Honorary Degree/Commencement Speaker History

1960 - Present

* Denotes Commencement Speaker


2013

  • Dr. Kathryn D. Sullivan – Scientist, first woman to walk in space
  • Paul J. De Muniz JD ’75 – Retired Chief Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court

2012

  • Dr. Gloria Rodriguez – Founder, national president and CEO of AVANCE, Inc.
  • Justin Rattner – Corporate Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Intel Corporation
  • Dr. Joseph Hooton Taylor, Jr. ’61 – American Astrophysicist

2011

  • Deborah Bial – President and founder of The Posse Foundation
  • Wendy Doniger – Professor of the History of Religions at the University of Chicago
  • Dale T. Mortensen ’61 – Economists
  • Nobuyasu Kurata – Chair and chancellor of the Kaneko Educational Foundation

2010

  • *Scott Simon – NPR Host, Writer & Novelist
  • Sara Hrdy – Anthropologist
  • Dr. Robert Langer – Scientist/Engineer

2009

  • *Juan Williams – journalist; HD of Humane Letters
  • Bernice Johnson Reagon – singer/composer; HD of Humane Letters
  • Timothy Egan – writer/author; HD of Humane Letters
  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg – U.S. Supreme Court Justice; HD of Laws (presented fall 2008)

2008

  • *Helen Vendler – poetry critic; HD of Humane Letters
  • Wally Carson JD’62 – Oregon Supreme Court Justice; HD of Laws

2007

  • *Libby Appel – Oregon Shakespeare Festival, artistic director; HD of Fine Arts
  • Carl Wieman – physicist, Nobel Prize winner; HD of Science
  • Dan O’Neill – Mercy Corps founder; HD of Humane Letters
  • Cao Jianming – vice president of the People’s Supreme Court, China; HD of Laws

2006

  • *S. Allen Counter – scientist, humanitarian; HD of Science
  • Gertrude Boyle – business woman; HD of Humane Letters
  • Rafe Esquith – educator; HD of Humane Letters
  • Catherine Reynolds – philanthropist; HD of Humane Letters

2005

  • *Wangari Maathai – 2004 Nobel Peace Prize recipient; HD of Humane Letters
  • Bob Edwards – journalist; HD of Public Service
  • William Schulz – human rights advocate; HD of Human Letters
  • Wilma Mankiller – Native American leader; HD of Public Service

2004

  • *Levardis Burton – actor, literary advocate; HD of Fine Arts
  • Henry Louis Gates Jr. – academic; HD of Humane Letters
  • William Webber – philanthropist; HD of Public Service
  • Ann Rule – author; HD of Humane Letters

2003

  • *Rev. Dr. Peter J. Gomes – reverend; HD of Divinity
  • Helen Thomas – journalist; HD of Humane Letters
  • Richard Read – journalist; HD of Humane Letters
  • Archbishop Desmond Tutu – world leader; HD of Divinity (presented spring 2003)

2002

  • *Martha Nussbaum – author; HD of Humane Letters
  • James Cuno ’73 – art curator; HD of Fine Arts
  • Robert Hirshon – lawyer; HD of Laws

2001

  • *William Sloane Coffin – reverend/activist; HD of Divinity
  • Lillian Cingo – medical activist; HD of Public Service
  • Grace Paley – author; HD of Humane Letters

2000

  • *Millard Fuller – humanitarian; HD of Humane Letters
  • Bill Wassmuth – human rights activist; HD of Humane Letters
  • Dr. Mae Jemison – astronaut; HD of Science
  • Dr. Frank Bash ’59 – scientist; HD of Science

1999

  • *Myrlie Evers-Williams – civil rights activist; HD of Humane Letters
  • Chai Ling – political activist; HD of Laws
  • Bill L’58 & Norma L’62 Paulus – philanthropists; HD of Public Service
  • Arthur Mitchell – dancer; HD of Fine Arts

1998

  • *Hon. Robert “Bob” Smith – politician; HD of Laws
  • Warne Nunn ’41 – businessman; HD of Humane Letters
  • Katsuyasu Kato – academic/fundraiser; HD of Business Administration

1997

  • *Jerry Hudson – Willamette president; HD of Humane Letters

1996

  • *Alex Mandl ’67 – businessman; HD of Business Administration
  • Hallie Brown Ford – philanthropist/trustee; HD of Arts

1995

  • *John Kitzhaber – governor; HD of Public Service

1994

  • *Dr. Julius S. Scott Jr. – academic; HD of Humane Letters
  • Caroline Glassman L’44 – justice; HD of Laws
  • Sho Masujima – businessman; HD of Business Administration

1993

  • *Mark O. Hatfield ’43 – politician; HD of Laws
  • Maribeth Collins – philanthropist
  • Tony Lee Hopson ’77 – community leader
  • Taul Watanabe ’41 – attorney/philanthropist

1992

  • *Barbara Roberts – governor; HD of Laws
  • Hieda Hisashi – businessman; HD of Communication Arts
  • Roger Ireson – reverend; HD of Divinity

1991

  • *Thomas R. Pickering - Representative to the UN HD Laws

1990

  • *Ancil H. Payne: businessman HD Communication Arts
  • Leontine Turpeau Current Kelly: Bishop HD Divinity

1989

  • *Robert Allen Skotheim: Director of Huntington Library HD Fine Arts
  • Robert W. Chandler: Editor HD Journalism

1988

  • *David B. Frohnmayer: Attorney General for the State of Oregon HD Laws
  • William B. Smullin: HD Humane Letters
  • Cecil L. Edwards: Oregon State Legislator Historian HD Public Service

1987

  • *James DePreist: Music Director of the Oregon Symphony HD Fine Arts
  • Marion Morange: Professor HD Romantic Literature

1986

  • *Thomas A. Bartlett: Chancellor of University of Alabama System HD Laws
  • Fred H. Paulus: HD Public Service

1985

  • *Frank Murkowski: US Senator (Alaska) HD Laws
  • Kenneth V. Mackenzie: Physicist HD Science
  • Grace Collins Goudy: HD Humane Letters

1984

  • *Norma Paulus: Oregon Secretary of State
  • Harvey N. Black: Lawyer HD Laws
  • Manley Strayer: Jurisprudence degree HD Laws
  • Paul G. Trueblood: HD Letters

1983

  • *Douglas H. Bosco: Congressman
  • Kenneth J. O’Connell HD Laws
  • Otto Richard Skopil Jr. HD Laws

1982

  • *Warne Nunn: Chairman Willamette University Board of Trustees

1981

  • *Victor G. Atiyeh: Governor of the State of Oregon

1980

  • *William Boyd – president, University of Oregon

1979

  • *William Stafford – poet laureate

1978

  • *Shirley Schlanger Abrahamson – Supreme Court justice, Wisconsin

1977

  • *Leonard Rice – president, Oregon College of Education

1976

  • *Harlan Cleveland – humanitarian

1975

  • *Mary Eyre ’18 – teacher

1974

  • *Tom Lawson McCall – governor

1973

  • *Dr. Robert Clark – president, University of Oregon

1972

  • *Daniel Schorr – journalist, CBS News

1971

  • *Walter Hickel – politician

1970

  • *Robert Burns – educator/author/businessman

1969

  • *Robert Packwood ’54 – senator

1968

  • *Kenneth Dale McCormick ’28 – publisher

1967

  • *Mark O. Hatfield ’43 – senator

1966

  • *James Franklin Oates Jr. – businessman

1965

  • *Robert Marion Syre: Dep. Assistant Secretary for Inter-American Affairs Department of State

1964

  • *Charles Kent Mills: businessman

1963

  • *Roy Elwayne Lieuallen: Chancellor, State system of Higher Education

1962

  • *Charles Harting Percy: businessman

1961

  • *William Tyrone Gillespie: businessman

1960

  • *Ivan Bertis White ’29 – politician