By Linh Bui

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore native and bestselling author D. Watkins will give the commencement address Friday at the Johns Hopkins School of Education graduation ceremony.

It’s a triumphant return for Watkins, who earned his master’s degree in education and a graduate certification in urban education at the university in 2011.

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“We are thrilled to welcome back one of our own to the Johns Hopkins School of Education,” said Dean Christopher Morphew. “D. Watkins’ writing and teaching have had a profound impact on our city—and across America. I look forward to the insights he will offer our newest class of education leaders.”

Since graduating, Watkins has written several New York Times bestsellers. His latest book, “Black Boy Smile,” was released Tuesday, a memoir about his experience growing up in East Baltimore, where he was once a drug dealer.

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“I wrote the book partially for [my daughter], partially for my wife Caron,” he told WJZ. “But I also wrote the book for people who feel like they don’t deserve happy endings. I put my story out as an offering to let you know you can go through some wild and crazy things, but you can still have your happy ending.”

The multi-hyphenate teaches at the University of Baltimore, serves as an editor-at-large for Salon and has recently made a foray into TV, writing an episode of HBO’s new Baltimore-based drama series “We Own This City.”

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Linh Bui