UNCF Remembers the Queen of Soul

Franklin was honored for her work with UNCF to provide deserving students with access to higher education, and for her activism and philanthropy on behalf of other causes.

Aretha Franklin, who passed away August 16, was the first female artist to receive UNCF’s Award of Excellence, presented during the 2006 “An Evening of Stars.”  Franklin was honored for her work with UNCF to provide deserving students with access to higher education, and for her activism and philanthropy on behalf of other causes.

The annual TV specials aired nationwide, and offered performances from some of the country’s biggest starts, to benefit UNCF’s scholarship efforts. Other Award of Excellence honorees include Lou Rawls, Quincy Jones, Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan, Smokey Robinson, Patti LaBelle, and Lionel Richie.

Franklin receives the UNCF Award of Excellence from Clive Davis, Smokey Robinson and Dr. Michael Lomax
Franklin receives the UNCF Award of Excellence from Clive Davis, Smokey Robinson and Dr. Michael Lomax

Michael L. Lomax, UNCF president and CEO, said in a statement that Franklin’s career “established a standard of excellence that exemplifies the educational distinction to which our member colleges are dedicated and to which they hold their students.”

Franklin, the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, won 18 Grammy Awards and is one of the best-selling musical artists of all time, having sold over 75 million records worldwide. Her hits included “Chain of Fools,” “Think” and “Respect.”

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