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Columbia College Chicago

2013 Honorary Degree Recipients Named

April 17, 2013

In keeping with its motto of “Creating Change,” Columbia College Chicago will honor eight leaders in the entertainment, media and arts fields with honorary degrees during its spring commencement ceremonies on May 18 and 19 in the Chicago Theatre. Each of these individuals has used their talents and abilities to create an impact on the culture around them and can serve as inspirations for the more than 2,500 students graduating over the course of the weekend. In addition, the college will honor two campus fixtures – Allen M. Turner, immediate past chairman of the board of trustees, and Dr. Warrick L. Carter, president of the college, who will retire this summer.

The college will present honorary degrees to author Jane Hamilton, musician Herbie Hancock, choreographer Lorenzo Rennie Harris, philosopher Martha Nussbaum, hospitality industry entrepreneur Joe Shanahan, artist Jessica Stockholder, writer/producer Robert Teitel and writer/producer/director George Tillman, Jr.:

Lorenzo Rennie Harris - to be honored on May 18 at 10 a.m.

Lorenzo Rennie Harris is the founder of Rennie Harris Puremovement, a hip-hop dance company dedicated to preserving and disseminating hip-hop culture through workshops, classes, hip-hop history lecture demonstrations, long term residencies, mentoring programs and public performances. He has been teaching workshops and classes at universities around the country since the age of 15, and is a spokesperson for the significance of “street” origins in dance style. Harris founded his Philadelphia-based company based on the belief that hip-hop is the most important original expression of a new generation.

Joe Shanahan - to be honored on May 18 at 1:30 p.m.

Joe Shanahan is known for founding and owning independent Chicago clubs Metro and Smart Bar, as well as his arts leadership. Opened in 1982, Metro and Smart Bar have thrived and survived to be the oldest continually owned and operated independent clubs in America. In 1993, Shanahan helped start Lincoln Square’s Daily Bar and Grill, and in 1994, he opened the Double Door, a smaller music club focused on developing new artists. He is involved with various hospitality companies in Chicago, and in 2012, purchased GMan Tavern, next door to Metro. Shanahan co-founded the North Clark Street Business Owners Association and serves as president of the group, which seeks to improve relations between businesses, residents and the City of Chicago. He serves on the boards of Chicago charities including Young Chicago Authors, Chicago Children’s Choir and Rock For Kids.

Martha Nussbaum - to be honored on May 18 at 5 p.m.

Martha Nussbaum is an associate in the Classics Department, the Divinity School, and the Political Science Department at University of Chicago as well as a member of the Committee on Southern Asian Studies and a board member of the Human Rights Program. She has taught at Harvard, Brown, and Oxford Universities and has received honorary degrees from more than forty colleges and universities across the globe. She received her bachelor’s degree from NYU and her master’s degree and doctorate from Harvard. She received the Grawemeyer Award in Education in 2002, the Barnard College Medal of Distinction in 2003, the Radcliffe Alumnae Recognition Award in 2007 and the Centennial Medal of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University in 2010. In 2009 she won the A.SK award from the German Social Science Research Council (WZB) for her contributions to social system reform and the American Philosophical Society’s Henry M. Phillips Prize in Jurisprudence. In 2012 she was awarded the Prince of Asturias Prize in the Social Sciences.

George Tillman, Jr. - to be honored Sunday, May 19 at 9 a.m.

Writer, director and producer George Tillman, Jr. (BA ’91) has consistently demonstrated the potential of cinema to be both profound and entertaining by crafting films that speak to the important issues of our times through diverse, engaging characters living in story worlds we recognize and care about. He developed his passion for movies and honed his craft and creativity at Columbia College where he formed a directing/producing partnership with fellow alumnus Robert Teitel. Together, they formed State Street Pictures. Tillman wrote and directed “Soul Food,” a film based on his childhood experiences growing up. He also directed “Men of Honor,” “Notorious,” “Faster” and the recently premiered “The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete.” Tillman is currently in development on the Miles Davis biopic “Miles: Prince of Darkness.”

Robert Teitel - to be honored Sunday, May 19 at 9 a.m.

Writer and producer Robert Teitel (BA ’90) is the producer of feature films “Roll Bounce,” “Nothing like the Holidays,” “Notorious,” “Faster,” “Jayne Mansfield’s Car,” and “The Baytown Outlaws.” His latest project, “The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete,” recently premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. In 1994, Teitel produced feature film “Scenes for the Soul,” which he followed up with the commercially successful feature “Soul Food” for Fox 2000 at 20th Century Fox. On a budget of $7.5 million, “Soul Food” grossed $43 million. Upon the release of the film, Teitel and fellow alumnus George Tillman, Jr. signed a first look production deal with Fox 2000 for their production company, State Street Pictures. State Street’s other credits include “Men of Honor,” “Barbershop” and “Barbershop 2.”

Jessica Stockholder - to be honored on May 19 at 12:30 p.m.

Jessica Stockholder is an artist who works at the intersection of painting and sculpture. Her work sometimes incorporates the architecture in which it has been conceived, blanketing the floor, scaling walls and ceiling, even spilling from windows, through doors and into the surrounding landscape. Stockholder has exhibited in North America and Europe, at venues such as the DIA Center for the Arts, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Open Air Museum in Belgium, the Power Plant in Toronto, the Whitney Museum of American Art, P.S. 1 New York, SITE Santa Fe, the Venice Biennale, Kunstmuseum St. Gallen and Mitchell-Innes & Nash Gallery in New York. She has received numerous grants including the Lucelia Artist Award from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, a Guggenheim Fellowship and several grants from the Canada Council.

Herbie Hancock - to be honored on May 19 at 4 p.m.

Herbie Hancock is a true icon of modern music. With an illustrious career spanning five decades and 14 Grammy® Awards, including 2007 Album of the Year and Best Contemporary Jazz Album for “River: The Joni Letters,” he continues to amaze audiences across the globe. Born in Chicago in 1940, Herbie was a child piano prodigy who performed a Mozart piano concerto with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at age 11. He began playing jazz in high school, initially influenced by Oscar Peterson and Bill Evans. He also developed a passion for electronics and science, and double-majored in music and electrical engineering at Grinnell College.

Jane Hamilton - to be honored on May 19 at 4 p.m.

Jane Hamilton has published six novels: “The Book of Ruth,” “A Map of the World,” “The Short History of a Prince,” Disobedience,” “When Madeline Was Young” and “Laura Rider’s Masterpiece.” Her work has won critical acclaim, appeared on bestseller lists and has even been made into movies. Both “The Book of Ruth” and “A Map of the World” were picks of Oprah’s Book Club. Her essays have been published in The New York Times and elsewhere. She has lectured around the globe, taught at Carleton College and for the Warren Wilson MFA program, and most recently has been a Columbia College visiting writer and the special guest for the Columbia College 2013 Story Week. She has served on the board of the Ragdale Foundation, a retreat for Artists and Writers, and is on the Advisory Committee for Literature for All of Us, an organization that inspires underprivileged teenagers to become lovers of books and writing.

In addition, the college will honor two campus fixtures – Allen M. Turner, immediate past chairman of the board of trustees, and Dr. Warrick L. Carter, president of the college, who will retire this summer.

Allen M. Turner - to be honored on May 19 at 12:30 p.m.

Allen M. Turner is immediate past chairman of Columbia College Chicago’s Board of Trustees. Turner has served on Columbia’s board since 2002, and as chairman of the board since 2005. In 1965, he joined the family investment firm The Pritzker Organization where he became partner. He served on the board and as board chairman and numerous arts, education and professional organizations, including McCall’s Magazine and American Family Publishers, the Goodman Theater and the Museum of Contemporary Art of Chicago. He has lectured on American Theater at Cambridge University and Yale University, was a lecturer at the School of Business Arts Management Program, University of Wisconsin, Madison and was recently appointed to the academic post of Professor at Tongji University, Shanghai, China. As a writer composer and performer, Turner performed his own work “How I Learned to Play the Piano” for the Chicago Humanities Festival and composed the children’s opera “Lost and Found” and “Esther: The Musical,” which was commissioned by the National Foundation for Jewish Culture. He received his Bachelors of Business Administration degree in 1958 from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School in 1961.

Dr. Warrick L. Carter
- to be honored on May 19 at 4 p.m.

Warrick L. Carter has served as President of Columbia College Chicago since 2000. Prior to joining Columbia, Dr. Carter was the Director of Entertainment Arts for Walt Disney Entertainment. During his tenure at Berklee College of Music he served as Dean of Faculty and then as Provost/Vice President of Academic Affairs. His teaching experience includes appointments at Governors State University, University of Maryland, Eastern Shore and Northwestern University. As a composer and performer Dr. Carter has created works for the National Endowment for the Arts, the Chicago Symphony Orchestral Association and the Chicago Chamber Orchestra, has recorded on the Mark and Capital labels and performed in concert and at festivals worldwide. He serves on the boards and advisory boards of numerous civic, educational, and professional organizations including Interlochen, International House of Blues Foundation, Rotary International, and the Lincoln Library. He holds a M.Mus. and a Ph.D. in music education from Michigan State University.

(Herbie Hancock photo credit: Douglas Kirkland)