University Announces 2017 Honorary Degree Recipients

U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, Lt. Gen. Nadja West and Washington Post Executive Editor Marty Baron will be honored at university-wide Commencement ceremony in May.

nadja west, tammy duckworth, marty baron
From left to right: Lt. Gen. Nadja West, U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth and Washington Post Executive Editor Marty Baron, who will be recognized at Commencement for their leadership and commitment to public service.
March 06, 2017

Commencement speaker and U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, Lt. Gen. Nadja West and Washington Post Executive Editor Marty Baron will receive honorary degrees at the George Washington University Commencement on May 21.

Each will receive an honorary degree of doctor of public service.

“We are honored to celebrate these distinguished and accomplished leaders who have shown a remarkable commitment to public service,” George Washington President Steven Knapp said. “They will be an inspiration to our graduates as they embark on their futures as the citizen leaders our university strives to contribute to the nation and the world.”

Sen. Duckworth, M.A. ’92, who will also deliver the Commencement address, was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2016 after serving two terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. Sen. Duckworth has been a staunch advocate for supporting, protecting and keeping promises made to veterans.

Sen. Duckworth (D-Ill.) is a former assistant secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs and was among the first Army women to fly combat missions during Operation Iraqi Freedom. A member of the Reserve Forces for 23 years before retiring in 2014, she became an advocate for her fellow soldiers and others with disabilities while she was recovering from combat wounds she received after her Black Hawk helicopter was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade. Sen. Duckworth has also been honored with the Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award and the university’s inaugural Colin Powell Public Service Award.

Dr. West, M.D. ’88, is the 44th surgeon general of the United States Army and commanding general, U.S. Army Medical Command. Dr. West has served in a variety of leadership positions that span the globe and has commanded at the Army Community Hospital, Army Medical Center and Regional Medical Command levels. Before being named surgeon general, she served as the U.S. Joint Staff surgeon.

The university honored Dr. West in October 2016 with the Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award, and she will also address graduating students at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences’ M.D. celebration after university Commencement.

Mr. Baron, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, joined the Post in 2013 and manages its news operation. He is known for overseeing high-impact investigative journalism. During his time at The Post, the newspaper has won Pulitzers for coverage of secret surveillance by the National Security Agency, the food stamps program in America, security lapses in the U.S. Secret Service and a project detailing every killing by a police officer in the United States in 2015. Previously, he was editor of The Boston Globe when the newspaper investigated the cover up of widespread sexual abuse by Catholic priests that inspired the film “Spotlight.” He also was executive editor of The Miami Herald and worked at The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times.

This year’s honorary degree recipients join a distinguished list, including U.S. Sen. Cory A. Booker (D-N.J.), Apple CEO Tim Cook, award-winning actress and alumna Kerry Washington, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, then-First Lady Michelle Obama, former President George H.W. Bush and former First Lady Barbara Bush, then-First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton and world-renowned chef and humanitarian José Andrés.

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U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth to Deliver GW Commencement Address

February 21, 2017
The GW alumna, combat veteran and Purple Heart recipient said she looks forward to encouraging graduates to “go out and make a difference in the world.”