Sterling K. Brown is an American actor best known for portraying Randall Pearson in the NBC mega-hit ‘This Is Us.’ Brown has received numerous awards for the role, including an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series and three consecutive nominations for that category. He also made history as the first African American actor to win a Golden Globe Award for ‘Best Performance by an Actor in a Drama Series' in the award show’s 75-year history. After starting his career on stage, Brown transitioned to the screen, where he has made numerous guest appearances in popular TV shows like ‘Hack,’ ‘ER,’ 'NYPD Blue,’ 'JAG,’ ‘Boston Legal,’ ‘Alias,’ 'Without a Trace,’ ‘The Good Wife,’ ‘NCIS,’ and ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine.’ Additionally, Brown has garnered significant recognition for his performances in films like ‘Black Panther’ and ‘Hotel Artemis.’ A Missouri native, Brown studied at Stanford University before earning a Master of Fine Arts degree from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. In 2018, Brown was included in TIME magazine’s list of the 100 Most Influential People in the world.
Attending Stanford University was undoubtedly a formative experience for the award-winning actor, who initially wanted to major in economics so that he could work in business. During his freshman year, Brown discovered his unlikely passion for acting through portraying Joe Turner in August Wilson’s play 'Joe Turner’s Come and Gone.' He found that acting allowed him to illuminate the human condition, ultimately giving his life a greater sense of purpose. Having been bitten by the acting bug, Brown abruptly changed his major, and in 1988 he graduated from Stanford with a Bachelor of Arts in drama.
As one of Stanford's high-profile alumni, Brown has retained a strong connection to the place where he found his footing in the world of drama. In 2018, University leaders announced that Brown was selected to be the keynote speaker at Stanford's 127th commencement. Taking the podium, the Emmy award-winning actor delivered a passionate speech on a topic that spoke to his own experiences as an undergraduate—namely, finding a purpose in life that gives one access to maximum enthusiasm. “I’m not talking about a job, I’m not even talking about a career,” he said. “I’m talking about a calling, that thing that forces the metaphorical lampshade from your soul and mandates that everyone wear sunglasses in your presence because you just that damn bright."