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Upcoming Commencement Dates

  • June 9, 2019
  • June 14, 2020
  • June 13, 2021
  • June 12, 2022

Dartmouth 2011 Honorary Degree Recipient: Ruby Dee (Doctor of Arts)

RUBY DEE, you were raised in Harlem, where you bore witness to racism, poverty, and other forms of injustice on a daily basis. But you were also part of a vibrant and supportive community, dedicated to spirited intellectual debates and grass-roots political activism. You attended your first protests as a child, joining picket lines to rail against discriminatory hiring practices.

Those early lessons in civic engagement paved the way for a lifetime of activism. A devoted union member, you also joined the NAACP, the Congress for Racial Equality, the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. With your friends Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X, you fought for civil rights and a more just society. Along with your husband, Ossie Davis, you were instrumental in organizing the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, which helped to secure passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964 and the Voting Rights Act the following year.

In the middle of all this extraordinary activism you also worked steadily in creative fields. The range of your expression is vast, spanning all forms of media, including the stage, the cinema, television, radio, audio recordings, and the written word. As a celebrated actress, you have used your craft not only to entertain but also to educate, instigate, and inspire, by taking on roles in such politically-charged works as Boesman and Lena, A Raisin in the Sun, and The Incident.

You have received an astonishing array of honors, including an Emmy, a Grammy, two Screen Actors Guild awards, the NAACP Image Award, Kennedy Center Honors, the National Medal of Art, and the National Civil Rights Museum's Lifetime Achievement Award, as well as membership in the Broadway Hall of Fame. Dartmouth is proud to add to this list of accolades by granting you the honorary degree Doctor of Arts.

Last Updated: 3/17/16