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Honorary Degrees

John Mason Honorary Degree Otis

Honorary Degree Recipient John Mason ’57 and Trustee Bronya Galef

Each year Otis selects one or two individuals to receive the Honorary Doctorate degree at the Commencement Ceremony in May. One of the recipients also serves as Commencement Speaker. Recommended individuals should meet some combination of the following criteria:

1. Have a background and experiences that reflect the College mission and its programs..
2. Have influenced professional practice, and have a background and experiences that place
the recommended individuals at the pinnacle of their field.
3. Contribute to the College's reputation.
4. Serve as a role model for students.
5. Reflect the College's aspirations.
6. Have served, or could serve, as a friend and ambassador of the College.
7. Are good public speakers (if selected to speak on Commencement Day).


Commencement Speakers and/or Honorary Degrees

Starting in 1962

  • 1960's

    Year Degree Commencement Speaker
    1962 Milard Sheets Fredrick Hard


  • 1970's
    Year Degree Commencement Speaker
    1978 NA Edmund Edelman
    1979 NA David Levy
  • 1980's
    Year Degree Commencement Speaker
    1980 Peter Voulkos Peter Voulkos
    1981 NA Josine Ianco-Starrels
    1982 NA Stephan Garrett
    1983 Elmer Bischoff NA

    Ray Eames
    Millard Sheets

    Millard Sheets
    1985 David Hockney
    Josine Ianco-Starrels
    Harold Williams
    Harold Williams
    1986 Saul Bass
    Charles Moore
    Edmund Edelman
    Saul Bass
    1987 Dorothy Jeakins
    Earl A. Powell
    Ruth Waddy
    Paul Conrad
    Paul Conrad
    1988 Cliff May
    Ed Ruscha
    Kurt W. Forster
    Kurt W. Forster

    Frank Gehry
    Bella Lewitzky

  • 1990's
    Year Degree Commencement Speaker
    1990 Sister Karen Boccalero
    Helen Lundeberg
    John Baldessari
    John Baldessari
    1991 John Lautner
    Joel Wachs
    Emerson Woelffer
    1992 David Gebhard
    Robert Irwin
    Betye Saar
    1993 Rudy Perez
    Beatrice Woods
    Phil Joanou
    1994 John Outterbridge John Outterbridge
    1995 Ed Moses Stanley Grinstein
    1996 Kent Twitchell Kent Twitchell
    1997 Richard Martin Richard Martin
    1998 Elaine Goldsmith Elaine Goldsmith

    Robert Greenberg
    Kerry James Marshall

    Robert Greenberg
    Kerry James Marshall

  • 2000's
    Year Degree Commencement Speaker
    2000 Jay Chiat
    Neil Hoffman
    Jay Chiat
    Neil Hoffman
    2001 Kathleen Ahmanson
    Alexis Smith
    Alexis Smith
    2002 Clifford Einstein Clifford Einstein
    2003 Anne Ayres
    Jim Rygiel
    Anne Ayres
    2004 Graham Nash Joan Takayam Ogawa
    2005 Bob Mackie
    Marcia Tucker
    Marcia Tucker
    2006 Bill Viola Bill Viola
    2007 Cheech Marin Khoi Vinh
    2008 John Hughes John Hughes
    2009 Mark Parker Mark Parker
  • 2010's
    Year Degree Commencement Speaker
    2010 Alison Saar
    Isabel Toledo
    Rubin Toledo
    Alison Saar
    Isabel Toledo
    Rubin Toledo
    2011 Sheila Levrant de Bretteville Sheila Levrant de Bretteville
    2012 Eli Broad Eli Broad
    2013 Lucy Lippard Lucy Lippard
    2014 Christopher Guy
    Harrison Samuel Hoi
    Christopher Guy Harrison
    2015 Lynda Weinman
    John Mason
    Lynda Weinman
    2016 Rick Lowe
    Masami Teraoka
    Rick Lowe
    2017 Thomas Mayne Thomas Mayne
    2018 Mark Bradford Rosemary Brantley Mark Bradford
    2019 Elizabeth Streb Gajin Fujita Elizabeth Streb
  • 2020's
    Year Degree Commencement Speaker
    2020 Enrique Martínez Celaya Enrique Martínez Celaya