The Board of Trustees unanimously approved the list of potential recipients of honorary degrees at its meeting Friday.
Each of the 14 people on the list – including author J.K. Rowling and Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh – will join the pool of candidates eligible to receive honorary degrees at next spring’s commencement.
University President Steven Knapp will ultimately select about three degree recipients.
“It’s also important to note that the commencement speaker may or may not be chosen from the latest Honorary Degree list,” University spokeswoman Candace Smith said in an e-mail.
The past four University commencement keynote speakers were recipients of honorary doctorates of public service. They were New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, First Lady Michelle Obama, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and civil rights activist Julian Bond.
The faculty senate, with input from students and staff, recommends the list to the Board.
This year’s eligible degree nominees include four University alumni: retired U.S. Coast Guard admiral Thad Allen, health care executive Fred Brown, Surgical Eye Expeditions International founder Harry Brown, and artist and arts advocate Clarice Ray Smith.
The other nominees are Fox News senior political analyst Brit Hume, Newark, N.J. mayor Corey Booker and 12-time former congressman and U.S. Ambassador to United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture Tony Hall.
Also on this year’s list of potential recipients are businessmen K. Stuart Shea and Carlos Slim Helú, former professor of public health William Kissick, and writer of the HBO hit “The Wire” David Simon.
“Honorary degrees are awarded to people who will inspire the graduating class, bring honor to the University and pay tribute to our diverse nation,” Smith said. “The degrees are conferred on individuals who demonstrate the value of hard work, dignity and integrity. The latest group of nominees do just that.”