After graduating in 2000 with a bachelor’s degree in vocal studies, winning American Idol, releasing a platinum-selling debut album and four successful studio follow-ups, Ruben Studdard has returned to the place where it all started— Alabama A&M University.
The Velvet Teddy Bear announced on Friday that he was awarded a Master’s Degree from his alma mater. Wearing a cap and gown, Studdard beamed with joy in an Instagram photo captioned, “Today I received a Master of Arts Degree from My School Alabama A&M University!!! I’m super happy and proud to be a Bulldog #AAMU.”
The American Idol winner also reminisced about his days as a student at the university, as he shared a snapshot of himself seated in a lecture hall.
“I took a trip down memory lane tonight. I learned so much in this room. Words can’t even describe how much The Hill #AAMU means to me!! #mrtuckerskids,” he wrote.
No doubt Studdard was feeling nostalgic. Alabama A&M is where his career began. The youngest son of two teachers, Studdard began singing in church as a child. A football scholarship led him to AAMU where he joined the Omicron Delta chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, the men’s music fraternity of America. At the university, he also became a member of a popular local Birmingham jazz and R&B band called Just a Few Cats. Studdard had been working towards a music career, recording demos, when one of the band’s back-up singers asked him to accompany her to the American Idol season 2 auditions in Nashville.
The Alabama native is just the most recent crooner to share his success in education. In October, R&B singer Lloyd took to Instagram to share that he had enrolled in a GED course, the fulfillment of a promise he made himself when he was a teenager on his way to signing a record deal.
“When I moved to New York to sign my first record deal, I promised my 17-year-old self that I would return to school to finish my education. I am neither ashamed nor embarrassed to say that I’ve taken my first step towards that goal,” he wrote under a photo of him studying.
The “You” singer added that he was determined to go back to school to show himself and others that “there is no shame nor regret to be had or felt when you are making a conscience effort to become a better you.”
On December 3, he posted a photo of himself holding a certificate, announcing that he had received his GED. Lloyd thanked his fans for their support in a touching message.
“I try not to sound generic, but I really do love and wish the best for everyone I meet here, and I want them to know how much it means to me that they have taken just a little time out of their day to write me. I want to say ‘thank you’ to you for your enthusiasm and love, not just towards me, but towards music culture and each other as a whole. I hope this message reaches you all in kind, for if it weren’t for your love I’m not sure what I’d do, or where I’d be,” he wrote.
A big congratulations is in order for both Studdard and Lloyd. The value that they have placed on education even after achieving success in the music industry is laudable, to say the least. And with First Lady Michelle Obama just releasing her new rap video for “Go to College,” encouraging young people to seek higher learning, both singers are inspirational roles models and shining examples that it’s never too late to achieve or enjoy an education.
Sometimes, I don't even know what to say to people. In fact, it's not that I don't know what to say, it's that I don't where to start. I do know how to start though. As imply thank you could suffice. I'd get so many messages of love, gratitude, and encouragement from people on here and in my immediate circle everyday. Often I am overwhelmed by it and I have a hard time responding accordingly. I try not to sound generic, but I really do love and wish the best for everyone I meet here, and I want them to know how much it means to me that they have taken just a little time out of their day to write me. I want to say thank you to you for your enthusiasm and love, not just towards me, but towards music culture and each other as a whole. I hope this message reaches you all in kind, for if it weren't for your love I'm not sure what I'd do, or where I'd be. #GEDflow #Appreciation #finishwhatyoustart #youcandoit