During the 249th Commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 28, Brown University bestowed honorary degrees to a diverse group of scholars, artists and leaders recognized for their exceptional achievement in a variety of fields.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — At its 249th Commencement on Sunday, May 28, Brown University conferred honorary doctorates on six candidates who have achieved great distinction in a variety of fields. The candidates include:

Honorary degrees are awarded by the Board of Fellows of the Brown Corporation and are conferred by the University president — in English and in Latin — during Commencement exercises on the College Green. Recipients receive prominent recognition at the ceremony but do not serve as the Commencement speaker — since its earliest days, Brown has reserved that honor for members of the graduating class.

Robert De Niro
Doctor of Fine Arts
Biographic notes

For more than 40 years you have been a force to be reckoned with in American cinema. You have inhabited some of the most complex and indelible characters on film, including a conflicted boxer, a troubled taxi driver, a catatonic hospital patient, and a Sicilian immigrant who becomes a mafia boss. Your painstaking preparation for each role is legendary and has earned you the industry’s highest honors, including recognition from the Kennedy Center, two Academy Awards, the Cecil B. DeMille Award, and the Stanley Kubrick Award. For your abundant contributions to acting, filmmaking, and the promotion of art as an essential aspect of our humanity, we honor you with the degree of Doctor of Fine Arts, honoris causa.

O tu plus quam quadraginta annos insignis singulari gloria patriae scaenae, partes egisti omnis generis personarum quibus possimus tamquam in speculo humanitatem ipsam intueri. Nemo est qui non noverit tuam scrupulosissimam meditationem, quare omne tulisti punctum artis tuae. Ob tua dona plurima scaenae, quae docent quanti momenti ars sit condicioni humanae, idcirco te Doctorem in Artibus Elegantibus salutamus, honoris causa.

Daveed Diggs
Doctor of Fine Arts
Biographic notes

You started writing rap lyrics and spoken-word poetry in your teens. As an undergraduate at Brown, you pushed the boundaries of theatrical production with original works that blended traditional drama with rhyme and crowd interaction. Your drive to create, to give voice to your personal experiences, has led to numerous albums and productions with hip-hop, freestyle rap, and sketch comedy troupes. Your Tony Award-winning performance as Thomas Jefferson and the Marquis de Lafayette in the musical "Hamilton" has marked you as a charismatic interpreter of outsized personalities and a true star. For your passion in bringing a range of stories to life through music, performance and language, we honor you with the degree of Doctor of Fine Arts, honoris causa.

Carmina modulari etiam adulescens, o poeta, aggressus es. Deinde fabulas et novas et veteribus imbutas praebuisti, dum Universitas Brunensis te alit. Praeterea vitae tuae eventus explicare a Musis incitatus simul multa versuum volumina in lucem edidisti, simul comoedorum gregibus nomen tuum coniunxisti. Deinde tibi, o clarissime vates, palma Antoniettae Perry data est, quod personas magnanimorum Thomae Ieffersonii et Marchionis de Lafayette in fabula nomine Hamilton callidus induisti. Idcirco ob studium variarum rerum per verba, per carmina, per fabulas exponendarum Doctorem in Artibus Elegantibus te salutamus, honoris causa.

Donald C. Hood
Doctor of Humane Letters
Biographic notes

A leader in the field of human visual perception and diseases of the retina and optic nerve, you have dedicated your career to understanding the complex interplay between the brain and the human eye. As the James F. Bender Professor of Psychology and professor of ophthalmic science at Columbia University, you have earned 40 years of continuous grant support for this important research and won numerous awards for outstanding teaching and mentorship. During the last nine of your 16 years on the Board of Fellows you served as Secretary of the Brown Corporation, bringing the highest academic standards, judgment and wisdom to this role. For your ongoing commitment to discovery, your preparation of new generations of scientists and your contributions to advancing Brown’s mission, we honor you with the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.

O tu, princeps sensus videndi et oculorum morbo affectuum studium habentium, tuam per vitam pernoscendis contextibus inter cerebrum et oculum te dedisti, plurima cui praemia, Professori Psychologiae, nomine James F. Bender, et Ophthalmologiae apud Universitatem Columbiae, propter investigationes tuas et disciplinas excellentissimas annos continuos quadraginta concessa sunt. Te scribam Collegii Brunensis annos proximos novem in annis sedecim omnino apud Consilium Sociorum, doctrina et diligentia et sapientia praestitisti. Pro animo scientiae dedito, pro hominibus doctis educandis, pro operis assiduis ad causam Brunensem adiuvandam, te salutamus Doctorem Litterarum Humanorum, honoris causa.

Indra K. Nooyi
Doctor of Humane Letters
Biographic notes

Consistently recognized as one of the most powerful women in business, your steady leadership has helped PepsiCo. become the second largest food and beverage company in the world, and one of the most influential in the industry. You have instituted an effective worldwide strategy, a blueprint for product improvement, and a culture of appreciation for the contributions of your employees. Your concept “performance with a purpose” is shining a spotlight on health and social responsibility in everything the company does. For your long and distinguished career in management, and the marvelous example you continue to set for rising generations of women in business, we honor you with the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.

Salve dux societatis PepsiCo! Totum negotium, tam magnum quam potens, num quis alter praeter te regit? Ars imperatoria talis, ut omnes et strategemate et procuratione tuorum te laudent. Quod salubritati bonoque communi semper consulis, insigne est. Pro rebus gestis et pro exemplari negotiaturae omni, te in Litteris Humanis Doctorem salutamus, honoris causa.

Richard D. Parsons
Doctor of Humane Letters
Biographic notes

Throughout your career, you have established yourself as an expert in bridging the gap between government and corporate America. As a counselor to New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller and a senior White House aide under President Gerald Ford, you applied your legal and diplomatic skills to critical issues of the time, such as civil rights, illegal immigration, voting rights and gender discrimination in education. Later, you carried that same flair into high-stakes roles with Time Warner, Citigroup, and the Los Angeles Clippers, serving as a stabilizing force in times of trouble for each of these entities. The nation continues to benefit from your counsel through your work with the Rockefeller Foundation, Apollo Theater Foundation, Jazz Foundation of America, and Teach for America. For your long-standing commitment to both corporate and civic leadership, we honor you with the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.

O praeclare dux negotiatorum, o benevolens amice generis humani, te probavisti in cursu honorum peritissimum coniungendi principes rei publicae negotiatoribus Americae. Primum quaestor proconsuli Novi Eboraci, nomine Nelson Rockefeller, deinde comes in consilio principis Gerald Ford, praeditus ingenio cupisti alere carentes praesidio iuris. Postea nitens eo ingenio solito vigoreque eodem animi eras sicut rector in tempestatibus collegiis negotialibus. Meres adhuc de re publica, cum bene facias multa erga totam civitatem patronus multarum societatum amicorum generis humani. Quoniam te dedidisti principem populo negotiatoribusque, te in Humanis Litteris Doctorem salutamus, honoris causa. Rosmarie Waldrop

Rosmarie Waldrop
Doctor of Letters
Biographic notes

Poet, translator, editor, publisher, you have characterized your work as an exploration of what happens between words, sentences, people and cultures. With more than 20 volumes of original poetry and prose, you have experimented with language in ways that uncover new meaning in the details of our daily lives. Your tri-lingual identity has deeply influenced your renowned translations of avant-garde French and German writers, fostering fresh and informative intercultural conversations. And both your teaching and your management of Burning Deck Press with your husband have catapulted promising young writers into the literary world. For your genius with words and your outstanding service to your profession, we honor you with the degree of Doctor of Letters, honoris causa.

O poetria, a qua multa sunt scripta, conversa, edita, tu morum, tu verborum, tu populorum diversis ex locis indagatricem te ipsa designas. Enimvero libris tuis et poematum et orationis, amplius viginti numero, singula nostrae vitae cottidianae explicavisti novo quodam genere dicendi. Verum tria corda habere te dici potest, quia scripta recentiora atque inusitata ex scriptoribus Gallicis Germanisque tam splendide conversisti, ut sermone omnium prudenter celebrentur. Tu praeterea et magistra et, cum marito, curatrix officinae librariae novos scriptores bonae spei quasi in honores litteratos provexisti. Propter hoc ingenium tuum in scribendo ac docendo praeclarum, te in Litteris Doctorem salutamus, honoris causa.