One of “The Exonerated Five” Honored at Syracuse University, Might Get Honorary Degree

Kevin Richardson, one of “The Exonerated Five” was honored at Syracuse University with a benefit reception and the announcement of a scholarship in his name.

Richardson was part of a group of Black and Latino teenagers previously called the “Central Park Five:” Korey Wise, Antron McCray, Raymond Santana, Kevin Richardson and Yusef Salaam. They were wrongly convicted of raping a woman jogging in Central Park in 1989. Richardson was only 14 years old at the time. They were exonerated in 2002, when the real rapist admitted to the crime.

At Syracuse University, community members welcomed Richardson to a reception at the Community Folk Art Center on September 8. The reception was in his honor for the Our Time Has Come Scholarship at SU, which supports underrepresented students. At the reception, SU announced the Kevin Richardson Fund, which will be part of the Our Time Has Come program,the Daily Orange reported.

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“It’s surreal,” Richardson said moments before he was honored. “Just being here and being 44 and having that dream at (age) 14, and now I’m here. It’s mind-blowing… My mother always told me that one day the truth will come out. I am so thrilled that she is alive to be able to see it.”

Richardson was honored in part because he told Oprah Winfrey about his interest in SU and how he had always wanted to attend it as a kid and play trumpet in the marching band. When SU political science major senior Jalen Nash saw the interview with Winfrey, Nash created an online petition to give Richardson an honorary degree.

The petition has nearly 6,000 signatures, but SU has not indicated whether he will receive a degree. The process to get an honorary degree can take several months or up to a few years.

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