Six celebrated individuals will receive honorary degrees at the Spring Commencement at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on May 10.
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 over the ceremony.
This year’s honorary degree recipients are:
Catarina de Albuquerque
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.
She has presented several times at the UNC Gillings School of Public Health, has participated in Carolina’s Water and Health conferences in 2010, 2011 and 2012. In 2013, she delivered UNC-Chapel Hill’s Health and Human Rights Lecture. Albuquerque has received many international and Portuguese national awards, including the Jean Pictet Prize in International Humanitarian Law), the Portuguese Parliament’s Human Rights Golden Medal, and the President of Portugal’s Condecoration with the Order of Merit.
Peter Ware Higgs
Doctor of Science
Due to an inability to attend the UNC–Chapel May Commencement, Peter Higgs received the degree of Doctor of Science honoris causa from Chancellor Carol Folt on March 3, 2015, at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.
Peter Higgs is professor of physics and astronomy emeritus at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. He 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 spent 1965-1966 at the Bahson Institute of Field Physics at UNC-Chapel Hill, writing a theoretical paper that lies with work completed by European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). CERN unveiled the final piece of the standard model of elementary particle physics in July 2012 with the announcement of a Higgs boson-like particle, named after Higgs. This theoretical framework describes all fundamental particles and forces except for gravity.
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
Mary 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 and a nonprofit organization that stands for the best in journalism.
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. She also supported the school’s move to Carroll Hall and made contributions that helped provide Ph.D. students office space on the faculty floors allowing for greater collaboration. Junck has served on advisory committees for the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, including representing alumni interests. She received the University Distinguished Alumna Award in 1997.
Charles Loudermilk Sr.
Charles 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. He has served on Board of Visitors and the Carolina First Campaign Committee.
Loudermilk has been recognized with the Board of Trustees’ William Richardson Davie Award and the Richard A. Baddour Carolina Leadership Academy’s Leader of Distinction Award.
Charles W. Millard III
Charles 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.
As a museum professional, he has held positions at institutions including Dumbarton Oaks, the Washington Gallery of Art and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art before being appointed the first chief curator of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington.
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 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.
Robertson was a trustee of her alma mater, Hollins University, for 31 years and served one term as chair. She chaired the Campaign for Hollins, an effort that broke fundraising records for southern women’s colleges. Hollins gave her an honorary degree in 2009, when the graduating class invited her to be their commencement speaker, and the Hollins library is named in her honor.
She has also been a generous supporter of UNC-Chapel Hill, particularly the College of Arts and Sciences and Carolina Performing Arts. Robertson has garnered numerous awards from Hollins and historical journalism associations.
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.
Published April 14, 2015