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Historian to headline Carnegie Mellon commencement |

Historian to headline Carnegie Mellon commencement

Debra Erdley
| Wednesday, April 13, 2016 11:00 a.m.
Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
Earl Lewis, president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Earl Lewis, president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and a leading advocate for the humanities and arts in higher education, will be the keynote speaker at Carnegie Mellon University’s commencement May 15.

Lewis, a noted social historian who is the author of seven books, last visited Carnegie Mellon in October, when he delivered the opening address for the Center for African American Urban Studies and the Economy’s 20th Anniversary Conference.

“Dr. Lewis’ dedication to diversity, the humanities, the arts, and the use of digital learning tools to improve education resonates deeply with our core values here at Carnegie Mellon University,” said President Subra Suresh. “We are honored and very fortunate to have Dr. Lewis as our keynote speaker.”

In addition to Lewis, who will receive an honorary doctor of humane letters degree, this year’s honorary degree recipients are:

• Holly Hunter, a 1980 CMU graduate, and an Academy Award-winning actress, will receive a doctor of fine arts degree;

• Robert Langer, the David H. Koch Institute Professor at MIT and the most cited engineer in history, will receive a doctor of science and technology degree;

• Sonia Manzano, a 1972 CMU graduate and actress who played Maria on “Sesame Street,” will be presented with a doctor of fine arts degree;

• James Swartz a 1966 CMU graduate and one of the most successful venture capitalists in the world, will be awarded a doctor of business practice degree.

This year’s student speaker is Sophie Rose Zucker, a member of the Science and Humanities Scholars Program who will be receiving a bachelor’s degree in chemistry with University Honors and a bachelor’s degree in creative writing with College Honors.

Debra Erdley is a staff writer for the Tribune-Review. She can be reached at 412-320-7996 or

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