*(Los Angeles, CA) Gospel music legend Vanessa Bell Armstrong can now add “Dr.” in front of her name after receiving an honorary doctorate degree in theology from Next Dimension University, a Southern California based Bible college. The event took place at the West Angeles Cathedral in Los Angeles on Saturday, August 20, 2017.
Chancellor Joel McLeod, the founder of the Black owned university presented Dr. Armstrong her degree after she sang a crowd stirring rendition of her classic, “Good News.” She was overwhelmed with joy upon receiving the degree. “This is so awesome. Iʼm humbled that someone thought enough of my work to honor me in this way,” says the Detroit native and seven-time Grammy nominee. “In 2014 I lost my mother and my only son within a nine month span and there were times I felt like giving up. The good news is I didnʼt.”
Chancellor McLeod and the staff were thrilled Dr. Armstrong flew to LA from Houston to receive her degree. “She has been a favorite and a consummate ministry professional for a long time. Everybody loves her music. Iʼm just happy we were able to add this special acknowledgment as she goes forward,” said the chancellor.
Other notables who also received honorary doctorates at the commencement exercises includes Donald Lawrence, Erica and Tina Campbell of Mary Mary fame, their husbands Warryn Campbell and Teddy Campbell, Beau Williams, Angie Stone, Phil and Brenda Nicholas.
“Itʼs an honor to be honored in any capacity but to be given a doctorate of theology for just being a vessel is an honor for just saying ʻyesʼ to the Lord,” said Warryn Campbell, who co-founded the California Worship Center in North Hollywood with his wife Erica. “Some of us have been working in the vineyards for 20 to 30 years without any recognition. So itʼs awesome that the university would recognize us like this,” he told Dr. Eric J. Chambers of TheCUTNetwork.com in an interview after the graduation. “I want to thank Chancellor McLeod and the university. Iʼm going to wear it well, and proud. Emotionally itʼs still surreal. I still have to look at it and pinch myself. This is overwhelming that someone thought this much of me. Iʼm full. Iʼm really full right now. Itʼs also an amazing experience to receive this with my wife of 17 years. Itʼs been a long time weʼve been working and co-laboring together, so I say congratulations to her too.”
Music executive Walter W. Milsapp, III was also an honorary doctoral recipient and offered, “God is so amazing, so good. Itʼs been a long journey. I donʼt take the mission lightly. I have a responsibility to further the gospel and the kingdom daily, so it feels great.” And singer Angie Stone said, “Iʼm grateful because God makes good on his promises. This is confirmation of my work.”
This event was the universityʼs decennial celebration of 10 years in existence as dozens of graduates received associates, bachelors, master of divinity, doctor of ministry and doctor of philosophy in religious studies degrees. “Iʼm just trying to address the subject of both academic and biblical literacy, but Iʼve discovered a lot of people in church come to the Bible college who canʼt read! These are pastors and deacons having issues with reading,” says Chancellor McLeod, a native of Costa Rica who was raised in Brooklyn, NY. “So we champion the cause to deal with illiteracy, period. But before we get people to read the Bible, weʼve got to get people to know how to read.
And if you donʼt know how to interpret text, youʼre going to mislead a lot of people.”
To learn more about the Next Dimension University, which in 2015 bestowed honorary doctorates on Dr. Yolanda Adams, Dr. Fred Hammond and Dr. Judy Jacobs, visit www.NextDimensionUniversity.com.