Honorary degree recipients 2018

Seven individuals will receive honorary degrees at the University's 250th Commencement ceremony May 27.

Friday, May 25, 2018

The University is awarding honorary degrees to seven individuals during the 250th Commencement ceremony. The recipients (clockwise from left to right) are Lonnie Bunch III, J. Michael Kosterlitz, Beverly Ledbetter, Trudie Styler, Sting, Giuseppe Penone and Nancy Northup '81 P'16.

The University will award honorary degrees to seven individuals at the 250th Commencement ceremony May 27. Beverly Ledbetter will deliver the Baccalaureate address to the class of 2018 on May 26. The Corporation’s Board of Fellows selects the honorary degree recipients.

Lonnie Bunch III

Lonnie Bunch III is a renowned historian, author and curator. He is the founding director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.  Bunch was appointed the director’s museum in 2005.

J. Michael Kosterlitz

J. Michael Kosterlitz is the Harrison E. Farnsworth Professor of Physics and a 2016 Nobel Prize winner. Kosterlitz helped discover the Kosterlitz-Thouless transition that has been used as the basis of other research in physics. 

Beverly Ledbetter

Beverly Ledbetter, the University’s longtime chief legal officer, has served in her position since 1978. As chief legal officer, Ledbetter leads a team of attorneys who provide the University with legal counsel and representation. 

Nancy Northup ’81 P’16

Nancy Northup ’81 P’16 is the president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights and is a global leader in the field of reproductive rights. Northup graduate from Brown magna cum laude in 1981. She received her law degree from Columbia Law School, where she was managing editor of the Columbia Law Journal.

Giuseppe Penone

Giuseppe Penone is a prominent figure of the 1960s Italian avant-garde movement, Arte Povera, which uses materials such as stone or newspapers in protest of art’s commercialization. His piece, “the Idee di Pietra” (Ideas of stone), is a tree that stands 27-feet-tall on the University’s Main Green and has a large boulder balanced amongst its branches. The piece was installed in 2016. 


Sting is a Grammy-award winning artist who formed the band The Police with Stewart Copeland and Andy Summers in 1977. The band earned six Grammy award and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. As a solo artist, Sting has won numerous awards, including 10 Grammy Awards, a Golden Globe and an Emmy. 

Trudie Styler 

Trudie Styler is an actress, film producer, director and activist. Trained at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, Styler has starred in numerous theater productions with the Royal Shakespeare Company. Styler is also the founder of two production companies, Xingu Films and Maven Pictures. Styler and her husband, Sting, established the Rainforest Foundation Fund. 

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