Universities award prestigious honorary degrees to distinguished individuals in recognition of their outstanding achievements in their respective fields. The degree is awarded Honoris Causa, or cause to be honored, and the conferment of an honorary degree is the highest tribute a University can bestow. Since 1979, UNF has awarded a number of honorary degrees, usually at commencement exercises, to these notable individuals to acknowledge and recognize their contributions to the University, the community, or the nation.
A pioneer in bird photography and well known for his many contributions to the field of ornithology. His photographic work was included in prestigious magazines and encyclopedias, and Grimes' photographs provided most of the covers for the Florida Naturalist for more than a decade. His painstaking research and meticulous field work has served as a model and guide for future naturalists.
Member, U.S. House of Representatives, and attorney. He spent most of his adult life in public service, as a member of the Florida House of Representatives from 1954 to 1964/1966-68, and then as a distinguished and longtime U. S. House of Representatives member from 1969 to 1989. In addition to receiving the honorary degree, Chappell delivered the address at the spring commencement ceremony on May 2, 1987.
U.S. Senator (2007-), former Secretary of the Navy, military activist, journalist and author of six best-selling books. His career has alternated between extensive government service, writing, and film production. His work as a screenwriter and producer for the PBS coverage of the U.S. Marines in Beirut earned him an Emmy Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. In 2006, he was elected to the U.S. Senate from the Commonwealth of Virginia. In addition to receiving the honorary degree, Webb delivered the address at the spring commencement ceremony on April 30, 1988.
Governor-General of Belize, noted fine arts scholar, accomplished musician, and leading educator and former President of the University of Belize. His leadership and vision were instrumental in establishing the initial degree granting program between the UNF College of Education and Human Services and the University of Belize / Ministry of Education. Each year several COEHS faculty members travel to work with Belizean teachers seeking advanced degrees in education. As a result of this long-term partnership, 300 Belizean students have graduated through the joint program, with many now holding major educational, governmental and business positions in Belize. Based on his many educational and civic contributions, Sir Colville was chosen by Queen Elizabeth in 1993 to be her representative in Belize as Head of State.
Dr. Edith Perez is an internationally known medical researcher and the Director of the Cancer Clinical Study Unit at Mayo Clinic Florida, as well as being a professor of medicine at the Mayo Medical School. She chaired a national breast cancer study that has significantly changed the standard of care for treating breast cancer patients. For her landmark medical achievements, Dr. Perez has received numerous academic, professional and service awards, including the Breast Cancer Research Foundation Research Grant Award (1998-2010), Crusader for Breast Cancer Award and the Horizon Scientific Cancer Research Award. Her service to the UNF community includes presentations for the Brooks College of Health's Health Initiative, and a Music Department salute to Breast Cancer Survivors.
Actress, author, and leading advocate for social issues, Duke has had a long and varied acting career in films, Broadway plays, television, and cartoons (voice-over). As a child she starred in her own television sitcom, and in 1962, became the youngest actress to ever win an Oscar for her role of young Helen Keller in "The Miracle Worker." Duke's acting awards also include two Golden Globes, three Emmy Awards, six Emmy nominations, and a People's Choice Award. Her strong commitment to the acting community also included a term as President of the Screen Actors Guild. Her efforts to educate the public on mental health issues have served as an inspiration and beacon of hope for many individuals.
Nurse, teacher, researcher in nursing and public health, academic and humanitarian, Osterbrink is the founding dean and professor of the Institute of Nursing Science at the Paracelsus Medical University in Salzburg, Austria. The Institute is the first such academic institute of its kind operated by and for nurses. As a result of Osterbrink's efforts, UNF's nursing students have participated in clinical rotations in Austria. His research efforts in the pain treatment of patients culminated in the "Pain Free Hospital" project in Europe, and the ongoing "Pain Free Town" initiative in Muenster, Germany. As a clinical professor in the UNF Brooks College of Health, Osterbrink has helped to put the School of Nursing in a visible position in health care education.
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