Legendary singer Cyndi Lauper delivers the keynote address at Northern Vermont University-Johnson's commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 18, 2019.
It was the 152nd commencement ceremony held on the Johnson Campus, but the first since the merger of Johnson State and Lyndon State College. More than 300 students walked across the stage to receive their diploma. Before it became official, award-winning musician Cyndi Lauper received an honorary doctorate and addressed the crowd. It was something of a homecoming for Lauper, who attended Johnson State in the 1970s. "When I came here I really felt I could learn how to become an artist, a great one, because of the beauty, because of the freedom," said Lauper. "And it was a relaxed thing here." The pop star never graduated from the Vermont school but said it influenced her career. "That helped me turn those compositions and what I had in my head into the album covers I made," said Lauper. Lauper said her road to success was never easy. She told the graduating class never to get down on themselves. "Life is going to give you a bad turn," said Lauper. "It's a test. And look at all the tests you passed just to get here." Her message was a hit with graduating seniors.