Recognizes UI president's leadership, research interests
Monday, May 19, 2014

The University of Notre Dame awarded University of Iowa President Sally Mason an honorary doctor of laws degree during its commencement ceremony Sunday, May 18.

Mason was among six distinguished figures in business, the church, community leadership, education, engineering, and the performing arts that was honored at Notre Dame’s 169th commencement at Notre Dame Stadium.

“I am thrilled and deeply humbled to be honored by the University of Notre Dame along with so many extraordinarily talented and distinguished men and women,” Mason said.

In its news release announcing the honor, Notre Dame describes the 20th president of the UI as a cell and developmental biologist and “distinguished leader in higher education.”

“The first child in her family to attend college, she earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Kentucky, master’s degree from Purdue University, and doctoral degree from the University of Arizona,” the release states. “Her research interests have focused on the developmental biology, genetics, and biochemistry of pigment cells.”

The release says Mason began her academic career at University of Kansas and became dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences there in 1995. Six years later, she became the provost of Purdue before her appointment at Iowa in 2007.

As president of the UI, the release says, Mason “has spearheaded a sustainable university initiative, started a student success initiative that has increased enrollment and retention, and successfully advocated for the first tuition freeze in 30 years. Throughout her career, she has served on numerous regional and national boards related to higher education.”

Others receiving honorary degree recipients from Notre Dame included Notre Dame alumnus, retired oil industry executive and philanthropist W. Douglas Ford (doctor of engineering); Harvard-trained surgeon and urban community leader Ray Hammond (doctor of humane letters); pioneering physics researcher Evelyn Hu (doctor of engineering); world-renowned dancer, choreographer and artistic director emerita of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Judith Jamison (doctor of fine arts); and Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley (doctor of laws), archbishop of Boston.

Read the Notre Dame release at