New York University Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Navigation Skip to Sub Navigation

John Patrick Shanley Receives Honorary Doctorate From NYU

May 13, 2009
N-457, 2008-09

New York University President John Sexton today bestowed an honorary doctorate on award-winning playwright and NYU alumnus John Patrick Shanley at NYU’s 177th Commencement Exercises in Yankee Stadium. Over 25,000 graduates, faculty, staff, and guests attended the morning ceremony.

The following citation was read in conferring the Doctor of Letters degree, honoris causa, on John Patrick Shanley:

“John Patrick Shanley-first and foremost what the Irish call a seanchai - a storyteller, a writer and director of plays and films, you have crafted words that sing on stage and screen across America and around the world. In the preface to your magnificent play Doubt: A Parable, winner of six major awards, including the Tony Award and the Pulitzer Prize, you wrote: “Life happens when the tectonic power of your speechless soul breaks through the dead habits of the mind.” You are of Irish heritage, a native son of the Bronx and a Marine Corps veteran, whose thirty stage plays and nine screenplays have been spectacular contributions to American storytelling, with such highlights as Danny and the Deep Blue Sea on stage and the now-classic film Moonstruck, which won you an Academy Award. Most recently, the film version of Doubt was nominated for five Academy Awards. For these accomplishments you have been elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and have justly received the 2009 Award for Lifetime Achievement in Writing from the Writers Guild of America. The Steinhardt School proudly claims you as a model university citizen - a major contributor to American storytelling and our 1977 valedictory graduate in Dramatic Arts in Educational Theatre.

John Patrick Shanley-esteemed alumnus, prodigious talent, humanist, you urge us to engage in the hard and passionate exercise of doubting our “certainties,” and thereby exchange the easy answer for deeper, more penetrating wisdom. By virtue of the authority vested in me by New York University, I am pleased to confer upon you the degree of Doctor of Letters, honoris causa.”

Type: Press Release

Press Contact: John Beckman | (212) 998-6848


Search News



NYU In the News

CUSP Unveils its “Urban Observatory”

Crain’s New York Business profiled CUSP’s “Urban Observatory” that is continuously photographing lower Manhattan to gather scientific data.

Post-Sandy Upgrades at the Langone Medical Center

NY1 reported on the major post-Sandy upgrades and renovations made at the Medical Center to protect the hospital from future catastrophic storms.

Steinhardt Research Helps Solve Tough Speech Problems.

The Wall Street Journal reported on research at Steinhardt’s Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders, including an interview with Assistant Professor Tara McAllister Byun, that uses ultrasound to help solve tough speech problems.

Times Column Lauds Professor Stevenson’s New Memoir

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote a column about “Just Mercy,” a new memoir by Law Professor Bryan Stevenson, the founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, whom he noted has been called America’s Nelson Mandela.

Entrepreneurship Lab Opens at NYU

Crain’s New York Business covered the opening of the Mark and Debra Leslie Entrepreneurial eLab, which will be the headquarters for NYU’s Entrepreneurial Institute and all of the University’s programs aimed at promoting innovation and startups.

NYU Footer