Whitney R. Harris to Receive Honorary Degree


Maryville University will hold both morning and afternoon convocations to honor doctoral candidates in the School of Education on Saturday, Dec. 13. During the later ceremony, Whitney R. Harris, JD, longtime proponent of international justice, will be presented with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.

Beginning at 10 a.m., a cohort of 21 doctoral candidates will be formally recognized; at 1 p.m., a second cohort of 24 school leaders from the Hazelwood School District will be honored. Maryville began its doctoral programs in education in fall 2005.

“Concluding two doctoral cohorts from our innovative doctoral program at the same time will provide a substantial number of high quality leaders for area schools,” said Sam Hausfather, Ph.D., dean of the School of Education. “In particular, our Hazelwood cohort has made a significant positive impact on the district and will continue to make a difference in school achievement.”

Harris will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree by Mark Lombardi, Ph.D., president of Maryville University, and Thomas M. Boudreau, chair of the Board of Trustees. Maryville will pay tribute to Harris for his lifetime of extraordinary service in international, national and local circles as a scholar, soldier, attorney, educator, author, humanitarian, ecologist and philanthropist. Harris has been the recipient of innumerable awards and recognitions for his distinguished service and generosity.

Perhaps best known for having played a crucial role in prosecuting key figures of the Nazi regime during the Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, Harris also served as a delegate to the 1998 conference in Rome that brought about a treaty to create the International Criminal Court. A prominent leader in world conservation efforts, Harris also supports a wide variety of civic and charitable causes in St. Louis.

While doctoral graduates are invited to take part in commencement exercises held in May 2009, this month’s convocations, each of which will also feature hooding ceremonies, provide an opportunity for the University to recognize School of Education doctoral candidates in a more personal setting. Graduates are given the opportunity to share stories or highlights of their academic experience and thank those who helped them reach this pinnacle.

Candidates will receive their doctoral hoods from faculty advisors. Hoods (similar to small capes) are designed according to national academic code; thus, the black hoods bestowed during the ceremony will be trimmed in light blue, representing the education division, and lined in a chevron of red and white, Maryville’s school colors.

Along with Maryville University faculty and staff, the families and friends of doctoral candidates are invited to attend the convocations.