It pays to have friends in high places.
That's what the 2009 graduating class of Duke University must have been thinking when Oprah Winfrey arrived at the ceremony to give a commencement address, as well as collect an honorary doctorate degree.
One possible reason for her appearance? Oprah's godson, and BFF Gayle King's son, William Bumpus, was among the 4,440 Duke graduates. Not that he is quick to brag about his Winfrey connection. Joked the Harpo big-wig, "Will never wants people to know he knows me. I'm like his crazy aunt that they let out at commencements."
Funny business aside, Winfrey provided sage advice and encouragement to the grads. "One of the best ways to enhance your own life is to enhance somebody else's," she said. "Each of us has to stand in our own shoes. Will you stand in them in humility and compassion and courage? Every day will give you a chance to make that choice." Winfrey was even generous enough to share her secret of success. "How can I help somebody else move to higher ground? That is success. That's it."
Not to be outdone by the mogul, Jimmy Fallon and Dolly Parton were also honored with degrees this weekend. Nearly fifteen years after leaving college to pursue his comedy career, Fallon completed his final semester and earned his bachelor's degree in communications. Parton also collected an honorary doctorate of humane and musical letters. Teased the country music legend, "Just think, I am Dr. Dolly."