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HAMMOND – Southeastern Louisiana University will honor its most acclaimed alumnus, ABC's "Good Morning America" co-anchor Robin Roberts, with an honorary doctorate at its spring commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 17.
Scheduled for 10 a.m. at the University Center, the institution will recognize approximately 1,200 students who are graduating with bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees.
The honorary degree for Roberts was approved last year by Southeastern's governing body, the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors.
"Robin has been a tremendous treasure for Southeastern, and we are proud to confer upon her this honorary doctoral degree," said university President John L. Crain. "Her personal and professional achievements have made her a true role model. She is one of the university's foremost advocates and ambassadors."
A 1983 communication graduate and former basketball star, she learned her basic broadcasting skills as a student-athlete working at the university's KSLU radio station and as the part time sports director at Hammond's local radio stations. She entered the broadcasting field upon graduation and eventually joined ESPN, hosting "SportsCenter" and contributing regularly to "NFL Primetime." She joined the "Good Morning America" team in 2005.
Named Southeastern's Distinguished Alumna of the Year in 1996, the Pass Christian, Miss., native has also been inducted into Southeastern's Athletics Hall of Fame and the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame by the WNBA. In 2006, she was named one of the NCAA's "100 Most Influential Student-Athletes" in conjunction with the NCAA Centennial Celebration. Southeastern Athletics retired her jersey in 2011 with a ceremony in the University Center.
Roberts, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007, has been honored for her efforts to call attention to the disease, receiving awards from the Susan G. Koman Foundation and the Congressional Families Cancer Prevention Program. She is the author of several books, including "From the Heart: Seven Rules to Live By" and "My Story, My Song: Mother-Daughter Reflections on Life and Faith," co-written with her late mother Lucimarian Roberts and Missy Bucanan.
In 2011, Roberts underwent a bone marrow transplant to treat myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), a disease also known as pre-leukemia. In her honor, Southeastern students embarked on a year-long program to educate the public and recruit potential bone marrow donors for patients diagnosed with leukemia and other life-threatening blood diseases. The program, called "Swabbin' 4 Robin," recruited a university record number of potential bone marrow donors for the non-profit organization Be the Match.