Honorary Degrees and Speakers
New York University is pleased to recognize several distinguished individuals at this year's All-University Commencement Exercises.
2023 Honorary Degree Recipients
Sanna Marin, the Prime Minister of Finland, will receive a Doctor of Humane Letters and will deliver remarks on behalf of the honorary degree recipients.
Learn more about Sanna Marin
Sanna Marin was appointed Prime Minister of Finland in December 2019, the youngest person, at the time of her appointment, ever to serve as a head of any government. First elected to Parliament in 2015, she is leading a parliamentary coalition entirely headed by women and a majority-woman cabinet. A stalwart opponent of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, she has been an outspoken advocate for her nation joining the NATO alliance. She has been credited with steady and effective leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic, and is a member of the vanguard of a new generation of European leadership. She was the first member of her family to go to college.
Carolyn Bertozzi, Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences and Professor of Chemistry at Stanford University, will receive a Doctor of Science, honoris causa.
Learn more about Carolyn Bertozzi
Carolyn Bertozzi is the Baker Family Director of Sarafan Stanford ChEM-H and the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Humanities and Sciences in the Department of Chemistry at Stanford University. She is also an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Her research focuses on profiling changes in cell surface glycosylation associated with cancer, inflammation, and infection, and exploiting this information for the development of diagnostic and therapeutic approaches, most recently in the area of immuno-oncology. Most recently she was awarded the Wolf Prize in Chemistry, Dr H.P. Heineken Prize for Biochemistry and Biophysics, and Welch Prize in Chemistry. In 2022, she received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
Misty Copeland, Principal Dancer, American Ballet Theatre, will receive a Doctor of Fine Arts, honoris causa.
Learn more about Misty Copeland
Misty Copeland is a Principal Dancer with American Ballet Theatre, the first Black woman to be promoted to the position in the company's 75-year history in 2015. She has performed some of the most iconic classical ballet roles, including Odette/Odile in Swan Lake; Juliet in Romeo & Juliet; Giselle; Manon; Coppelia; Kitri in Don Quixote; and Firebird, to name a few. Copeland is an avid philanthropist and an ambassador of Boys & Girls Clubs of America and MindLeaps, an arts education program based in Rwanda. In 2022, Misty launched The Misty Copeland Foundation, with its first signature program BE BOLD, which aims to bring greater diversity, equity, and inclusion to dance. A New York Times bestselling author, she was named to Time Magazine's "Time 100." In 2021, Misty was the recipient of the Spingarn Medal, the NAACP’s highest honor.
Freeman A. Hrabowski
Freeman A. Hrabowski, President Emeritus of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, will receive a Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.
Learn more about Freeman A. Hrabowski
Freeman A. Hrabowski served as The University of Maryland, Baltimore County president from 1992 to 2022. A member of the National Academy of Engineering, his research and publications focus on science and math education, with special emphasis on minority participation and performance. In 2012, Hrabowski was named by President Obama to chair the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans. In addition, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute launched the Freeman Hrabowski Scholars Program ($1.5 billion) to help build a scientific workforce that more fully reflects our increasingly diverse country. In October 2022, Hrabowski was named the inaugural Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Lecture Speaker by Harvard University.
Presidential Medal, Gallatin Medal, and Rudin Award
These distinguished individuals will recognized at other Commencement events.
The Presidential Medal will be presented to Salman Rushdie — the renowned, Indian-born Booker Prize-winning novelist and Distinguished Writer in Residence at NYU's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute — for his literary mastery and his courage in sustaining the principle of the free exchange of ideas in the face of threats and grievous physical attacks.
The Lewis Rudin Award for Exemplary Service to New York City will be presented to Dennis Walcott — a social worker, former head of the New York Urban League, former member of the NYC Board of Education, former Deputy Mayor for Education, former New York City Schools Chancellor, and currently President and CEO of the Queens Public Library — for his extraordinary record of public service to New Yorkers.
The Albert Gallatin Medal for Outstanding Contributions to Society will be presented to NYU Trustee and Chailease Group Chair Andre J.L. Koo (STERN '94) for his visionary leadership and landmark support of the Stern School of Business, enabling countless students to achieve the NYU dream and serving as a catalyst for NYU to excel as a leading global institution.