Lionel Richie Headshot

Lifetime Achievement Award


Lionel Richie

Award-Winning Musician, Singer/Songwriter

Lionel Richie, a native of Tuskegee, Alabama will receive the 2018 IQLA Lifetime Achievement Award, a special honor reserved for individuals whose character, professional achievements and humanitarian outreach have brought distinguished recognition to Auburn University and/or the state of Alabama and beyond. A winner of four Grammys, an Academy Award, and a Golden Globe, among many others, Richie has sold over 100 million records worldwide, beginning in the late 1960s as a founding member of the widely popular R&B band, the Commodores.

After composing the No. 1 hit song “Lady” for Kenny Rogers and recording the mega hit, “Endless Love,” with Diana Ross, Richie embarked upon a solo career. Immediate success came in 1982 with the debut of his first solo album, “Lionel Richie.” He followed it with “Can’t Slow Down,” a two-time Grammy-winning album featuring the No. 1 hit “All Night Long.” By 1983, Richie had become an international superstar, so famous that he was asked to perform at the closing ceremony of the XXIII Olympics in Los Angeles in 1984.

Richie took a break from his career in the late 1980s to rest and take care of his ailing father before making his return to the studio and stage in the early 1990s. Richie’s more recent albums include “Coming Home” with the hit single “I Call It Love” and “Tuskegee” featuring duets with country music stars such as Tim McGraw, Blake Shelton and Willie Nelson. Currently, Richie is a judge on ABC’s “American Idol.”

In addition to achieving iconic status as one of the greatest musical artists of his generation, Richie is known throughout the industry as being one of the kindest and most philanthropic. He has used his celebrity to support causes related to breast cancer research, HIV/AIDS, human rights, famine and poverty. He is also a generous supporter of the United Negro College Fund. Richie has been recognized for his career achievements and his charitable works as the recipient of the 2016 MusiCares Person of the Year Award and the 2017 inaugural Recording Artists Inspiration Award. Moreover, last December he was among the five distinguished recipients of the 40th Annual Kennedy Center Honors and, most recently, joined decades of fellow celebrities that have had their imprints ensconced in history in the famous forecourt of the TLC Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles.

Previous Lifetime Achievement Award Recipients