Skip to main content
Mayor Michael Bloomberg

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg will speak, and he and four other luminaries will receive honorary degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill during the May 13 Commencement ceremony.

Chancellor Holden Thorp will preside at the ceremony at 9:30 a.m. in Kenan Stadium.

This year’s honorary degree recipients are:

  • Michael R. Bloomberg, mayor of the City of New York, of New York, who will receive a doctor of laws degree;
  • David S. Ferriero, archivist of the United States, of Washington, D.C., who will receive a doctor of laws degree;
  • Thomas W. Lambeth, retired executive director of the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, of Winston-Salem, who will receive a doctor of letters degree;
  • Branford Marsalis, world-renowned saxophonist, of Durham, who will receive a doctor of music degree; and
  • Katharine Lee Reid, retired director of the Cleveland Museum of Art, of Chapel Hill, who will receive a doctor of fine arts degree.

Bloomberg attended Johns Hopkins University and earned a master of business administration degree from Harvard Business School. He began his career with Salomon Brothers, a prominent Wall Street investment bank, where he eventually headed up the firm’s information systems. After Salomon was acquired in 1981 and he was let go, Bloomberg went on to create Bloomberg LP, a company that now has about 15,000 employees worldwide and more than 300,000 subscribers to its global financial news and information service. In 2001, he was elected mayor just two months after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. He has helped build the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University into a leading institution of public health research and training.

Ferriero is the first professional librarian to become archivist of the United States. He is charged with preserving the nation’s official permanent records, now estimated at about 9 billion pages of text, as well as many millions of maps, charts, drawings, photographs, digital data sets, films and videos. Before accepting the post in 2009, Ferriero was the Andrew W. Mellon Director of the New York Public Libraries, where he integrated the four research libraries and 87 branch libraries to create the largest public library system in the United States.  He began his career at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Library, where he remained for 31 years, rising to the position of acting co-director of libraries. In 1996, he was recruited to Duke University to be university librarian and vice provost for library affairs.

Lambeth, a native Tar Heel, received his bachelor’s degree in history from Carolina in 1957. Lambeth was Gov. Terry Sanford’s chief administrative assistant and later was administrative assistant to U.S. Rep. Richardson Preyer.  Lambeth capped his career with 23 years of service as executive director of the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, where he remains a senior fellow after retirement.  At Carolina, he chaired the Board of Trustees for two years, received the board’s William Richardson Davie Award and was honored with the establishment of the Thomas Willis Lambeth Distinguished Professorship and the Lambeth Lecture in Public Policy.

Marsalis is a member of one of New Orleans’ most distinguished musical families, which includes his father, Ellis, and his siblings Wynton, Delfeayo and Jason. In 2011, the Marsalis Family was honored with the National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters award. Marsalis, a three-time Grammy recipient, is a keeper of the history of American jazz and has performed with major symphony orchestras. Marsalis has shared his musical knowledge in faculty positions at Michigan State University, San Francisco State University and currently at N.C. Central University, where his quartet serves as artists-in-residence. After Hurricane Katrina’s destruction of New Orleans, Marsalis and Harry Connick Jr. conceived the New Orleans Habitat Musicians’ Village in the hard-hit Ninth Ward. The centerpiece of this effort is the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music.

Reid has had a 40-year career as an art museum curator, administrator and director. At a time when few women held leadership positions in large museums, Reid served as assistant and later deputy director of the Art Institute of Chicago (1982-91), director of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (1991-2000) and director of the Cleveland Museum of Art (2000-2005). She also was curator at UNC’s Ackland Art Museum.  Reid held leadership positions with the Association of Art Museum Directors, was a presidential appointee  to the U.S. Department of State’s Cultural Property Advisory Committee and participated in the Getty Leadership Institute at Claremont Graduate University.

Other Commencement information

The doctoral hooding ceremony will be held May 12 at 10 a.m. at the Dean E. Smith Center. No ticket is required to attend. Marc Levoy, whose career achievements include developing the cartoon animation system used in “The Flintstones” television show and launching Google’s Street View project, is the speaker. Levoy, who received his doctoral degree in computer science from Carolina in 1989, is the VMWare Founders Professor of Computer Science at Stanford University, with a joint appointment in Stanford’s electrical engineering department. He helped create the field of computational photography.

The undergraduate baccalaureate program will take place at 3 p.m. May 12 in the Great Hall of the Student Union. Chancellor Thorp, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Winston Crisp, students and members of the Campus Ministers’ Association will speak.

The Commencement ceremony will be held in Kenan Stadium, rain or shine, and tickets are not necessary. If it rains during Commencement, the ceremony could be shortened, but it will not be relocated. If severe weather threatens and attendees’ safety is at risk, the ceremony will be canceled.

The UNC Department of Public Safety recommends that graduates and guests use park-and-ride shuttles at the Friday Center and at University Mall. Parking and shuttles are also available on the southern side of campus, along Manning Drive. For complete parking and traffic information, go to

Comments are closed.