History of Honorary Degrees

The practice of conferring honorary degrees dates from the Middle Ages, as do many of the traditions surrounding college and university commencement ceremonies. The University of Oxford awarded its first honorary degree in the 1470s. More than 200 years later, in 1692, Harvard University was the first American institution to confer honorary degrees upon individuals for outstanding contributions in a particular field of study or to society in general.

Honorary Degrees at Albertus Magnus College

Albertus Magnus College awarded its first honorary degree in 1936 to Margaret L. Keefe, superintendent of schools from 1912 to 1954 in neighboring Hamden. She was recognized for her outstanding commitment and dedication to educating Hamden’s young people.

The Doctor of Humane Letters (D.H.L.) is the most frequently awarded honorary degree here at the College, followed by Doctor of Law (LL.D.).

Honorary Degrees Awarded Through May 21, 2017

June 11, 1936  
Margaret L. Keefe LL.D
October 8, 1950  
Esther Budd, AMC’28 D.N.
Christopher Wyatt D.H.L.
June 3, 1965  
Aldo P. DeDominicis D.H.L.
Patrick J. Goode D.H.L.
Sister Madonna Murphy, AMC’37, C.S.C. D.H.L.
May 2, 1971  
John M. Golden D.H.L.
Edward Bennett Williams LL.D
June 11, 1972  
Josephine P. Bree D.H.L.
Ruth C. Gillespie D.H.L.
Margaret O’Shaughnessy Heckler, AMC’53 LL.D
Sister Marie Louise Hubert, O.P. LL.D
John F. Robinson LL.D
William Sanders LL.D
January 5, 1973  
His Majesty, Palden Thondup Namgyal LL.D
12th Consecrated Chogyal of Sikkim  
Hope Cooke Namgyla, Gyalmo of Sikkim LL.D
June 3, 1973  
Mary Daly Bain, AMC’34 D.S.
Rev. Vincent Cyril Dore, O.P. LL.D
Sister Mary Charles Gallagher LL.D
Ruth Alice Hass LL.D
Jane Dargan Humphries LL.D
Sister Irmina Longstreth, O.P. LL.D
Jaroslav Jan Pelikan D.H.L.
June 2, 1974  
The Honorable Ellen Bree Burns, AMC’44 LL.D
Francis H. Horn D.H.L.
Sister Arline Schmeer, O.P. D.S.
Archbishop John F. Whealon LL.D
May 19, 1975  
Bishop John F. Donnelly D.H.L.
Mary Etta Knapp D.H.L.
The Honorable Gloria Schaffer D.P.A.
Richard B. Sewall D.H.L.
May 23, 1976  
Bianca Contini Calabresi D.H.L.
Dean Isabel Charles D.H.L.
Mrs. Emilie N. Hansen D.H.L.
The Honorable Constance Baker Motley LL.D
May 22, 1977  
Dorothea Rudnick D.S.
Mary A. Wrenn, AMC’46 LL.D
May 21, 1978  
Raymond E. Baldwin LL.D
Maxine Schlingman D.H.L.
Mrs. Chase Going Woodhouse LL.D
May 20, 1979  
Margaret Mealey D.H.L.
May 18, 1980  
Phyllis Curtin D.H.L.
May 17, 1981  
Sister Maria Patricia Devaney, O.P. D.H.L.
Dr. M. Kathleen McGrory D.H.L.
Miss Eileen O’Neill, AMC’37 D.H.L.
May 23, 1982  
Christopher H. Buckley LL.D
Charles M. Grace D.H.L.
The Honorable Richard C. Lee LL.D
Mary Ellen Mininberg, AMC’49 D.H.L.
Sister Camilla Mullay, O.P. D.H.L.
Philip Paolella LL.D
The Honorable Lisa Aversa Richette LL.D
January 13, 1983  
Edward Cornelis Florentius Alfons D.H.L.
Schillebeeckx, O.P.  
May 22, 1983  
Dr. Henry Viscardi Jr. Ed.D.
May 20, 1984  
Anita Flannigan, AMC’37 D.H.L.
Florence Jacobson D.H.L.
The Most Reverend Thomas C. Kelly D.H.L.
Sister Melinda Rober, M.M. D.H.L.
May 19, 1985  
Mary Benevento D.H.L.
Robert J. Leeney D.H.L.
Eunice Kennedy Shriver D.H.L.
May 18, 1986  
Virgil C. Dechant D.H.L.
James A. Walsh D.H.L.
Dr. Luca E. Celantano D.H.L.
Dr. Giacominia Hippolitus (Mrs. Jean) D.H.L.
Sister Francis Clare O’Malley, O.P. D.H.L.
Sister Wilfrida Walsh, O.P. D.H.L.
May 24, 1987  
William F. Buckley Jr. D.H.L.
Elizabeth Patterson D.H.L.
May 22, 1988  
Eleanor Estes D.H.L.
Mary Brooks Griswold D.H.L.
Jean M. Handley D.H.L.
John Hersey D.H.L.
Herbert H. Pearce D.H.L.
May 21, 1989  
Dr. James P. Comer D.H.L.
Sister Joan Delaney, M.M. D.H.L.
Louis Harris D.H.L.
C. Newton Schenck, III D.H.L.
Mary Hunter Wolf D.H.L.
May 20, 1990  
Sister Anne Virginie Grimes, S.C. D.H.L.
Sister Mary Ellen Lynch, O.P. D.H.L.
The Honorable Ellen Ash Peters D.H.L.
Lloyd Richards D.H.L.
Calvin Trillin D.H.L.
Dr. Anne C. Wollack, AMC’35 D.H.L.
May 17, 1991  
Jack Africk D.H.L.
Kevin Roche D.H.L.
Sister Miriam Therese Winter, M.M.S. D.H.L.
The Honorable Lowell P. Weicker Jr. LL.D
May 17, 1992  
Philip Johnson D.H.L.
Sister Thomas Aquin Kelly, O.P. D.H.L.
Marion E. Morra D.S.
Cornell Scott D.H.L.
Vincent Scully D.H.L.
May 23, 1993  
Arvin Brown D.H.L.
Sister Louise Anthony, S.C. D.H.L.
Thomas J. Meskill LL.D
Walter H. Monteith Jr. D.H.L.
Verdell M. Roberts D.H.L.
April 10, 1994  
Susan Saint James D.H.L.
Fenmore R. Seton and Phyllis Z. Seton D.H.L.
Ella Scantlebury D.H.L.
Cesar Pelli D.H.L.
December 11, 1994  
Katrina Clark D.H.L.
Frederick Mancheski D.H.L.
June 25, 1995  
Michael Palmer D.H.L.
Ann Dechant D.H.L.
The Honorable Charles Gill D.H.L.
The Honorable Guido Calabresi LL.D
April 14, 1996  
Sister Margaret Ormond, O.P. D.H.L.
June 30, 1996  
Reverend Theodore Hesburgh, CSC D.H.L.
Alice Golden, AMC’84 D.H.L.
Harold Robles D.H.L.
June 22, 1997  
Anne Calabresi D.H.L.
Timothy Shriver D.H.L.
Ernest Borgnine D.H.L.
Daniel Cosgrove D.H.L.
January 10, 1998  
Bernard Pellegrino D.H.L.
Martha McMahon McCaffrey, AMC’54 D.S.
May 17, 1998  
Roger Angell D.H.L.
Richard J. Grossi D.H.L.
Daniel and Nancy Kops D.H.L.
Barbara L. Pearce D.H.L.
The Honorable Joseph Lieberman D.H.L.
January 17, 1999  
The Honorable JoAnne Kiely Kulawiz, AMC ’56 D.H.L.
May 16, 1999  
Harold Hongju Koh D.H.L.
Elizabeth B. Kubler D.H.L.
Edward J. Logue D.H.L.
Sr. MaryJane Paolella, ASCJ D.H.L.
May 21, 2000  
Mel Goldstein D.H.L.
Sister Mary Andrew Matesich, O.P. D.H.L.
Georges May D.H.L.
Hugh B. Price D.H.L.
Mitchell Sviridoff D.H.L.
Agnes Timpson D.H.L.
May 20, 2001  
Gerald and Joanne Anderson D.H.L.
Sr. Mary Ellen Burns, A.S.C.J. D.H.L.
Rev. Bonita Grubbs D.H.L.
John M. Lyons D.H.L.
Robert J. Lyons Sr. D.H.L.
Margaret L. MacDonough D.H.L.
May 19, 2002  
Sr. Mary Faith Geelan, O.P. D.H.L.
Sidney and Libby Glucksman D.H.L.
Willie Ruff D.H.L.
May 19, 2003  
Bishop Theodore L. Brooks D.H.L.
Frances T. “Bitsie” Clark D.H.L.
Brother Rick Curry, S.J. D.H.L.
Louis F. Tagliatela Sr. D.H.L.
May 16, 2004  
Tony Falcone D.H.L.
Sr. Dolores Liptak, RSM, AMC ’53 D.H.L.
The Honorable Flemming Norcott Jr. D.H.L.
The Reverend Joseph A. O’Hare, S.J. D.H.L.
May 15, 2005  
Gerald S. Clark D.H.L.
Alison Cunningham D.H.L.
Evelyn Garrity AMC ’48 D.H.L.
The Most Reverend Henry J. Mansell D.H.L.
September 19, 2005  
Robert F. Behan D.H.L.
May 14, 2006  
The Honorable Robert J. Callahan D.H.L.
Lorraine D. Cronin D.H.L.
Barry Svigals D.H.L.
Sr. Thoma Swanson, O.P. D.H.L.
Tomoko Takahashi, AMC ’77 D.H.L.
May 20, 2007  
David Hayes, M.F.A. D.H.L.
Joseph P. Kazickas, Ph.D. D.H.L.
Henry C. Lee, Ph.D. D.H.L.
Roslyn Milstein Meyer, Ph.D. D.H.L.
Gualberto Ruaño, M.D., Ph.D. D.H.L.
May 18, 2008  
Charles G. Crump D.H.L.
Carlton L. Highsmith D.H.L.
Thelma M. Johnson D.H.L.
Valerie F. Lewis D.H.L.
Jacqueline Noonan, M.D., AMC ’50 D.H.L.
May 19, 2009  
Sr. Anne Kilbride, O.P. D.H.L.
Margaret Badum Melady, Ph.D. D.H.L.
Honorable Thomas Patrick Melady, Ph.D. D.H.L.
May 16, 2010  
Carl A. Anderson D.H.L.
Sr. Ann Bailie, O.P. D.H.L.
Jane Nady Sigmon, AMC ’70 D.H.L.
Lula White D.H.L.
May 15, 2011  
Sr. Charles Marie Brantl, O.P., AMC ’51 D.H.L.
Sr. Mary Faith Dargan, O.P., AMC ’53 D.H.L.
Natalia Icaza Holland AMC ’40 D.H.L.
Marcus R. McCraven D.H.L.
May 20, 2012  
Dorsey L. Kendrick D.H.L.
Ragaa Mazen D.H.L.
Reverend Timothy A.Meehan D.H.L.
Joan V. O'Brien, ’46 D.H.L.
May 19, 2013  
Ms. Barbara DeBaptiste D.H.L.
The Honorable John T. Downey D.H.L.
Sister Doris Regan, O.P. D.H.L.
May 18, 2014  
Rabbi Herbert N. Brockman D.H.L.
Drew S. Days III D.H.L.
Sr. Janice McLaughlin, M.M. D.H.L.
Denys Turner D.H.L.
May 17, 2015  
Brother James Branigan, C.S.C. D.H.L.
The Honorable Toni Nathaniel Harp D.H.L.
Ellin Mulholland ’51 D.H.L.
Sr. Mauryeen O’Brien, O.P. D.H.L.
May 22, 2016  
Joseph R. Crespo D.H.L.
Claire L. Criscuolo D.H.L.
Daniel H. Diaz D.H.L.
David S. Greco D.H.L.
Monsignor Gerard G. Schmitz D.H.L.
May 21, 2017  
Reverend Robert L. Beloin D.H.L.
Kica Matos D.H.L.