Individuals honored for exemplary personal, professional achievements

The University of Delaware will recognize five individuals with its highest accolade, the honorary degree, during Commencement ceremonies in Newark, scheduled May 28-30.

Approved by the University’s Board of Trustees, the honorary degree is presented to individuals who reflect, in their personal and professional achievements, the University’s mission and who serve as exemplars for UD’s students, alumni, the University community and the world.

This year’s recipients are

• Patricia DeLeon, honorary doctor of science degree. DeLeon is Trustees Distinguished Professor Emerita of Biological Sciences at UD and a past recipient of the University’s Francis Alison Award in recognition of her scholarship and teaching. Her degree will be presented at the Class of 2021 Commencement for the College of Arts and Sciences at 9 a.m., Friday, May 28.

• John L. Anderson, honorary doctor of science degree. Anderson, who earned his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering at UD, is president of the National Academy of Engineering, a private, nonprofit institution that promotes the engineering profession and marshals engineering insight and expertise to provide the federal government with independent advice on matters of engineering and technology. His award will be presented at the Class of 2021 Commencement for the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the College of Earth, Ocean and Environment and the College of Engineering at 7 p.m., Friday, May 28.

• A. Gilchrist Sparks, honorary doctor of laws degree. An accomplished corporate attorney, Sparks served on UD’s Board of Trustees for 16 years, including six years as chairman. He was named honorary counselor to the board when he stepped down in 2019. His degree will be presented at the Class of 2021 Commencement for the College of Education and Human Development and the College of Health Sciences at 9 a.m., Saturday, May 29.

• Ty Jones, honorary doctor of humane letters degree. An award-winning producing artistic director of the Classical Theatre of Harlem, Jones is a UD alumnus, earning both his bachelor’s degree in communication and his master of fine arts at the University. His degree will be presented at the Class of 2020 Commencement at 10:30 a.m., Sunday, May 30, where he will be the featured speaker.

• Dan Rich, honorary doctor of laws degree. Rich is University Professor of Public Policy and director of the Community Engagement Initiative at UD and has been a vital part of the campus community for 50 years, serving as both dean and provost during that time. His degree will be presented at the Class of 2020 Commencement at 10:30 a.m., Sunday, May 30.

For more information on the Class of 2021 and Class of2020 Commencement events, visit the University’s Commencement website.

 Photo by Jessica Eastburn |