Sheryl Crow to receive honorary degree, speak at MU honors graduation

Wednesday, April 20, 2011 | 5:10 p.m. CDT; updated 10:46 a.m. CDT, Thursday, April 21, 2011

COLUMBIA — Musician and MU graduate Sheryl Crow will receive an honorary degree and speak at the Honors Commencement Ceremony in mid-May.

Since graduating from MU in 1984, Crow has achieved musical success and become a major philanthropist through her fame.

MU Honorary Degree

The Collected Rules and Regulations of the University of Missouri provide the following guidelines as suggestions in selecting honorary degree recipients:

  • Persons who have rendered distinctive service to the university.
  • Persons who have rendered distinctive service to the state.
  • Graduates or former students who have achieved distinction or a person of high distinction from this country or abroad, who is not necessarily associated with the university or state.

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“Ms. Crow is a celebrated musician, breast cancer survivor and a champion of children and music education,” said Michael O’Brien, dean of the College of Arts and Science, in a news release. “Ms. Crow is an outstanding role model for current MU students and future graduates, especially women.”

While she was approved for an honorary degree three years ago, the Honorary Degrees Committee was unable to get a hold of her until last December, Bill Lamberson, chair of the committee, said.

"Sheryl was on the national campaign steering committee from 2000 to 2008 for the For All We Call Mizzou campaign," Catey Terry, director of development communications at MU, said.

The goal of the campaign, which began in 2001, was to raise $1 billion by December 2008, according to a previous Missourian report.

"It was an advisory committee of roughly 57 people who helped fund raising for the campaign," she said. "She (Crow) is a donor to MU."

"Whether an individual has donated to MU has no bearing on whether they are chosen to receive an honorary degree," Christian Basi, associate director of the MU News Bureau, said.

MU honorary degrees are only given in person at commencement ceremonies, with the exception of Lloyd Gaines, who received an honorary degree posthumously, Basi said.

"She's been Homecoming Grand Marshal (in 2003); she's been back to campus since she achieved her fame," Basi said.

Lamberson said he doesn't believe Crow will sing at the ceremony.

According to a news release, four other individuals will receive honorary degrees from MU this May:

  • Ian Wilmut is best known as the leader of the research team that in 1996 produced the famous sheep “Dolly.” The sheep was the first mammal cloned with genetic material from an adult cell.
  • Kathryn Calame is being honored for 40 years of contributions to cancer and immunology research, including the discovery of a specific protein that increased scientists’ understanding of the human immune response.
  • Byron E. “Barney” Calame is receiving an honorary degree for his 39 years of service at the Wall Street Journal.
  • Brian O’Connell has been the rector and vice chancellor of the University of the Western Cape, which has emerged as one of the best educational institutes in Africa, since 2001.

"The committee only recommends candidates to the Faculty Council, and they are approved by the Faculty Council, the nominations then go to the Chancellor for presentation to the Board of Curators for their approval," Lamberson said in an e-mail.

The Honors Commencement Ceremony will be held at 8:30 a.m. May 14, on Francis Quadrangle.

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