Six celebrated individuals will receive honorary degrees at UNC’s Spring Commencement on Sunday.
Additionally, media and entertainment innovator Jason Kilar will deliver the commencement address. Kilar, who graduated from Carolina in 1993, is the co-founder and CEO of Vessel, and was previously the founding CEO of Hulu.
Commencement will be held in Kenan Stadium beginning at 9 a.m. Chancellor Carol L. Folt will preside.
As of May 5, the University registrar estimated that 6,053 students will graduate Sunday: 3,769 with bachelor’s, 1,419 with masters, 217 with doctoral and 648 with professional degrees from the schools of dentistry, law, medicine, nursing and pharmacy.
This year’s honorary degree recipients are:
▪ Catarina de Albuquerque (Doctor of Laws)
Catarina de Albuquerque is a world-renowned international human rights lawyer and advocate. She earned her law degree from the University of Lisbon and completed the master’s program in international relations-international law branch at the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva.
Throughout her career, Albuquerque has focused her efforts behind issues surrounding health and human rights worldwide. From 2004 to 2008 she presided over United Nations negotiations in regards to the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, resulting in an agreement allowing individuals to present complaints before the U.N. against their own governments for alleged violations of socio-economic rights.
Albuquerque also served as the first U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Right to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation, holding the position until 2014. She currently serves as the vice chair of Sanitation and Water for All (SWA), a global partnership of more than 90 developing countries’ governments, donors, civil society organizations and others working toward universal access to safe water and adequate sanitation.
▪ Peter Ware Higgs (Doctor of Science)
Due to an inability to attend the May commencement, Peter Higgs received the degree of Doctor of Science honoris causa from Chancellor Carol Folt on March 3, at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, where he is a professor of physics and astronomy emeritus.
Higgs received the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics “for the theoretical discovery of a mechanism that contributes to our understanding of the origin of mass of subatomic particles.”
Higgs and others advanced the theory that elementary particles acquire their mass from their interactions with the Higgs field, also of his namesake, that permeates all space. Finding the Higgs boson-like particle means the Higgs field really exists.
▪ Mary Elizabeth Junck (Doctor of Laws)
Junck is chief executive officer and chair of Lee Enterprises, a major newspaper corporation and currently is chair of the board of the Associated Press, America’s leading international news service.
Facing challenges in the digital age against a traditional economic media model, Junck guided Lee Enterprises by building on the company’s commitment to community values. She built a leadership team to support the business’s growth and prepare the company for increased change. Prior to joining Lee, Junck held several key executive positions at the former Times Mirror Company. She began her career with the Charlotte Observer.
Junck has been a generous and committed supporter of her alma mater, UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication, including her endowment of the Mary Junck Colloquium, an initiative aimed at bringing scholars together to share insights into the world of media.
▪ R. Charles Loudermilk Sr. (Doctor of Laws)
Loudermilk is an entrepreneur, philanthropist, business and community leader, and consensus builder. He founded Aaron Rents, Inc. in 1955, leading the company until retiring in 2012 and is now chair emeritus.
Loudermilk is a leading member of the Atlanta business community and has been a member of the Atlanta Rotary Club for more than 50 years. He served as co-chair of the Atlanta Action Forum, a small but influential biracial group of behind-the-scenes business leaders who helped establish Atlanta as a role model for racial integration during the 1960s. He co-chaired mayoral campaigns for Andrew Young in 1981 and 1985 and was integral in bringing the 1996 Summer Olympics to Atlanta.
Loudermilk earned his degree in business administration from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1950 and has been a generous supporter of his alma mater. He helped fund construction of the Kenan-Flagler Business School’s McColl Building and the Paul J. Rizzo Conference Center at Meadowmont. Loudermilk also donated the funds to build Kenan Stadium’s Loudermilk Center for Excellence, which serves Carolina’s 800 student-athletes across 28 sports.
▪ Charles W. Millard III (Doctor of Fine Arts)
Millard is a nationally recognized art history scholar, writer and curator who served as director of the Ackland Art Museum from 1986 to 1993, transforming the museum in several important ways.
Millard published a well-regarded book on Degas’ sculpture in 1979 and continued his scholarly contributions by writing on subjects ranging from Cubism to modern architecture to pottery to photography.
During his seven years as director of the Ackland, Millard added more than 800 works to the collection, established an education program with an interdisciplinary University liaison, expanded the museum’s staff and accomplished a complete renovation of the Ackland building. Millard continues to be active on the Ackland’s National Advisory Board.
In 2010, Millard sold a personal small sculpture to establish the Tyche Foundation, which then purchased 51 works of art specifically chosen to fill gaps in the Ackland collection.
▪ Wyndham Robertson (Doctor of Laws)
Wyndham Robertson is a pioneer among women in journalism. She joined Fortune magazine in 1961, was promoted to researcher-reporter shortly thereafter, and began writing its landmark personal investing column in 1968. In 1974, Robertson was elected to Fortune’s board of editors in 1974 and became the magazine’s first female assistant managing editor in 1981. Robertson also served as business editor of Time magazine.
In 1986, Robertson left journalism when she was asked by UNC President C. D. Spangler Jr. to become the University’s first female vice president. Robertson spent the last decade of her career as the vice president for communications at UNC, including overseeing the UNC Center for Public Television.
In 2013 she was inducted into the North Carolina Halls of Fame in Journalism, Advertising and Public Relations. Currently she is a director of Media General, which owns some 70 television stations throughout the United States, and is on the board of many nonprofits, including the Carolina Performing Arts International Advisory Board, the Friends of the Playmakers Advisory Board, the Stewards Fund and the Robertson Foundation.
Take the shuttle
Chapel Hill Transit will provide Tar Heel Express Shuttle Service from 6:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sunday, May 10, for the UNC-Chapel Hill Commencement Ceremony at Kenan Stadium. Chapel Hill Transit shuttles will operate from the Friday Center (100 Friday Center Drive, Chapel Hill) park and ride lots to Kenan Stadium on Stadium Drive (Gate 2). Buses will run every 10 to 15 minutes, providing continuous and fully accessible service between the park and rides and Kenan Stadium. The shuttles and parking at the Friday Center will be FREE.
Riders, especially graduates, are encouraged to arrive at the park and ride lots at least one hour prior to the start of the ceremony to allow for possible traffic delays.
For those wishing to stay on campus longer, Carolina Livery will provide shuttle service from 12:30 to 5:30 p.m. Carolina Livery shuttles will loop campus making stops at the Student Union, the Old Well on Cameron Avenue and the Dean E. Smith Center and returning to the Friday Center park and ride lots.