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Walter Massey at the School of the Art Institute. 0

Another degree for Walter Massey–this one from Harvard

June 1st, 2017

Walter Massey, chancellor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, was presented with an honorary “Doctor of Laws” degree by Harvard University a few days ago.

I hope he has room for it on his mantel. It’s the 41st honorary degree he’s received over the years.

News of the award drew praise, of course, from SAIC’s president, Elissa Tenny.

“We know first-hand how much Walter deserves this distinction because we know how his leadership has profoundly influenced our school and communities over the last seven years,” she said in a release. “We applaud Walter on his achievements, and we are proud that he is receiving the same distinction bestowed on such diverse and accomplished luminaries as John Fitzgerald Kennedy, acclaimed painter and educator Jacob Lawrence, and writer and activist Susan Sontag.”

Before he became an advocate for the arts in Chicago, Massey was known for his scientific acumen.

He’s a physicist and the former director of the National Science Foundation, the government agency that supports scientific research. In the 1990s, he led a $205 million research project that would eventually make a world renown discovery. It found two black holes some 1.3 billion light-years away had collided and created gravitational ripples that forever changed the stratosphere.

He’s since received honorary degrees from Brown, Columbia, Howard, Morehouse, Northwestern, St. Louis, Tufts, Williams and Yale, among other universities.

It’s all in a day’s work.

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