Washington has had major roles in numerous films, and has won Oscars for best actor in Training Day and best supporting actor in Glory. Washington most recently appeared in the film The Equalizer, directed by Antoine Fuqua. Last spring he appeared in the Broadway revival of A Raisin in the Sun, directed by Kenny Leon.
A native of Mount Vernon, New York, Washington is the oldest of three children. He had his career sights set on medicine but began acting while he was a student at Fordham University.
“He has been a supporter of our theater program — which happens to be the oldest HBCU Theater Program in the country — for the past ten years,” Dillard president Walter Kimbrough said in a statement. “Several Denzel Washington Scholars are candidates in this year’s graduating class and they will be ecstatic about having him as our speaker.”