Actress Viola Davis will be featured at LMU’s commencement on July 31

By Kamala Kirk

Award-winning actress Viola Davis is the keynote speaker.

Loyola Marymount University will welcome award-winning actress Viola Davis as the keynote speaker for its 109th commencement exercises on Saturday, July 31.

The ceremony will be held at SoFi Stadium, and will honor and celebrate LMU’s undergraduate, graduate and LMU Loyola Law School Classes of 2020 and 2021.

Davis is a critically revered, award-winning actress in film, television and theater, known for her intriguing and groundbreaking roles.

She is the most Academy Award-nominated Black female actress, and has been named as one of the world’s most influential people twice by Time Magazine. In 2020, Davis was ranked ninth on the New York Times’ list of the 25 Greatest Actors of the 21st Century.

Most recently, Davis was honored with a Screen Actors Guild Award and nominated for an Academy Award in the category of Best Actress for her role in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” She was thrice nominated for her role as Annalise Keating on the hit ABC and Shondaland Drama, “How to Get Away with Murder,” and became the first African American to receive the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. The Screen Actors Guild honored her twice for the same role.

Davis also garnered Critics Choice, Golden Globe, SAG, BAFTA and an Academy Award in the category of Best Supporting Actress for her role in “Fences” for Paramount Pictures. She starred with Denzel Washington in the 2010 revival of the play on Broadway, and her performance earned her a Tony Award, as well as the Drama Critics’ Circle Award, Outer Critics Circle Award and Drama Desk Award.

Along with her husband, Julius Tennon, Davis founded JuVee Productions, which develops and produces entertainment content with an emphasis on narratives from a diverse range of emerging and established voices.

Davis is a graduate of Rhode Island College and The Juilliard School, and both institutions have further recognized her achievements with honorary doctorate degrees.

“Ms. Davis’ journey as an active and activist — filled with integrity and purpose — is one that we are eager to share with our students, faculty and LMU community, for it resonates with our mission and elevates our vision as a university with global reach and impact,”
said LMU President Timothy Law Snyder.