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Honorary Degrees Recipients

Honorary Degree award recipients are accomplished and renowned in their field; Each has demonstrated an outstanding performance in a field of interest to the university.

Recipient List

May 2017

Clifford Alexis, renowned steelpan musician and retired member of the NIU School of Music
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)

December  2016

James Fruchterman, Founder and CEO of Benetech
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)

May 2016

Eboo Patel, Founder and President of Chicago-based Interfaith Youth Core
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)

May 2015

Nigel Lockyer, Director, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory
Doctor of Science (Sc.D.)

December 2014
Frances Whitehead, a civic practice artist and
Professor of Sculpture and Architecture
School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
May 2014
John Sall, Co-founder and Executive Vice President, SAS
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
September 2013
Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
May 2013
Layli Miller-Muro, Executive Director of the Tahirih Justice Center
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
May 2011
Eric Isaacs, Director of Argonne National Laboratory
Doctor of Science (Sc.D.)
May 2011
Leeland Strom, Chairman and CEO of the Farm Credit Administration
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
May 2010
L. Tammy Duckworth, Assistant Secretary for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
December 2007
Robert Rosner, Director, Argonne National Laboratory
Doctor of Science (Sc.D.)
December 2007
Abraham Verghese, Director, Center for Medical Humanities and Ethics
University of Texas Health Sciences Center
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
May 2003
Hermann A. Grunder, Director, Argonne National Laboratory
Doctor of Science (Sc.D.)
May 2001
Herbert C. Brown, eminent chemist
Doctor of Science (Sc.D.)
May 1998
Tashia F. Morgridge, protagonist for child welfare and development and
friend of the NIU College of Education
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
May 1998
John P. Morgridge, leader in the information-technology industry and
friend of the NIU College of Education
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
May 1997
Robert B. Morris, distinguished public administrator and professional mentor
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
December 1996
Arthur Schlesinger Jr., distinguished historian
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
December 1995
Paul Simon, United States Senator and advocate for persons with disabilities
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
September 1995
Carl Sagan, astronomer and promoter of scientific literacy 
Doctor of Science (Sc.D.)
May 1994
Sanford Meisner, eminent acting teacher
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
December 1993
Lucien H. Stryk, eminent poet and teacher, and retired member of the NIU Department of English 
Doctor of Letters (Litt.D.)
December 1992
Raya Garbousova, eminent cellist and teacher, and retired member of the NIU School of Music faculty
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
May 1992
Gwendolyn Brooks, Poet Laureate of Illinois
Doctor of Letters (Litt.D.)
December 1991
Alan Schriesheim, Director, Argonne National
Doctor of Science (Sc.D.)
May 1991
Robert W. Galvin, Chairman of the Board, Motorola, Inc.
Doctor of Science (Sc.D.)
December 1990
Ardis Krainik, General Director, Lyric Opera of Chicago
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
August 1990
Margaret ("Maggie") Kuhn, Founder, Gray Panthers
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
October 1989
Mstislav Rostropovich, Music Director, National Symphony Orchestra;
eminent conductor, cellist, and human-rights advocate
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
May 1989
Walter E. Massey; Vice President for Research and for Argonne National Laboratory at the University of Chicago; President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science 
Doctor of Science (Sc.D.)
May 1988
Harry A. Blackmun; Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, and friend of the NIU College of Law
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
May 1987
Samuel Goldich, eminent Geologist and retired member of the NIU Department of Geology.
Doctor of Science (Sc.D.)
May 1986
Cyril O. Houle, Senior Program Consultant, W.K. Kellog Foundation and friend of the NIU Adult Continuing Education Program.
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
August 1985
Louis Bellson, eminent drummer and benefactor of the NIU School of Music
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
May 1984
Lawrence A. Cremin, President, Teachers College, Columbia University
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
May 1983
Leon Lederman, Director, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and recipient of the Wolf Prize in Physics and later Nobel laureate in physics
Doctor of Science (Sc.D.)