NYU To Award CUNY Chancellor and Taylor Swift with Honorary Degrees

By Niko Balkaran

Chancellor Félix Matos Rodríguez will receive an honorary degree alongside Taylor Swift. The pair are just two honorees who will be awarded degrees at NYU’s 188th and 189th Commencement Exercises on May 18 at Yankee Stadium.

Chancellor Rodríguez will receive a Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, according to an NYU news release.

“Chancellor Matos Rodríguez is the first BIPOC educator and the first Latino to lead the nation’s largest urban public university, serving 270,000 degree-seeking students and 225,000 adult and continuing education students in 25 campuses across New York City’s five boroughs,” the news release continued. “Chancellor Matos Rodríguez’s distinguished career spans both academia and the public sector: He is a scholar, teacher, administrator, and former cabinet secretary for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Chancellor Matos Rodríguez previously served as the president of Queens College and of Hostos Community College, making him one of a select few US educators to have been president of both a community and baccalaureate institution.”

On the other hand, Swift is set to receive a Doctor of Fine Arts, honoris causa. The news release lists Swift’s many accomplishments as reasons for awarding her the degree. These include her being the only female artist to win Album of the Year three times at the Grammy Awards.

Other recipients include Judith Heumann, a disability rights advocate; Susan Hockfield, President Emerita of MIT; Lonnie G. Bunch III, secretary of the Smithsonian Institution and Jill Lepore, a Harvard professor and journalist.

The Commencement Exercises will honor the classes of 2022 and also 2020 and 2021 since their commencement was put on hold because of the pandemic. The event is being considered an “unprecedented doubleheader.”

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