Commencement: Speakers and Honorary Degree Recipients
It was our privilege to announce this year's honorary degree recipients, who will be awarded at our Commencement ceremony on Monday, May 11.
Douglas Druick, President and Eloise W. Martin Director of the Art Institute of Chicago museum, is a leading scholar and curator in the field of 19th-century art. He has organized or contributed to some of the most significant exhibitions in this area including, Degas (1988); Odilon Redon: Prince of Dreams, 1840–1916 (1994); Gustave Caillebotte: Urban Impressionist (1994); Van Gogh and Gauguin: The Studio of the South (2001); Manet and the Sea (2003); Seurat and the Making of La Grande Jatte (2004); Toulouse-Lautrec and Montmartre (2005); Cézanne to Picasso: Ambroise Vollard, Patron of the Avant-Garde (2006); and, in contemporary art, Jasper Johns: Gray (2007).
Rhona Hoffman is an influential Chicago gallerist who founded Rhona Hoffman Gallery, which specializes in international contemporary art in all media. Hoffman is very active in the Chicago arts community and maintains strong relationships with museums, schools, local artists, and arts organizations.
Janet Byrne Neiman
Janet Byrne Neiman is an artist and SAIC alum who, along with her husband LeRoy, established SAIC’s first campus center. The 17,800-square-foot LeRoy Neiman Center opened in 2012 and today houses the largest mural ever created by LeRoy Neiman—Summertime Along the Indiana Dunes, a 56-foot-wide, 448-square-foot piece co-signed by Janet and completed in 1965.
Albert Oehlen (Commencement Speaker) is an acclaimed contemporary German artist whose practice is in the vanguard of postmodern painting. Boldly and inventively combining different painting languages, Oehlen has influenced many in the international scene. He has exhibited extensively throughout the United States and Europe. Recent solo exhibitions of his work have been held in institutions such as the Museo di Capodimonte in Naples, Italy, and the Musee d' Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris in 2009.
Kanye West is a leader in the music industry as a Grammy Award-winning recording artist and producer, as well as a fashion designer and interdisciplinary artist whose work provokes cultural discourse by reflecting a realism of the street. He is an advocate for education and a thinker and maker who often uses his work—his lyrics, videos, performances, and fashion designs—to deconstruct stereotypes and spur cultural discourse on important social issues. West's work, like much of hip-hop, is meant to startle us out of our complacency, and this is the role of art.