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Award-winning actress Courtney B. Vance AB '82 named guest speaker for Harvard Alumni Day

Award-winning actress Courtney B. Vance AB '82 named guest speaker for Harvard Alumni Day


Known for his compelling and powerful performances on stage and screen, award-winning actor, producer and writer Courtney B. Vance AB '82 will be the featured speaker at Harvard Alumni Day, the annual celebration of the global alumni community students across the University. Alumni Association (HAA). The event will take place at Harvard Yard on May 31 and will also be livestreamed for those who cannot attend in person.

I am delighted to welcome Courtney B. Vance back to Harvard,” said Tracy Ty Moore II AB ’06, HAA Alumni President. An empathetic and creative genius, he captivates audiences with his realistic and nuanced portrayals of interesting public figures, and he brings fiction to life. characters with honesty and depth. But his impact extends beyond his brilliant artistic talent. By strengthening the lives and careers of her fellow artists and giving back to the community, Courtney demonstrates how Harvard alumni can uplift others in ways that are meaningful and aligned with their values.

Born in Detroit, he graduated from Harvard while working as an actor at the Boston Shakespeare Company. While studying for his MFA at the Yale School of Drama, he met Angela Bassett, now his wife and an award-winning actress herself. They have two children, founded Bassett Vance Productions, and work with many community organizations, such as UNICEF, Habitat for Humanity, and the American Foundation for AIDS Research.

I am very excited to come home to Harvard and see my alumni family,” Vance said. And having the opportunity to speak to the Harvard community is an honor. I'm looking forward to what I know will be a wonderful day.

Courtney B. Vance with her family as she entered Harvard University in 1982.

Throughout his acclaimed career spanning more than 40 years, Vance has played a wide range of characters, both real and fictional, demonstrating remarkable versatility. He won several awards for his portrayal of Johnnie Cochran on FX. The People vs. OJ Simpson: American Crime Storyincluding Emmy, Critics Choice and NAACP Image Awards, in addition to Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and Golden Globe nominations. His role as Uncle George on HBO Lovecraft Country earned him an Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor and his portrayal of Aretha Franklin's father, Reverend CL Franklin, in the National Geographics series. Genius: Aretha won an NAACP Image Award. His film roles include Hamburger Hill, Hunting for Red October, The Tuskegee Airmen, The Preacher's WifeAnd Isle of Dogs.

Vances' stage accolades include a Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in Nora Ephrons A lucky guyas well as Tony nominations for his debut performance in August Wilsons Fences and for his main performance in Six DEGREES OF SEPARATION. He was also nominated for a Grammy for his narration of Neil DeGrasse's book Tyson. War accessory.

In addition to his artistic work, he chairs the SAG-AFTRA Foundation, which provides educational resources to individuals pursuing careers in all facets of the performing arts, and directs the Entertainment Industry Council, which supports artists throughout throughout their career. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he helped orchestrate a fundraising effort that distributed more than $6.1 million to more than 6,500 SAG-AFTRA artists and their families. He is also an ambassador for the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.

Recently, Vance wrote Invisible Pain: Black Men Identify Their Pain and Reclaim Their Powera deeply personal reflection on issues of grief, relationships, identity, and race that provides a framework for black men facing mental health challenges.

We are thrilled to have Courtney B. Vance join us and speak on Alumni Day,” says HAA Executive Director Sarah C. Karmon. An accomplished actor, producer and philanthropist, he embodies creativity and the importance of giving back. Through his work on and off screen, he demonstrates how one person's talents can make a difference. We look forward to hearing his ideas.

Harvard Alumni Day will take place on campus and virtually for those who cannot join in person on May 31. All Harvard alumni from across the University are invited to attend. For more information and to register, visit




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