President Emeritus Walter E. Massey Awarded Honorary Doctorate From Harvard

Date Released: May 30, 2017

By D. Aileen Dodd

Walter Massey - Harvard Honorary DoctorateFormer Morehouse College President Walter E. Massey ’58 was one of ten game-changers to receive an honorary doctorate from Harvard University recently during the Ivy League institution’s 366th Commencement ceremony.

His “class” of fellow honorees ­– key figures in business, medicine, activism, and the arts, also at the top of their fields – were: Facebook’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg; actors, James Earl Jones and Dame Judi Dench; composer, John Williams; Somali human rights activist, Hawa Abdi Dhiblawe; former chairman and CEO of Lockheed Martin, Norman R. Augustine; leading feminist literary critic and author, Sandra M. Gilbert; pioneering theoretical computer scientist, Michael Rabin; and physician, medical researcher, and founding director of the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children’s Hospital, Huda Y. Zoghbi.

Massey is currently the chancellor of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). He holds honorary degrees from dozens of universities. On May 25, Harvard awarded the Morehouse Man its highest recognition, an honorary Doctorate of Laws degree. It was Massey’s 41st   honorary doctorate.

Bill Taggart, interim president of Morehouse College, said Massey’s recognition from Harvard is a testament to his impact as a leader in higher education.

“We congratulate President Emeritus Massey on this most deserved honor,” Taggart said.

Massey is Morehouse’s ninth president. He led the College between 1995 – 2007 and retired after successfully completing one of the most aggressive capital campaigns in the history of the College. He later became the first African American chairman of the board of directors of Bank of America before returning to higher education in 2010 as president of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC).

Elissa Tenny, the current president of SAIC, also congratulated Massey on his recent Harvard honor. “At the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), we know first-hand how much Walter deserves this distinction because we know his leadership has profoundly influenced our School and communities,” Tenny said. “Before beginning his chancellorship, Walter served as President of the School from 2010 to 2016. During that time, his initiatives helped to fortify SAIC’s position as a world-class institution of art and design ....”

Massey is the second Morehouse president to receive an honorary doctorate from Harvard. The first was awarded nearly 50 years ago to Benjamin E. Mays upon the centennial anniversary of the College and his 27-year tenure retirement as Morehouse's sixth president.


Last Modified: June 8, 2017, 13:06 PM, by: Synera Shelton

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