Harvard's 362nd commencement begins Thursday morning with the annual conferring of degrees and honorary degrees. Winfrey and Harvard President Drew Faust will both address attendees during afternoon exercises, which serve as the annual meeting of the Harvard Alumni Association.
Faust calls Winfrey's rise to global prominence one of the great American success stories.
Winfrey's private foundation has awarded hundreds of grants to organizations that promote education and support women, children and families worldwide.
Forbes listed Winfrey as the 11th most powerful woman in the world last year. She has a net worth of $2.7 billion.