Oprah tells class of 2023 to follow ‘still, small voice’
May 6, 2023 -NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Oprah Winfrey delighted graduates at her alma mater Tennessee State University on Saturday, telling the story of how she fell one credit short of graduating as she launched the media career that would make her a household name.
Giving the commencement address at the historically Black university, Winfrey recalled that she was living with her father in East Nashville while attending college, helping out in his store, and presenting the weekend news at a Black radio station. That’s where the lead anchor of the local CBS television affiliate heard her voice. He called her at school to ask if she wanted a job.
“I said, ‘No sir. TV? Not really, sir, because my father says I have to finish school, and school is just too important,’” Winfrey recalled.
She then went back to class and related the conversation to her scene design professor who “looked at me as if I didn’t have the brains that God gave lettuce,” Winfrey said.
He spoke to her father, and Winfrey took the job. Beginning the second semester of her sophomore year, Winfrey arranged to finish her classes by 2:00 p.m. so she could work at the television station from 2:30 to 10:30 and be home by her father’s 11:00 p.m. curfew