T H E  C O L L E G E  O F  N E W  R O C H E L L E
98th Commencement Exercises
Honorary Degree Recipient


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C I C E L Y  T Y S O N

Award-winning Actress

Born in Harlem to parents from the Caribbean island of Nevis, Cicely Tyson is one of America’s most talented and versatile actresses on stage, screen, and television. Known for portraying strong, positive images of Black women, Ms. Tyson acted in Off-Broadway productions before her big break as “Portia” in The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (1968). Four years later, she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her sensational breakthrough performance in the critically acclaimed film Sounder (1972). In 1974, she went on to portray a 110-year-old former slave in The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman (1974), a TV role which earned her two Emmys - making her the first African American actress to win an Emmy award for Outstanding Lead Actress.

Ms. Tyson’s other memorable television roles have been in Roots (1977), King (1978, as Coretta Scott King), The Marva Collins Story (1981), When No One Would Listen (1992), and Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All (1994). Her feature credits include The River Niger (1975), The Blue Bird (1976), A Hero Ain't Nothin' But a Sandwich (1978), The Concorde-Airport '79 (1979), and Bustin' Loose (1981). She returned to movies in a supporting role in Fried Green Tomatoes (1992).  Ms. Tyson also co-founded the Dance Theatre of Harlem with Arthur Mitchell.


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