View Cyndi Lauper's Commencement Speech
Performer and activist Cyndi Lauper will be the keynote speaker at Northern Vermont University-Johnson's commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 18, 2019. Lauper, who attended Johnson State College in 1973 and 1974, will also receive a Doctor of Letters Honorary Degree (Litt.D) at the ceremony.
Lauper is a groundbreaking Grammy, Emmy, and Tony Award-winning songwriter and performing artist with global record sales in excess of 50 million. Her iconic voice, influential punk glamour, and infectious live shows have catapulted her to stardom. Lauper won the Grammy Award for Best New Artist with her first album, She's So Unusual, and became the first woman in history to have four top-five singles from a debut album. Since then, Lauper has released ten additional studio albums, yielding timeless classics like “Time After Time” and “True Colors,” and the anthemic “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” She’s been nominated for 15 Grammy Awards, two American Music Awards, seven American Video Awards, and 18 MTV Awards. In 2013, Cyndi Lauper became the first solo woman to win Best Original Score (music and lyrics) for Kinky Boots. She contributed a Tony-nominated song to the score of the Broadway musical SpongeBob SquarePants and is currently writing the score for the Broadway adaptation of the 1988 feature film Working Girl. A pillar of
female success, Lauper was inducted to the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2015, released a New York Times best-selling memoir, and continues to collect impressive accolades across the music industry and beyond. In 2018, Lauper designed and launched a sold-out Home Decor Collection with Grandin Road and added a guest starring role on CBS’ hit TV show Magnum PI to her acting resume. She closed out 2018 by receiving the “Icon Award” from Billboard at its 13th annual Women In Music event and brought down the house with a rousing tribute to Cher at Kennedy Center Honors.
In addition, Lauper is tireless in her advocacy work. She has been an activist since day one, always fighting for the underdog - especially women, people living with HIV/AIDS, and LGBTQ people. Her commitment runs so deep that she started her own charity, the True Colors Fund in 2008 to bring an end to homelessness amongst LGBTQ youth.