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Notre Dame to confer seven honorary degrees

| Friday, May 13, 2016

Editor’s note: A version of the story appeared online March 3.

Notre Dame will confer seven honorary degrees at this year’s commencement ceremony, the University announced in a press release Wednesday.

Diane Nash, Rita Colwell, Richard Notebaert, Arturo Sandoval, Cardinal Donald Wuerl and Pauline Yu will join U.S. Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, the 2015 commencement speaker, as honorary degree recipients.

Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 2011 to 2015, will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree.

Nash, a civil rights movement leader, will also receive a doctor of laws. Nash helped shaped the Selma right-to-vote movement that eventually led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965, according to the press release. She also participated in peaceful protests of the Vietnam War and worked in support of women’s rights.

Colwell, a molecular microbiologist, will receive a doctor of science. Colwell’s work focuses on global infectious diseases, water and health and is a highly-sought after counselor on science policy and education matters, according to the press release. She is the Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, has authored or co-authored 17 books and more than 800 scientific publications and has been awarded 61 honorary degrees.

Notebaert, chair of Notre Dame’s Board of Trustees, will receive a doctor of laws. Notebaert is the retired chair and CEO of Qwest Communications International. During his time as chair, the University has provided more financial aid, welcomed more diverse groups of incoming students and launched the Campus Crossroads construction project, the press release stated.

The University will honor Arturo Sandoval, an internationally acclaimed jazz and classical musician and composer, with a doctor of fine arts. Sandoval, who began playing the trumpet at age 12 at his home in Cuba, has since received 10 Grammy Awards, six  Billboard Awards, an Emmy Award and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013, according to the release.

Wuerl, the archbishop of Washington D.C., will receive an honorary doctor of laws. Wuerl was appointed a cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI in March 2010 and is a chair of the Board of Trustees of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, according to the release.

The University will award an honorary doctor of humanities to Pauline Yu, president of the American Council of Learned Societies, a private, nonprofit federation of 73 national scholarly organizations that represent American scholarship in the humanities and related social sciences, according to the release. Yu previously served as dean of humanities at the University of California, Los Angeles and has taught at the University of California, Irvine, Columbia University and the University of Minnesota.

The commencement ceremony will be held on May 15.

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