Loyola Marymount University will welcome award-winning actor Viola Davis as the keynote speaker for its 109th Commencement Exercises on July 31, 2021. The ceremony, to be held at SoFi Stadium, 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 actor of film, television, and theater known for her intriguing and groundbreaking roles. She’s a member of the elite group of actors who have achieved the triple-crown of acting – an Oscar, Emmy Award, and Tony Award. She’s also the most Academy Award-nominated Black female actor in history. Time Magazine twice named Davis one of the most influential people in the world, and in 2020, the New York Times ranked her 9th on its 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.” For her unforgettable role as Annalise Keating on the hit ABC and Shondaland drama, “How to Get Away with Murder,” Davis was thrice nominated 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 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 also starred with Denzel Washington in the 2010 revival of the play on Broadway. Her performance earned her a Tony Award, as well as the Drama Critics’ Circle Award, Outer Critics Circle Award, and Drama Desk Award.
Davis and her husband, Julius Tennon, founded JuVee Productions, which develops and produces entertainment content with an emphasis on narratives from a diverse range of emerging and established voices.
“Ms. Davis’ journey as actor 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, Ph.D.
Davis is a graduate of Rhode Island College and The Julliard School, and both institutions have further recognized her achievements with honorary doctorate degrees.