*(Los Angeles, CA) — The next time you address EURweb’s Lee Bailey, you can add “doctor” to his name as he was among several notables who received honorary doctorate degrees from Next Dimension University on Saturday, August 17, 2019. The Rancho Cucamonga, CA-based Black-owned Bible college had its commencement exercises at the prestigious West Angeles Cathedral in Los Angeles.
In addition to honoring people in ministry, this year the university included several media and entertainment veterans. R&B and Shalamar legend Dr. Howard Hewett, actresses Dr. Marla Gibbs of “227” and “The Jeffersons” fame and Dr. Dawnn Lewis of “A Different World” and “Veronica Mars,” Stellar Award winning gospel music artists Dr. Kurt Carr and Dr. Maurette Brown Clark were also conferred honorary doctorate degrees.
Dr. Bailey, a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania native, began his radio career in the early 70s, after serving in the US Air Force. His doctorate degree is in Humane Letters. He has hosted and produced numerous shows including the internationally syndicated broadcast, “Radioscope.” Dubbed “the entertainment magazine of the air,” the signature show became the go-to media outlet for breaking urban entertainment stories and music. “Purple Rain,” Prince’s 1984 landmark movie soundtrack, was first heard on “Radioscope.” In the early 90s the show received multiple nominations for best nationally distributed program at the Billboard Radio Awards.
In addition to entertainment and music, Dr. Bailey has produced several radio documentaries including the wildly popular, “King: From Atlanta to the Mountaintop,” which chronicles the life and death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
In 1997, he launched the Electronic Urban Report, aka (EUR), which has become a staple of urban entertainment, globally.
9-times Emmy and Golden Mike Award-winning journalist and TV/radio host, Dr. Eric Chambers, is the vice-chair of Next Dimension University’s honorary doctoral nominating committee. He recommended Dr. Bailey for bestowment. “I have been a fan of Dr. Bailey’s work since my Navy days in San Diego in the early 80s. And when I got to know him personally covering various red carpets in Hollywood, I became a bigger fan,” says Dr. Chambers. “He is a respected living legend and I thought now was the time to give him his flowers while he lives—so to speak. He has earned this honor.”
Dr. Chambers himself was conferred an honorary doctorate in 2013 and is usually given the task of recruiting and delivering degrees to such high profile ministry people like Dr.Yolanda Adams, Dr. Fred Hammond, Dr. Randall Cunningham and Dr. Vanessa Bell Armstrong in past years. And this year, Dr. Carr, Dr. Lewis, Dr. Hewett and Dr. Brown Clark are among his nominees. “The Lord impressed upon my heart to do something different in 2019,” he said from his office in North Orange County, CA. “Like Harriet Tubman, I decided to go back and get some of my own radio and entertainment people and have them conferred. Each has a stellar body of work.”
In addition, he also nominated Dr. Delores Thompson, formerly of KJLH Radio in LA, and currently with KBLX in Oakland, Dr. William Tayari Howard, a 47-year radio veteran in San Diego, and Dr. Sheilah Belle, a radio personality and gospel entertainment guru in Richmond, VA, and Dr. Larry M. Thompson, another San Diego radio legend. All were blessed and honored to have their names submitted for degrees. “There is plenty of room at the cross for others who are making a powerful difference in media and society,” said Dr. Chambers. “Rather than being selfish with my honor, I felt compelled to go back for others who are worthy.”
The legendary Dr. Frederick K. C. Price was honored and Bishop Kenneth Ulmer, pastor of Faithful Central Bible Church of Inglewood, CA was the commencement speaker of the NDU graduation. “We are stomping out Biblical illiteracy—globally, and our commencement exercise is a way to recruit people to our Bible university and prepare them to become master teachers, confronting the evils of the world—with the Word,” said Dr. Joel McLeod, the chancellor and founder. His message to the honorees and graduates is, “You’ll look back. You’ll come back. And you’ll give back to your alma mater.” It is a reminder that NDU wants each graduate to stay connected and support the university just as alumni continue to give back to such institutions as Harvard, Howard, UCLA or USC.
While most received their degrees on Saturday, Dr. Hewett picked up his honorary doctorate during a special Sunday service at New Life Baptist Church in Spring Valley, CA because he was booked in concert on the East Coast the night of the graduation. “I’m excited to join my fellow honorary doctoral graduates,” he said. “This is an amazing achievement in my life.”
Oxford University in England conferred the first-ever honorary doctorate degree in 1478 to Dr. Lionel Woodville. And Harvard University bestowed the first American honorary doctorate in 1692 to Puritan bishop, Dr. Increase Mather, the university’s president.
Other notables with honorary doctorates past and present include President Nelson Mandela, Dr. Oprah Winfrey, Dr. Denzel Washington, Dr. Magic Johnson, Dr. Maya Angelou, and Dr. Albert Einstein. Ministry notables include the late Dr. Billy Graham, Dr. Robert Schuller, and Dr. Jerry Falwell, and current ministers, Dr. Benny Hinn, Dr. Rod Parsley, Dr. Mike Murdock, Dr. Marilyn Hickey, Dr. TD Jakes and Dr. Fred Price.
For more information about the Bible university, visit NextDimensionUniversity.com.