The Exonerated Five's Kevin Richardson Makes History With Honorary Degree


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Kevin Richardson, a member of the Exonerated Five, made history after receiving an honorary degree from his dream college, Syracuse University.

"To be recognized by the university, that's a very big deal," Richardson said. He became the first person in the school's history to receive an honorary undergraduate degree.

Richardson, along with Yusef Salaam, Corey Wise, Antron McCray, and Raymond Santana, spent several years in prison after being wrongfully convicted of rape in 1989. Their harrowing story and journey to exoneration is captured in Ava DuVernay's When They See Us on Netflix.

Richardson told WSYR he always dreamed of attending Syracuse while growing up in NYC. "I feel like I belong here, that I am really here," he said. "It feels good to come back two years later and see people actually. I dreamed of this as a kid, being 14."

In 2019, the university founded a scholarship in Richardson's honor called the Our Time Has Come Kevin Richardson Scholarship.

As a kid, Richardson said he loved basketball and music and said, "I always pictured myself with Syracuse." He called his degree a "blessing."

"My brothers, as the Exonerated Five, we rose from the pitfalls of hell. And to be here literally is a blessing and I don't take anything for granted," he said.

"To be recognized by the university, that's a really big deal," he added. "I brought my 13-year-old to witness it, to carry my legacy. So, to be the first of anything is a blessing and I'm extremely humbled by it."

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