MEDIA ADVISORY: Washington University Commencement is 9 a.m. Friday, May 20

Astronaut Mae Jemison, Andy and Barbara Taylor among honorary degree recipients

WHAT: Washington University’s 161st Commencement. The university will bestow academic degrees on approximately 3,800 members of the Class of 2022. The university also will bestow honorary degrees on five individuals.

And for the first time, the universitywide ceremony will be followed by an all-school Commencement festival from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The festival will feature local food and beverages, games, photo opportunities and live entertainment stretching from Mudd Field on the western edge of the Danforth Campus to Tisch Park on the east end. 

WHO: Mae Jemison, MD, the first woman of color to become a NASA astronaut and to travel into space, will deliver the Commencement address and receive an honorary doctor of science degree.

The other honorary degree recipients and their degrees are:

  • Brian K. Kobilka, MD, the Hélène Irwin Fagan Chair in Cardiology and a professor in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology at Stanford University School of Medicine and Nobel Prize winner, doctor of science;
  • Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina justice and the third woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, doctor of laws;
  • Andrew C. (Andy) Taylor, executive chairman of Enterprise Holdings Inc., a life trustee and dedicated benefactor at Washington University and a noted civic leader and philanthropist, doctor of humanities; and
  • Barbara Broadhurst Taylor, a longtime supporter of St. Louis’ civic and cultural organizations and advocate for the region’s progress, doctor of humanities.

Sotomayor will not be on campus for the Commencement ceremony. A recording of the justice being presented her honorary degree while she visited the university last month will be shown during the ceremony. She spoke before a crowd of more than 3,000 students, faculty and staff during a question-and-answer session April 5 in the Field House.

Members of the classes of 1970, 1971 and 1972 celebrating their 50th reunions also will attend the ceremony.

WHERE: Francis Olympic Field, at Forsyth Boulevard and Olympian Way, near Big Bend Boulevard

WHEN: 9 a.m. Friday, May 20, 2022

MEDIA RESERVED SEATING: News organizations sending a reporter to Commencement should call Sue Killenberg McGinn by 5 p.m. Thursday, May 19, to make arrangements for a reserved seat.

A mult box will be available near the stage. The reserved media seats are in the chancellor’s section, on the eastern side of Francis Olympic Field, closest to the main gate.

MEDIA PARKING: Parking will be available on a first-come, first-served basis in front of Blewett Hall, 6500 Forsyth Blvd. From Forsyth Boulevard, turn south onto Wallace Circle drive; media parking is on the surface lot immediately on the right.

For more information the morning of Commencement, call Sue Killenberg McGinn at 314-603-6008.

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