Columbia College Chicago

Announces 2018

Honorary Degree Recipients

Dawoud Bey (Photo: MacArthur Foundation), Mary A. Mitchell ’91, Jennifer Farrington ’93, and Paul Broucek ’74

Columbia Professor Dawoud Bey and alumni Paul Broucek, Jennifer Farrington, and Mary A. Mitchell to be honored at Commencement.

MacArthur Fellow and renowned photographer Dawoud Bey, music executive Paul Broucek, award-winning Chicago Sun-Timesjournalist Mary A. Mitchell, and Chicago Children’s Museum President and CEO Jennifer Farrington will receive honorary degrees at Columbia College Chicago’s 2018 Commencement exercises.

“This year’s honorary degree recipients–one Columbia faculty member and three alumni–exemplify the college’s mission through their creative endeavors in photography, music, journalism, and cultural advocacy,” said Kwang-Wu Kim, Columbia’s President and CEO.

“All four have enriched the world through their leadership, social awareness, and creative vision,” Kim said. “Their work and accomplishments reflect many of the ideals that we emphasize in our teaching—civic engagement, inclusivity, and expanding our understanding of culture—all of which can help lead students toward achieving real-world success.”

Each honorary degree recipient will deliver the Commencement address at one of the four ceremonies the college will hold on May 12 and 13 in the Auditorium Theatre, when it will confer graduate and undergraduate degrees on more than 1,900 students.

Photograph by Jason Smikle

” I will be receiving an Honorary Doctorate degree and delivering the commencement address this coming Sunday at Columbia College Chicago’s 2018 commencement ceremony. Honorary degree recipients this year are all distinguished members of the Columbia community, including–along with myself– Mary Mitchell, Chicago Sun-Times journalist, Jennifer Farrington, director of the Chicago Children’s Museum, and Paul Broucek, president of music at Warner Brothers, all alums.” – Dawoud Bey

Dawoud Bey – Honored at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 13

Dawoud Bey, professor of photography, is a 2017 MacArthur Foundation Fellow who has served as a member of Columbia’s faculty since 1998. He also served as a Distinguished College Artist from 2008-10.

Bey began his career in 1975, photographing in the streets of Harlem, New York. The five-year project was later exhibited in his first solo exhibition, Harlem, USA at the Studio Museum in Harlem in 1979. Forty years after his Harlem USA project, Bey returned to Harlem for his project Harlem Redux, to look at the effects of rapid gentrification on the storied African American community. The large-scale color photographs are a visualization of the evolving social spaces within the Harlem community, and engage themes of memory, loss, absence, displacement, and transformation. These photographs continue his ongoing interest in excavating the social histories embedded in place.

Over the course of his career, Bey has received numerous fellowships and honors, including the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. He is also a 2015 United States Artist Fellow.

In his Birmingham Project, Bey evokes the tragic events of September 15, 1963, when four black girls and two boys were killed in Birmingham, Ala., in acts of racist violence. The diptych portraits depict young black children who are the ages of the young people killed that day, and women and men the ages they would have been 50 years later. The project also included a video work, 9.15.63, about the quiet Sunday morning that turned tragic.

Bey is currently working on Station, a group of works referencing the Underground Railroad in Ohio that will debut at FRONT International: Cleveland’s Triennial for Contemporary Art in 2018. In Fall 2018, the University of Texas Press will publish a monograph of his work “Dawoud Bey: Seeing Deeply, 1975-2017.”


Bey’s photographs have been widely published and exhibited extensively worldwide at institutions such as the Art Institute of Chicago, Barbican Centre in London, Brooklyn Museum, Studio Museum in Harlem, Museum of Modern Art, New York, Cleveland Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Detroit Institute of Arts, High Museum of Art in Atlanta, National Portrait Gallery in London, Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris, the Whitney Museum of American Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, among others. He is represented by Stephen Daiter Gallery in Chicago, Mary Boone Gallery in New York, and Rena Bransten Gallery in San Francisco. He received a BA in the Arts from SUNY-Empire State College, and an MFA from Yale University School of Art.

For more information on the 2018 Columbia College Chicago Commencement exercises, visit