By Brian W. Carter
Sentinel Staff Writer
This is graduation month, and commencement ceremonies are being held all over the nation. It is a special time for celebration when someone completes his or her education. Artel Great graduated summa cum laude from the UCLA School of Theatre, Film and Television on June 11.
Great was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois where he graduated and entered college at the age of 16. He left college and came to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career by landing several roles in films including Light It Up and Save the Last Dance.
He has also had the fortune of appearing in high profile films like Oprah Winfrey’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, The Solosist and his notable, nominated performance in Dahmer.
After 10 years, Great returned to college to finish his degree and he was accepted into the UCLA film program. His focus was on directing and screenwriting following in the footsteps of Francis Ford Coppola, Jim Morrison and Tim Robbins.
While at UCLA, he managed to maintain no less than a 4.0 GPA. Great has been an exceptional student with an unblemished record. He completed his four-year degree within two years during his course of studies.
Great has been offered admission into the highly competitive Master’s Program in an effort to keep him at UCLA. He has intentions of pursuing a doctorate in media studies to look into the social effects of the media’s portrayal of “Blackness” in film and television.
Great is a fitting last name for the young, talented future writer/director. He’s an example of perseverance, dedication and hard work and all the fruits that come from his labors. Great is doing ‘great’ things and the community no doubt feels proud as it looks to hear from this future celebrity. Congratulations Artel Great!
Upon deeper investigation, it seems Great is one in a line of Black valedictorians to graduate from the prestigious university.Â
Ralph Johnson Bunche was another Black valedictorian who graduated summa cum laude from UCLA in 1927. Bunche was an American political scientist and diplomat who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1950 for his mediation in Palestine in the 1940s. He was the first Black to be honored with the Prize in history.