Honorary Degree Recipients

Each year, at Columbia College Chicago Commencement, we honor outstanding individuals in the arts, education, politics and public information, people who have engaged their great talents in important human service and whose life work and example embody the college's ideal and spirit.

2011

Regina Taylor - Award winning actress and Artistic Associate, Goodman Theater
Bruce Mau - Bruce Mau Design, founder of Institute Without Boundaries, author
Ryan Schreiber - Creator of Pitchfork.com

2010

Dr. Peter Magubane - South African photographer
Alex Kotlowitz - American journalist and author
Robert Klein - American comedian, singer and actor

2009

Lee E. Berk, Esq. - President Emeritus of the Berklee College of Music
Ray Bradbury - American speculative fiction writer
Trisha Brown - Acclaimed choreographer
Carla Delfos - Executive Director of European League of Institutes of the Arts
Alison Knowles - Interdisciplinary performance artist, Fluxus Movement founding member
Dr. Tom Miser Founder of the School of Audio Engineering and the SAE Technology College
Dr. Kunihiko Ukifune - CEO of the Jikei Group, an international education center

2008

Dan Rather - Journalist
Graciela Iturbide - Photographer
Earth, Wind & Fire: Maurice White, Ralph Johnson, Philip Bailey and Verdine White - Band, Eight-Time Grammy Winners

2007

Dionne Warwick - Recording artist
Joe Adams - Arts manager & Producer
Army Bernstein - Screenwriter, Producer, & Director

2006

Linda Johnson Rice - President & Chief Executive Officer, Johnson Publishing Company
Buddy Guy - Blues Artist, Five-Time Grammy Winner
Bernard Sahlins - Founder of The Second City and playwright, director and producer

2005

Mark Heister - Fashion Designer, Mark Heister Design Inc.
Bill Viola - Video and Sound Artist
Alan Kay - Computer innovator & former professional jazz guitarist & composer

2004

Bill T. Jones - Artistic Director and Choreographer
Mary Ellen Mark - Photographer and Humanist
Frank Rich - Author, Editor, and Cultural Critic

2003

Russell Simmons - Music Entrepreneur and Arts Advocate
Lois Weisberg -Civic Arts Advocate and Innovator
Tony Kushner - Celebrated Playwright
Henry Fogel - Arts Manager and Advocate
John Wideman - Celebrated Author

2002

Grace Paley - Author and Activist
Alan Arkin - Actor and Director
Jawole Willa Jo Zollar - Director and Choreographer
Lewis Manilow - Arts Advocate

2001

Alton B. Harris - Outstanding Columbia College Chicago Trustee
Jesse L. Jackson, Jr. - Member of the United States House of Representatives
John Szarkowski - Curator, Photohistorian, Writer, and Photographer
Danny K. Davis - Congressman and Advocate of Education
Lisel Mueller Pulitzer - Prize-winning Poet
Renee Ferguson - Investigative Reporter and Community Activist
Harold Ramis - Director and Screenwriter
Mikhail Baryshnikov - Outstanding Contributor in the Field of the Arts

2000

Oral Lee Brown - Entrepreneur and Savior of Children
Sidney L. Port - Philanthropist, Businessman, and Son of Chicago
Robert V. Remini - Scholar and Teacher
Robert Shaye - Pioneer of Independent Film

1999

Arthur C. Nielsen, Jr. - Market Researcher and Corporate Leader
Sara Paretsky - Mystery Writer and Champion of Women
William E. Strickland, Jr. - Empowering the Disadvantaged Through the Arts
Sherman Joseph Alexie, Jr. - Storyteller, Poet and Voice of Truth

1998

Momma Hawk - Mentor of Hope for the Children
John H. Bryan - Exemplary Leadership in Business and the Arts
William Warfield - Magnificent Voice of the Century
David Henry Hwang - Truth-teller for Our Times

1997

Fred Eychaner - Media Innovator, Inspiring Activist
Margaret Corbett Daley - Civic Activist and First Lady of the City of Chicago
James W. Compton - Champion of Racial Equality

1996

Irv Kupcinet - A Man, a City, an Era
John W. Rogers, Jr. - Chicago's Pioneering Investment Leader
Isabel Allende - The Voice of Spirits, Magic and Dreams
Paul Simon - United States Senator

1995

Victor Skrebneski - Photographer, Artist
John H. Johnson - A Voice of Reason for All People
Sandra P. Guthman -A Driving Force Behind Social Progress in Chicago
Eugene C. D'Angelo, Jr. - A Positive Catalyst in the Communications Industry
Ann Landers - The Most Influential Woman in the United States
Ben Vereen - The Very Definition of Entertainer

1994

The Right Honorable Hage G. Geingob - Prime Minister of The Republic of Namibia
Myrlie Evers -Williams A Champion of Justice
Reverand John T. Richardson - A Chicago Leader in Higher Education
Rita Simo - Musician, Teacher, Social Reformer
John Hope Franklin - A Scholar for Our Generation

1993

Etta Moten Barnett - Stage and Film Performer, Arts Educator
Cindy Pritzker - President, Board of Directors, Chicago Public Library
Rigoberta Menchu - Nobel Peace Prize Winner
Jane Alexandroff - A Prime Contributor to the Success of Columbia College
Carol Moseley Braun - United States Senator
Cokie Roberts - Senior News Analyst, National Public Radio

1992

Hedrick L. Smith - Journalist
Mathilde Krim - Medical Scientist and AIDS Crusader
Henry Aaron - Baseball Player and Executive

1991

Douglas Turner - Ward Founding Artistic Director, The Negro Ensemble Company
Helen Valdez - President, Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum
Johnathan Rodgers -President, CBS Television Stations
Willard L. Boyd - President, Field Museum of Chicago

1990

Faith Hubley -Animator and Illustrator
Leon Despres - Advocate of Social Justice
Yousuf Karsh - Photographer
Haskell Wexler - Cinematographer
Clarence Page - Editorial Columnist

1989

Bernard Lown - Nobel Laureate for Peace, 1985
Sterling Stuckey - Historian
Bernice Weissbourd - President, Family Focus
Leon Lederman - Nobel Laureate in Physics, 1988

1988

Kenneth G. Ryder - President, Northeastern University, Boston
Mike Royko - Newspaper Columnist
John Birks - "Dizzy" Gillespie Jazz Trumpeter
William Julius Wilson - Sociologist
Ardis Krainik - General Director, Lyric Opera of Chicago

1987

Lawrence K. Grossman - President, NBC News
Pastora San Juan Cafferty - Professor, Social Service Administration
Jack Brickhouse - Sports Broadcaster
Margaret Burroughs - Founder, Du Sable Museum
Irving B. Harris - Distinguished Contributor to Human Welfare
James Hightower - Texas Commissioner of Agriculture

1986

Fred Friendly - Broadcast Journalist and Educator
Linus Pauling - Nobel Laureate Chemistry 1954 and Peace 1962
Randall Robinson - Executive Director, TransAfrica
William Ford - United States Congressman
Ruth Adams - Editor, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

1985

James Hoge - Publisher, New York Daily News
Eileen Southern - Music Historian
Ray Nordstrand - President, WFMT, Inc.
The Honorable Conor Cruise O'Brien - Diplomat, Writer

1984

William Appleman Williams - Historian
John Lewis - Composer, Musician, Founder, Modern Jazz Quartet
Victor Navasky - Editor, The Nation Magazine
Pamela Harriman - National Civic Leader

1983

The Honorable Harold Washington - Mayor, City of Chicago
Marjorie Craig Benton - United States Representative to U.N.I.C.E.F.
Marcel Ophuls - Documentary Filmmaker
Christopher Jencks - Educator

1982

Helen Caldicott - Peace Advocate
Sherry Lansing - President, 20th Century Fox
Luis Valdez - Writer, Director, Producer
James Van Der Zee - Photographer
Garry Wills - Columnist

1981

Franklin A. Long - Scientist
Harry Edwards - Sociologist
Michael Cacoyannis - Film Director
Marilyn French - Writer
George McGovern - Statesman

1980

Hermon D. Smith - Chairman, Field Foundation of Illinois
Harry Weese - Architect
Lois Wille - Journalist, Pulitzer Prize Winner
Ronald Williams - President, Northeastern Illinois University

1979

Jessie Woods - Director, Urban Gateways
John Fischetti - Political Cartoonist
Maya Angelou - Poet
Carlos Fuentes - Novelist
Tom Wicker - Journalist

1978

Robert Coles - Social Philosopher
Edgar Y. "Yip" Harburg - Lyricist
Abby Mann - Television-Film Writer
Addie Wyatt - Labor Humanist
Carlos Chavez - Composer-Conductor

1977

Oriana Fallaci - Journalist
Eliot Wigginton - Educator
Maria Martinez - Potter
Gordon Parks, Sr. - Photographer, Filmmaker, Writer
Daniel Schorr - Broadcast Journalist

1976

John Hammond - "Columbus" of American Music
Roman Vishniac - Biologist and Microphotographer
Katherine Kuh - Art Critic, Curator, Writer
Jonathan Kozol - Educator, Social Critic
Ed Bullins - Playwright

1975

Arthur Mitchell - Director, Dance Theatre of Harlem
"Bricktop" - Entertainer
Alexander L.C. Wilder - Composer
George W. Bonham - Editor-in-Chief, Change
Seymour M. Hersh - Pulitzer Prize Reporter

1974

Albert E. Jenner, Jr. - Distinguished Lawyer
Ivan Albright - Artist
James T. Farrell - Writer
Ruth Page - Dancer
Charlemae Rollins - Acclaimed Librarian

1973

Harrison E. Salisbury - Associate Editor, New York Times
Bob Fosse - Film, Theater and Television Director
Rosa Parks - Montgomery, Alabama
Myles F. Horton - Director, Highlander Folk School
James B. Holderman - Executive Director, Illinois Board of Higher Education

1972

Quentin D. Young - National Chairman, Medical Committee for Human Rights
Pauline Kael - Motion Picture Critic
Chester Burnett - Musician ("Howlin' Wolf")
Neil Sheehan - Reporter, New York Times
William F. Russell - Sports Commentator, Coach, Athlete
Newton N. Minow - Public Servant, Attorney

1971

William Proxmire - United States Senator, Wisconsin
Kay Boyle - Writer
Joseph Papp - Director, New York Public Theatre and Shakespeare Festival
Charles G. Hurst, Jr. - President, Malcolm X College, Chicago
Aaron Siskind - Photographer, Teacher

1970

R. Buckminster Fuller - Architect
Frank Reynolds - Broadcast Journalist
Fannie Lou Hamer - Chairman, Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party
William M. Birenbaum - President, Staten Island College, New York

1969

Sister Ann Ida Gannon - B.V.M. President, Mundelein College, Chicago
Charles Wilbert White - Artist
David Halberstam - Reporter, Pulitzer Prize Winner

1968

Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington - Composer
Louis J. "Studs" Terkel - Writer
Ralph Nader - Citizen

1967

Dwight W. Follett - Publisher
Kenneth F. Montgomery - Attorney
Norman Corwin - Writer, Poet, Playwright

1966

Eugene Rabinowitch - Editor, Bulletin of Atomic Scientists
Frederick Douglas O'Neal - President, Actors' Equity
John Brademas - United States Congressman

1965

Curtis D. MacDougall - Distinguished Teacher
Paul Hamilton Engle - Poet and Teacher

1964

Gwendolyn Brooks - Poet

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