Call for Nominations: 2018 Honorary Degree Recipient, Commencement Speaker

Aug. 29, 2017

Recent commencement speakers and honorary degree recipients Jenifer Lewis, Gen. Paul Selva, Jim Weddle and Koko Kondo on The Muny stage.

We are looking forward to our 99th commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 12, 2018, at the Municipal Opera Theatre (The Muny) in Forest Park in St. Louis. The annual commencement at the Muny in St. Louis is the largest gathering of graduates and their families from Webster campus locations throughout the world. 

An important part of commencement is the awarding of an honorary degree recipient who will be our commencement speaker. The 2018 commencement will be an important aspect of Webster University’s centennial celebration. As in the past, we are seeking suggestions for honorary degree recipients. The honorary doctorate degree recognizes academic accomplishments of individuals, including alumni, as well as those who may not have had any previous association with the University. 

The Honorary Degree Committee is currently seeking nominations in the following three areas: 

  1. Individuals who have built cross-cultural connections. Individuals in this category will have distinguished themselves by building cross-cultural understanding, acceptance, and knowledge in one or more areas, including the arts, social sciences, humanities, communications, education, and business. 
  2. Individuals who are leaders in sustainability. Individuals in this area will have distinguished themselves through leadership in sustainability in its broadest sense–namely, using the earth’s resources in ways that are environmentally, socially, and economically responsible. 
  3. Individuals who have pioneered innovative uses of technology. Individuals in this category will have distinguished themselves through innovative uses of technology to produce positive and dramatic benefits locally, regionally or globally. 

Past recipients include:

  • U.S. President George H. W. Bush
  • Simon Wiesenthal, Austrian Holocaust survivor
  • Bob Costas, sportscaster
  • Patricia McKissack (MA 1975 graduate of Webster)
  • Lt. Col. Greg Gadson (MA 2001 graduate of Webster)
  • David Robertson, music director of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra
  • Hugh Grant, chair, president and CEO of Monsanto
  • Former Sen. Christopher “Kit” Bond
  • Former Speaker of the House and Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi
  • U. S. Ambassador to Egypt Anne W. Patterson
  • Norbert Leo Butz, two-time Tony award-winning Webster alumnus
  • Koko Tonimoto Kondo, Hiroshima atomic bomb survivor
  • Jenifer Lewis, St. Louis-born actress, singer, community activist and Webster University alumna
  • Jim Weddle, managing partner of Edward Jones Investments and former member of the Webster University Board of Trustees
  • Gen. Paul Selva, 10th Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and second highest ranking officer in the U.S. military

How to Nominate

To nominate the 2018 honorary degree recipient, simply fill out the online nomination form here where you can provide the name of your nominees and the reason you believe these individuals merit an honorary degree from Webster University. 

Please submit your nominations by Friday, Sept. 22, 2017

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