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George Clinton, Emanuel Cleaver headline Clinton College’s graduation in Rock Hill

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{child_flags:top_story}George Clinton, Emanuel Cleaver headline Clinton College’s graduation in Rock Hill

{child_byline}By Lamaur Stancil

lstancil@postandcourier.com{/child_byline}

ROCK HILL — He’s best known for ”Flashlight,” “Atomic Dog,” and “One Nation Under A Groove.”

But when funk star George Clinton entered the sanctuary at the Kenneth Monroe Transformation Center in Rock Hill on April 3, the tune was “Pomp and Circumstance.”

Clinton was there, along with 18 Clinton College graduates, to receive his honorary doctorate of humane letters from the historically Black institution co-founded by his great-great-grandfather in 1894.

“I am sure he would be proud I have been granted this honor,” Clinton said on the podium, discussing the late Bishop Isom Caleb Clinton. “But he would be even prouder if I were among you who have completed your education and furthered the purpose of this institution.”

Along with the traditional black graduation gown and white stole, Clinton brought his legendary fashion sense to the event with a brown top hat adorned with a large feather on the side, camouflaged sweat pants and a multicolored pair of sneakers.

The funk musician rose to fame in the 1970s with his bands Parliament and Funkadelic, then returned to prominence in the 1990s when emerging rap and hip-hop artists either sampled many of his songs or collaborated with him.

Clinton College, located at 1029 Crawford Road, offers four-year degrees in business administration, natural science and religious studies.

The commencement also featured U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Missouri, as the keynote speaker. Cleaver was a late addition to the program, school officials said. He replaced U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., who was originally set to speak at the ceremony. Instead, Clinton faculty learned earlier this week that the White House was awarding Clyburn the Presidential Medal of Freedom that same day, forcing him to cancel.

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