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Upcoming Commencement Dates

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

Judith Jamison (Doctor of Arts)

Judith JamisonJune 9, 2013

JUDITH JAMISON, you are an iconic dancer, choreographer, and artistic director who has both revolutionized the world of modern dance and helped assert the prominence of the arts in our culture.

Discovered at 21 by the legendary choreographer Agnes de Mille, you moved from your hometown of Philadelphia to New York City to dance with the American Ballet Theatre. A short time later, you joined the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, created by the eponymous dance pioneer to "bring African American cultural expression and modern dance to the world." You would soon become a legend in your own right.

As a principal dancer, you traveled the globe to growing acclaim. Your groundbreaking style, combining sensuality, emotion, and grace, pushed the boundaries of modern dance. Your solos in Ailey's Masekela Language and Cry—both tributes to black womanhood—and your duet with Mikhail Baryshnikov in Ailey's Pas de Duke are renowned to this day.

After leaving Ailey in 1980, you went on to star in the Broadway hit Sophisticated Ladies before marshaling your talents as a choreographer by founding the Jamison Project. In 1988, you returned to Alvin Ailey, succeeding your mentor as artistic director after his death. The Ailey company continued to soar under your stewardship, and you earned global recognition, including the Kennedy Center Honors, the National Medal of Arts, and a Presidential Appointment to the National Council of the Arts.

In a special tribute several years ago, First Lady Michelle Obama said that she takes her daughters to see you perform as often as she can. In the first lady's words, "I want them to see Judith's gifts on display, because I want them to witness the grace and the beauty that stir our souls and connect us to each other like nothing else can."

Judith, we are delighted to have you share your extraordinary gifts and grace with Dartmouth as we celebrate our Year of the Arts, and we are deeply honored to present you with the honorary degree Doctor of Arts.

President Carol L. Folt

Last Updated: 6/9/13