University officials in Washington, D.C. are standing by their decision to invite hip-hop mogul Sean '' Combs to address this year's (14) class of graduates following a backlash from students.

Howard University President Wayne Frederick announced on Tuesday (15Apr14) that the rapper and entrepreneur will return to his alma mater in May (14) to pick up an honorary degree and deliver the 2014 commencement speech, but the news irked members of the student body who took issue with the fact that Combs had been a college drop out.

However, chiefs at the school are refusing to bow to pressure to replace the star.

A representative tells, "Howard University continues the tradition of identifying leaders whose work has clearly contributed to the advancement of their fields and the world... We are honoured to have Mr. Combs serve as our speaker."

Combs attended the university in the late 1980s but left to pursue a career in the music industry.

He follows in the footsteps of previous Howard University commencement speakers, including former U.S. President Bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey and poet Maya Angelou.