LAWRENCE - A world-renowned dancer and choreographer, an acclaimed artist and sculptor, and a heralded advocate of sustainable agriculture will each receive an honorary degree from the University of Kansas at its 2013 Commencement.
Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little recommended to the Kansas Board of Regents that Karole Armitage, Wendell Castle and Wes Jackson be honored for their contributions to society. The Board unanimously approved the degrees today, which will be presented May 19, 2013, in Memorial Stadium.
"These three individuals each embody the mission of the University of Kansas, which is to lift students and society by educating leaders, building healthy communities and making discoveries that change the world. They have each enriched our world, making it a better, more vibrant place in which to live," said Gray-Little.
"The committee had a difficult time choosing from among a group of extraordinary nominees. These three individuals did soar above the rest in terms of their vision. Each has made a unique contribution that should inspire our students and graduates," said Susan Kemper, the Roy A. Roberts Distinguished Professor of Psychology and chair of the Chancellor's Committee on Honorary Degrees.
2013 University of Kansas honorary degree recipients:
- For the degree of Doctor of Arts: Karole Armitage for notable contributions to dance and choreography
- For the degree of Doctor of Arts: Wendell Castle for notable contributions to art, design and studio crafts
- For the degree of Doctor of Science: Wes Jackson for notable contributions to the environment
Two of the honorees have close relationships with the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. Wes Jackson is a recipient of the College Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award. Karole Armitage is a strong supporter of the School of the Arts within the College.
Nominations were sought from members of the KU community and beyond. These nominations were reviewed by a committee which consisted of Kemper; Professor John Gronbeck-Tedesco, theatre; Professor Steve Hawley, physics and astronomy; Professor Chet Johnson, pediatrics; Annaria Nardone, student representative; retired Kansas Supreme Court Justice Fred Six, alumni representative; and Professor Lisa Stehno-Bittel, physical therapy and rehabilitation sciences.
KU awards honorary degrees based on nominees' outstanding scholarship, research, creative activity, service to humanity or other achievements consistent with the academic endeavors of the university. Recipients do not need to be KU alumni, and philanthropic contributions to the university are not considered during the process.