A physicist and a business leader received honorary degrees from UT on Thursday and today and spoke to some of the university’s newest graduates, challenging them to be innovators—in their careers and in their lives.
honorary degree News
UT will award its eleventh and twelfth honorary degrees to a leader in the world of architecture and design and the founder of one of the world’s most innovative businesses.
Civil rights and social equality advocate Marian Wright Edelman urged graduates to do their part to make America “more just, more hopeful, more peaceful, more productive, inclusive, and unified.” Chancellor Cheek awarded Edelman an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters —the ninth honorary degree given by UT—at the College of Communication and Information commencement ceremony.
UT will award its ninth and tenth honorary degrees to social activist Marian Wright Edelman and actress Dale Dickey. Edelman will receive an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters and speak at the College of Communication and Information commencement. Dickey will receive an Honorary Master of Fine Arts in acting during a campus visit next year.
The university presented Knoxville native and entertainer Mary Costa with an honorary doctorate Monday at a special event held in her honor.
Pulitzer Prize–winning science journalist John Noble Wilford has told some of the world’s biggest stories since he graduated from UT almost sixty years ago. The first walk on the moon. The search for life on Mars. The Challenger disaster. Wilford—who received the university’s sixth honorary doctorate and spoke at the College of Communication and Information commencement ceremony on Wednesday—won a Pulitzer Prize in 1984 for his reporting of science and space exploration and again in 1987 as part of the reporting team that covered the space shuttle Challenger disaster. His New York Times front-page story about the first walk on the moon in 1969 is the most widely used account of the historic event.
A renowned journalist and an opera singer known as the voice of Sleeping Beauty will receive honorary degrees in May. The Board of Trustees today approved the degrees for Tennessee natives John Seigenthaler and Mary Costa. Seigenthaler will receive an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree and speak at the College of Law commencement on May 10. Costa will speak and receive an Honorary Doctor of Humane and Musical Letters at the College of Arts and Science commencement on May 10.
Alumnus Charles O. “Chad” Holliday—chairman of the board of Bank of America, former CEO of DuPont, and a leader in business sustainability—will receive the fourth honorary degree granted by UT. The degree was approved by the Board of Trustees at its meeting today. Holliday will receive an honorary doctorate in engineering at the December 15 commencement ceremony, where he will be the featured speaker.