Carnegie Mellon University

Honorary Degrees

An honorary degree is one of the highest distinctions the university bestows upon an individual, and awarding them is a long-standing tradition. Honorary degree recipients are an inspiration to the Carnegie Mellon community. The tradition reinforces the significance of the university in the world and honors those who have made an impact in the arts, business, computer science, engineering, humanities, policy, sciences or social sciences.

Each year, students, staff, faculty and alumni are invited and encouraged to nominate candidates to be considered as recipients of honorary degrees from Carnegie Mellon University. 

2024 Honorary Degree Recipients

charles-evans_600x800.pngCharles L. Evans (TPR 1985, 1989)
Former President and CEO, Federal Bank of Chicago
Doctor of Public Service

Charles L. Evans is a 31-year veteran of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. As an advisor and policymaker attending Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meetings since 1995, his policy experiences span a broad set of episodes unique in post-war economic history. He became president and CEO in September 2007 and served for 15 years. During this time, Charlie was recognized as a significant strategic thought leader on the FOMC. His continued advocacy for transparent communications and forward guidance facilitated the committee’s adoption of the Evans rule in December 2012, more explicit committee projections for future policy rates, and enhancements to the long-run strategy of the committee for making monetary policy.

Evans is an accomplished economic researcher, with publications in top-ranked, peer-reviewed journals. His empirical research has focused on measuring the effects of monetary policy on U.S. economic activity, inflation and financial market prices. His contributions on dynamic modeling are widely cited and have been incorporated in central bank models around the world to assess policy effectiveness.

As a long-time Federal Reserve executive, he chaired Federal Reserve System committees that oversaw strategic assessments of Federal Reserve Bank operations during the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as investment activities to fund both defined benefit and defined contribution retirement plans for over 20,000 employees.

Evans has taught at the University of Chicago, the University of Michigan and the University of South Carolina. He received a bachelor's degree with high honors in economics from the University of Virginia and a master’s and doctoral degree in economics from Carnegie Mellon University.

renee-elise-goldsberry_600x800.pngRenée Elise Goldsberry (CFA 1993)
Tony and Grammy Award winning artist
Doctor of Fine Arts

Renée Elise Goldsberry is a multi-hyphenate actress and singer who has delivered award-winning performances both on Broadway and on screen. She is perhaps best known for originating the role of Angelica Schuyler in the musical phenomenon “Hamilton,” which has become a cultural touchstone for the ages. Renée’s performance earned her a Tony Award, Grammy Award, Drama Desk Award and a Lucille Lortel Award. She was also nominated for an Emmy Award for the Disney+ film adaptation. 

Renee currently stars in Tina Fey’s Emmy nominated series, “Girls5eva,” and she received a Critics Choice nomination for Best Actress in a Comedy Series for this role. Other highlights from her film and television career include starring in the Marvel Universe as Mallory Book in “She Hulk” on Disney+, A24’s critical darling “Waves”WAVES opposite Sterling K. Brown, the Netflix series “Altered Carbon,”  cult favorite “Original Cast Album: Co-Op” episode of “Documentary Now,” “The Good Wife,” “The House with a Clock in its Walls,” “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” and her creation of the beloved character Evangeline Williamson on ABC's “One Life to Live,” for which she received two Daytime Emmy nominations and two NAACP Image Award nominations.  

Renée's appearances on stage include her Outer Critics Circle Award nominated performance in the play “Good People” and the original Broadway version of “The Color Purple.” She made her Broadway debut as Nala in “The Lion King,” and her performance as Mimi in Broadway's closing cast of “Rent” was immortalized on film. Most recently, Renée starred as Prospero in The Public Theatre’s production of “The Tempest.” 

As a solo artist, Renee garners rave reviews performing to packed crowds in concert halls and symphony spaces all over the country. 


Reeta Roy
CEO and President, Mastercard Foundation
Keynote Speaker and Doctor of Humane Letters

Reeta Roy has been the President and CEO of the Mastercard Foundation since 2008. She has transformed the Foundation from a four-person startup into a high-impact global organization that has committed $8 billion to its programs, improving the lives of millions of young people in Africa. Under Reeta’s leadership, the Foundation launched the Young Africa Works strategy to enable 30 million young people across the continent to access dignified and fulfilling work by 2030. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Reeta worked swiftly with the Board to launch “Saving Lives and Livelihoods,” an unprecedented $1.5 billion partnership with the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, hailed by donors as a model to address global inequities. In Phase Two of the partnership, the initiative has dedicated significant resources to safeguarding the health security of Africa by strengthening public health systems and building a robust regional vaccine manufacturing capacity.  

Reeta credits her upbringing in Malaysia for her ability to listen and build relationships across cultures. Following her father’s death, her mother mortgaged the family’s sole asset, a modest house, to enable Reeta to attend high school in the U.S. After earning a Bachelor of Arts degree at St. Andrews Presbyterian College (1986), she graduated from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University with a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy (1989). 

She launched her professional career at the United Nations before transitioning into the private sector. She spent 17 years in the healthcare industry, first at Bristol-Myers Squibb serving in global roles, including a three-year assignment in China where she facilitated a turnaround of the business; then at Abbott as the inaugural Divisional Vice President of Global Citizenship and Policy. Reeta built this new function, shaping company policy on access to medicines, expanding public health programs, and contributing to Abbott’s listing on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index.

The recipient of eight honorary doctorate degrees, Reeta is a member of the African Transformation Leadership Panel and of the Advisory Board of the Schwartz Reisman Institute for Technology and Society at the University of Toronto.

bill-strecker_600x800-v2.pngWilliam D. Strecker (ENG 1966, 1967, 1971)
Retired Executive Vice President and CTO, In-Q-Tel
Doctor of Science and Technology

Carnegie Mellon University alumnus William D Strecker (Bill) is a distinguished pioneer in computer architecture and electrical engineering whose body of work and leadership in the computing industry produced revolutionary technological breakthroughs. Bill received his bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees from CMU in electrical engineering, working with noted CMU professors Angel Jordan and Gordon Bell. He began his career at the RCA Research Labs before joining Digital Equipment Corporation where he worked for nearly three decades, serving as consulting engineer, senior vice president of engineering, chief technology officer, and senior vice president of corporate strategy.  

Bill is best known for his role as the chief architect of Digital's highly successful flagship VAX computer, earning 16 patents for his cutting-edge engineering designs and contributions to local area networks, high performance interconnects, caches and memory hierarchies. Bill later served as senior vice president of technology and corporate development at Compaq Computer Corporation and joined Flagship Ventures as a general partner and director of Flagship's portfolio of computer technology companies. He concluded his career as chief technology officer and executive vice president at In-Q-Tel, a nonprofit working with commercial startups to provide innovative "off the shelf" technology to the U.S. intelligence community.  

During his consequential career Bill, a lifetime member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, authored numerous technical publications and was honored with the IEEE W. Wallace McDowell Award for outstanding contribution to the computer art. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering and named a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery in recognition of outstanding technical and professional achievements in the field of information technology. Bill received CMU's Alumni Achievement Award in 2018 for his pioneering impact in computer architecture and engineering.