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Honorary Doctorates

Home Distinguished Alumni Honorary Doctorates

Clark Atlanta University (CAU) counts among its honorary alumni a roster of some of America’s most distinguished musicians. All have had a profound impact on the history of American music. The following have received honorary doctorate degrees from CAU and the former Clark College:

May 1973  Doctor of Humanities  Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington 

  • composer, jazz orchestra leader, pianist

May 1975  Doctor of Humanities  William Edward “Billy”Taylor 

  • pianist, composer, broadcaster, educator

May 1980  Doctor of Humane Laws  Columbus Calvin “Duke” Pearson 

  • producer, composer, pianist

June 1982  Doctor of Humane Laws  John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie 

  • trumpeter, bandleader, composer

May 1989  Doctor of Humane Laws   Lou Rawls (one from Clark College, one from

Atlanta University) 

  • vocalist, songwriter, producer, actor

May 1991  Doctor of Humane Laws   Lionel Hampton 

  • vibraphonist/percussionist, pianist, bandleader, actor

February 1993  Doctor of Humane Laws   Quincy Jones 

  • producer, conductor, arranger, composer, company executive, instrumentalist

February 1993  Doctor of Humane Laws  William Warfield 

  • concert bass-baritone, actor, university professor

May 2001  Doctor of Humane Laws     Wynton Marsalis 

  • trumpeter, composer, educator, Artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center (New York City)