In a ceremony the day before Vanderbilt University's annual commencement, the university awarded the 2018 Nichols-Chancellor's Medal to Amal Clooney.

Clooney is a British human rights lawyer, a visiting professor at Columbia Law School, and wife of actor George Clooney.

"Be courageous. Challenge orthodoxy. Stand up for what you believe in," she said to graduates during her speech Thursday in Nashville. “When you are in your rocking chair talking to your grandchildren many years from now, be sure you have a good story to tell," said Clooney.

Last year, the university gave the award to Ken Burns.

Other past winners include Tom Brokaw, Laura Bush, and Toni Morrison.