The Faculty Affairs Committee has voted to award an Honorary Degree from the University of North Florida to Mrs. Anna Duke Pearce (known professionally as Patty Duke). Though perhaps best known for her work as an Academy Award-winning actress, Mrs. Pearce has made great strides in recent years as a highly visible advocate for mental illness awareness and has been credited as one of the first celebrities to bring attention to a once taboo health issue.
In 2006, she received the prestigious Lionel Aldridge Award from the National Alliance for Mental Illness. Her participation in a March 2007 luncheon benefiting the Brooks College of Health made that event a tremendous success, and meeting with BCH students during that visit was extremely meaningful for them. She currently serves as Visiting Professor at the University of Idaho.