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Carnegie Mellon University Announces 2024 Honorary Degree Recipients

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Peter Kerwin
University Communications & Marketing

Carnegie Mellon University will award honorary degrees(opens in new window) to four individuals at its 2024 Commencement(opens in new window) ceremony set for Sunday, May 12 in Gesling Stadium. The recipients will be recognized for their public service, advocacy, business insights, award-winning talent and technological innovation.

Reeta Roy, president and CEO of the Mastercard Foundation will be the Commencement speaker and receive an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.

“In a fractured world, it is more important than ever for future leaders to transcend simplistic labels and limitations others may apply to them," said Roy. "Now is the time to know your own values. To see opportunity in challenges and change. To seek out and share the humanity in our differences. And above all, to inspire each other. CMU's Class of 2024 goes out into the world prepared to put their hearts in the work. I’m honored to share the stage with them.”

CMU Trustee Charles Evans, a Tepper School of Business alumnus and the retired president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, will be awarded an Honorary Doctor of Public Service degree. Evans will be the inaugural recipient of this new honorary degree. Actress, singer and songwriter Renée Elise Goldsberry, an alumna of the College of Fine Arts, will be awarded an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree. Retired technology executive William D. Strecker, an alumnus of the College of Engineering, will be awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science and Technology degree.

“This year’s honorary degree recipients have profoundly impacted our world through their contributions in business, the arts, research and engineering,” said CMU President Farnam Jahanian(opens in new window). “Their careers set inspiring precedents for our newest graduates, and I am looking forward to the opportunity to celebrate the Class of 2024’s successes with the broader Carnegie Mellon University community.”

Additionally, Sarah Chen, a 2024 graduate with University Honors, will serve as the student speaker at Commencement. Chen will earn a bachelor’s of science degree in computer science with a minor in science, technology and society. She served as the president of Delta Gamma and was heavily involved in Carnival traditions and Buggy. 

Read more about the 2024 honorary degree recipients below.

Doctor of Public Service

Charles Evans

Charles L. Evans (Trustee, TPR 1985, 1989) served as the ninth president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago from 2007 to 2023. Prior to this role, Evans worked as the bank’s director of research and senior vice president, supervising its research on monetary policy, banking, financial markets and regional economic conditions. His own research focused on measuring the effects of monetary policy on the U.S. economy, inflation and financial market prices. Evans joined our Board of Trustees last year, and we will be honoring him with the university’s first-ever Honorary Doctor of Public Service degree in May.

Doctor of Fine Arts —

Renée Elise Goldsberry

Renée Elise Goldsberry (CFA 1993) is an actress, singer and songwriter who earned Tony, Grammy, Drama Desk and Lucille Lortel awards for playing the original Angelica Schuyler in the hit Broadway musical “Hamilton.” Goldsberry currently stars in Tina Fey’s Emmy-nominated series "Girls5eva," and her acting career spans a dynamic range of roles on stage (including “The Lion King,” “The Color Purple” and “Rent”) and on screen (such as “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” “The Good Wife” and “Ally McBeal”). She is releasing a debut solo album of original music later this year. At commencement, we will recognize Goldsberry with an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree.

Doctor of Humane Letters

Reeta Roy

Reeta Roy has served as the president and CEO of the Mastercard Foundation since 2008. As president and CEO, Roy has transformed the foundation from a four-person startup to a global organization – one of the top five private foundations in the world – with assets exceeding $40 billion.

Under Roy's leadership, the foundation has committed $8 billion to its programs, which are largely focused on strengthening opportunities in Africa. Recent initiatives include Young Africa Works, an effort to connect 30 million young people in Africa to dignified and fulfilling work by 2030, as well as a historic $1.5 billion partnership with the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention aimed at boosting the equitable access and delivery of vaccines across Africa. The foundation is also a steadfast and generous supporter of our CMU-Africa campus. It has helped us advance our academic and research mission in Africa and extend a life-changing CMU graduate education to talented young people from across the continent.

Doctor of Science and Technology

William Strecker

William D. “Bill” Strecker (ENG 1966, 1967, 1971) spent nearly three decades working at Digital Equipment Corporation, including serving as the company’s senior vice president of engineering, chief technology officer and senior vice president of corporate strategy. Later, he moved into leadership roles at Compaq Computer Corporation, Flagship Ventures and In-Q-Tel, a nonprofit focused on helping startups provide technology to the U.S. intelligence community. Strecker earned 16 patents for his breakthrough engineering designs over the course of his career, and he and his wife are longtime supporters of CMU. Their generosity has established — among other opportunities — the endowed Dr. William D. and Nancy W. Strecker Dean’s Chair of the College of Engineering as well as an early career professorship in electrical and computer engineering. At commencement, we will recognize Strecker with an Honorary Doctor of Science and Technology degree.

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