Chicago mayor, three other distinguished individuals to receive honorary degrees


Daily file photo by Catherine Buchaniec

Students with their diplomas during commencement in 2019. Four individuals will receive their honorary degrees at the 2020 commencement ceremony on June 19.

Yunkyo Kim, Assistant Campus Editor

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, television writer Norman Lear and chemistry professors JoAnne Stubbe and George Whitesides will receive honorary Northwestern degrees at the 2020 virtual commencement, a University press release stated.

The announcement follows the news that for the first time in 162 years, the University will not be holding its commencement in person, due to COVID-19 concerns.

“A virus will not stop the work of Northwestern, nor will it diminish our intention to create a graduation worthy of the Class of 2020,” University President Morton Schapiro said in an April 22 email to the University community.

In addition to Lightfoot, the commencement will honor Norman Lear, a World War II veteran and distinguished producer and writer who has received five Primetime Emmys and a Golden Globe throughout his film and television career.

Lear, who currently co-hosts Jimmy Kimmel’s “Live in Front of a Studio Audience,” has received a National Medal of The Arts and the Peabody Lifetime Achievement Award.

Stubbe is the first woman to receive tenure in the chemistry department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and currently is a biology and chemistry professor who studies complex enzyme mechanisms. Her wide-ranging research has been applied to cancer treatments and biodegradable plastics, the release noted.

She has received the Pfizer Award in Enzyme Chemistry and the National Medal of Science, and advocates for representation of women in the sciences.

Harvard University Prof. Whitesides specializes in chemistry, but has also made contributions to the areas of materials science, mechanical engineering, drug discovery and medical diagnostic systems for underdeveloped regions, the release stated.

Whitesides also received a National Medal of Science, and is an elected fellow of prestigious academic societies such as the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, National Academy of Sciences and many more.

The four individuals will receive their honorary degrees at the 2020 commencement ceremony on June 19.

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