Historic Slate of Honorary Degree Recipients Celebrates Exemplary Leaders Changing the World for Good

June 07, 2024

Berkley has also served as chair of the Achievement First charter school board. Most recently, he was a recipient of the 2024 Horatio Alger Award and NYU’s Eugene J. Keogh Award for Distinguished Public Service. Hilferty will receive the University Medal for her monumental contributions to NYU and for advancing the University’s legacy in the arts. Johnson will receive the University Medal for her outstanding contributions as an alumna of NYU. The Presidential Medal, the Gallatin Medal, and the Rudin Award are presented at pre-Commencement events.

The Lewis Rudin Award for Exemplary Service to New York City will be presented to Anthony W. Marx, the president of the New York Public Library, the nation’s largest and most utilized library system. He has strengthened the NYPL’s commitment to underserved New Yorkers by creating literacy and after-school programs for children, increasing free English language classes and citizenship support programs for immigrants, bridging the digital divide among disparate economic groups, and expanding access to e-books and computer classes to further literacy.

The Albert Gallatin Medal for Outstanding Contributions to Society will be presented to William R. Berkley (Stern ’66), executive chairman, W.R. Berkley Corporation, and chair emeritus and executive vice chair of the NYU Board of Trustees. He founded the W.R. Berkley Corporation, a Fortune 500 property-casualty insurance holding company, in 1967, and has served as vice chair of both the Georgetown University and the University of Connecticut boards. Berkley has also served as chair of the Achievement First charter school board. Most recently, he was a recipient of the 2024 Horatio Alger Award and NYU’s Eugene J. Keogh Award for Distinguished Public Service. As a member of the Stern School of Business Executive Board (former chairman), the NYU President’s Global Council, and the NYU Langone Health Board, an NYU Trustee since 1995, and Board Chair from 2015 to 2023, Berkley has devoted himself to NYU and has been a primary force in its unprecedented trajectory.

Susan Hilferty—arts professor and former chair for 25 years of the Department of Design for Stage & Film at NYU Tisch School of the Arts—will introduce a special performance at this year’s ceremony from the hit show Wicked. A renowned designer for more than 400 productions worldwide, Hilferty created enchanting costumes for Wicked that earned the Tony Award for Best Costume Design in 2004. Her other Broadway credits include Spring AwakeningParadeFunny Girl, and Into the Woods, to name just a few. Hilferty has also designed at the Metropolitan Opera, including RigolettoLa Traviata, and the upcoming Aida, and over 40 productions with South African playwright Athol Fugard. Hilferty will receive the University Medal for her monumental contributions to NYU and for advancing the University’s legacy in the arts.

The Wicked performance at Commencement will pay tribute to the friendship and resilience of the Class of 2024 and will recognize the NYU community’s enduring mark on the show—a global phenomenon that is currently celebrating its 20th anniversary. The performance will feature Brittney Johnson (TSOA ’12), an accomplished actress and singer who made history as the first Black woman to play the role of Glinda in Wicked on Broadway. Johnson, who is an ambassador for the (RED) organization and a voiceover and commercial artist, has also starred in Les MisérablesMotown The MusicalBeautiful: The Carole King MusicalSunset Boulevard, and Kristin Chenoweth: For the Girls. In 2023, she was the face of Prudential and Playbill’s “Stages on Broadway” nationwide contest. Johnson will receive the University Medal for her outstanding contributions as an alumna of NYU.

The Presidential Medal, the Gallatin Medal, and the Rudin Award are presented at pre-Commencement events.

In honor of NYU’s Class of 2024 graduates, the Empire State building will be lit in NYU violet on the evening of Thursday, May 16, 2024. For more information, please visit the NYU Commencement site.

Founded in 1831, NYU is one of the world’s foremost research universities (with more than $1 billion per year in research expenditures, it is ranked seventh among private research universities) and is a member of the selective Association of American Universities. NYU has degree-granting university campuses in New York, Abu Dhabi, and Shanghai and has 13 other global academic sites, including London, Paris, Florence, Tel Aviv, Buenos Aires, and Accra, and US sites in Washington, DC, Los Angeles, CA, and Tulsa, OK. Through its numerous schools and colleges, NYU is a leader in conducting research and providing education in the arts and sciences, law, medicine, business, dentistry, engineering, education, nursing, the cinematic and performing arts, music and studio arts, public service, social work, public health, and professional studies, among other areas.

The source of this news is from New York University

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