Andrew Levitt Nina West

Andrew Levitt (a.k.a. Nina West), drag queen, actor, singer-songwriter, activist and children’s book author, will deliver the Commencement address at the 2024 Columbus College of Art & Design Commencement at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 11, at Wexner Center for the Arts’ Mershon Auditorium.

Levitt is an LGBTQ+ activist most known for his drag queen persona Nina West, named the “Most Googled Drag Queen in The World'' from 2020 to 2021 with over 7.8 billion unique searches. Nina West rose to national prominence in 2019 on season 11 of VH1’s Emmy-winning show RuPaul's Drag Race, placing sixth and receiving the coveted title of Miss Congeniality. Levitt notes creative and artistic expression helped him find his voice.

“Being a creator is the biggest gift and biggest challenge I’ve ever had,” said Levitt. “The power of artistic expression has allowed me to express my individuality and figure out exactly how to share sentiments to move and impact people.”

Levitt has an extensive creative career, having released three EPs, authored a children’s book, made his big screen debut, and recently completed a two-year stint as Edna Turnblad in the 20th anniversary touring Broadway production of Hairspray. Levitt looks forward to discussing the importance of being your biggest supporter with soon-to-be graduates. “I would tell young creatives to be easy and gentle on yourself. There will be moments of incredible highs and lows. Know that what you are doing matters, and who you are as an artist has value and worth.”

Having spent the majority of his career in Columbus, Levitt is an integral part of the central Ohio creative fabric and believes a city’s vibrancy relies on sharing diverse voices. “Art and culture tell the story of our city. For the artists who call Columbus home, we are trying to tell the story of a Columbus that also sees us in it. Being surrounded by artists who are creating and expressing themselves freely is why Columbus is a place creatives call home.”

In addition to delivering CCAD’s Commencement address, Levitt will receive an honorary doctorate awarded by the college in recognition of his outstanding creative achievement, profound influence on art and culture, and his contributions to contemporary cultural conversation.

“Andrew’s creative contributions to Columbus and to national contemporary cultural and LGBTQ+ activism are tremendous, not to mention the sheer joy he brings to those he encounters along the way,” said Dr. Melanie Corn, president. “Creativity and authentic identity are encouraged and welcomed at CCAD, and Andrew boldly celebrates both.”

CCAD’s Commencement at Mershon Auditorium is a ticketed event for graduates’ friends and family. More information about the 2024 Commencement can be found on the CCAD graduation page. Learn more about Levitt at, on Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Spotify, and Facebook.

About Columbus College of Art & Design
Columbus College of Art & Design teaches undergraduate and graduate students in the midst of a thriving creative community in Columbus, Ohio. Founded in 1879, CCAD is one of the oldest private, nonprofit art and design colleges in the United States. CCAD offers 11 BFA programs, two Master of Professional Studies programs (Retail Design and User Experience Design), and a Master of Fine Arts that produce graduates equipped to shape culture and business at the highest level.