling his experiences in the music industry and academia, officials stated. In 2010, he launched We Celebrate Life+People, a Los Angeles-based organization dedicated to empowering communities through partnerships that support entrepreneurship, education and advocacy.
Additionally, this year’s valedictorian will be Jennifer Hicks who, after overcoming a life of addiction, is graduating with a 4.0 GPA, according to college officials. Hicks served on the Associated Student Body cabinet as the representative of student services for two terms. She was also voted Most Outstanding and Most Inspirational member by her peers during her first term. Through the Gamma Sigma Kappa Honor Society she devoted much of her time to volunteering, earning her a bronze medal from the U.S. president.
The ceremony will take place at Veterans Memorial Stadium at 4:00PM on Thursday, June 8. College officials encourage attendees to use the hashtag #Vikings2017 in social media posts now through the end of the ceremony to participate in the displays on the big screens adjacent to the stage.
The Veterans Memorial Stadium is located on Long Beach City College’s Liberal Arts Campus, at 4901 East Carson Street.
Above, left photo courtesy of LBCC.