Oprah Winfrey, who created a media and philanthropic empire, urged more than 550 graduates at the historically black college for women to strive for excellence and make service the focus of their lives. And she told them to remember the sacrifices of generations of ancestors whose blood and hard work paved the way for their accomplishments.

“Never forget that you did not do this by yourself,” Winfrey told the graduates and their families at Spelman’s 125thcommencement ceremony. “You come here today trailing the breath of the ancestors and of the angels.”

It was a banner day for two Atlanta historically black colleges. Earlier Sunday, more than 500 men graduated from Morehouse College.

At the Georgia International Convention Center, Winfrey cited three keys to success.

First, she urged graduates to know themselves and what they want. “My answer is, I am God’s child,” Winfrey said.

“You must have some kind of vision for your life, even if you don’t have a plan,” she said.

Winfrey also told graduates to find a way to serve and to always do the right thing.

“Do the right thing, even when other people think it may not be,” she said.

Winfrey parlayed an early career in local broadcasting into the highest-rated talk show in television history, “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” Later she founded her own studio and cable network. Read More