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Legendary singer Lionel Richie was honored with an Award of Excellence by the United Negro College Fund on Saturday night.

Celebrities such as Natalie Cole, Stevie Wonder, Akon, Katharine McPhee and comedian Cedric the Entertainer attended the 31st annual An Evening of Stars event, held at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium.

“[Richie] is a national treasure and we’re proud to claim him, not only as a graduate of our storied member school, Tuskegee University, but as an artist of international renown and longtime supporter of UNCF and the work we do to make sure that every child in America gets an education that starts in preschool and doesn’t end until college graduation,” said UNCF’s CEO Michael L. Lomax.

“It is such an honor to receive this award from UNCF,” said Lionel Richie. "I am a product of a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) and that experience has had a tremendous influence on my life. I understand the importance of a college education and the impact it can have on our children and our nation. I am honored to join stars like Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Lou Rawls, Quincy Jones, Smokey Robinson and Patti LaBelle who have received UNCF’s Award of Excellence and who support UNCF and its students."

The event will air nationwide on January 23rd and 24th, 2010 on BET Networks and WGN and on more than 40 stations in major cities.

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