Nick Cannon on why commencement speech to fellow 2020 grads was 'awkward' but 'unique'

Cannon graduated from Howard University with a bachelor's degree in criminology.

Nick Cannon made the best of a less than ideal situation when he delivered a virtual commencement speech to his fellow graduates in the Howard University class of 2020.

Cannon received his bachelor's degree in criminology from the historically black university in Washington, D.C. this year. But like many seniors graduating across the world this year, he didn't get to walk across a stage and accept his degree. Instead, he had the opportunity to speak at Howard's virtual graduation ceremony as students celebrated their accomplishments at home.

"It was awkward ... trying to give a commencement speech staring into a computer," Cannon said during his appearance on "The View" Wednesday. "This new norm of having to communicate without having that instant gratification of physical, present energy, for all of us has been quite unique."

"I tried to give passionate and authentic encouragement," Cannon continued. "I just tried to have a real connection with my fellow 2020 graduates to let them know that even in the midst of a pandemic, their achievements shouldn't be [slighted] ... or overlooked."

Cannon said that during the speech, he reassured his fellow graduates that he stands with them in this unknown journey of life during the pandemic.

"I am [the] class of 2020, and we're needed more than ever to the people who are focusing on education and being productive in today's new society," he said Wednesday.

Since he enrolled at Howard University in 2016, Cannon would travel from his home in Los Angeles to Washington, D.C. twice a week to study criminology and minor in African studies. He told "The View" co-hosts that "this is just the beginning of my academic journey."

"I always wanted to go to college. I've been in entertainment since I was a teenager, so college was always a goal," Cannon said. "As a father, I was like, I really got to do it at this point."

Now that Cannon has his bachelor's degree, he said his plan is to get his master's degree in psychology and eventually a Ph.D.

During his time isolating at home in California, Cannon has dedicated himself to reading two books a week, one for study and one for pleasure, including books from authors Maya Angelou and Deepak Chopra. Most recently, he said he read Donna Estes Antebi's "'The Real Secrets Women Only Whisper."

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