Past Speakers and Honorary Degree Recipients

Vito Acconci, Honorary Degree Recipient, 1990

Eleanor Antin

Carol Becker

Tania Bruguera, Performance Artist, Commencement Speaker, 2016

Lee Bul, Honorary Doctorate Recipients, 2022

Teresa Burga, multimedia artist, MFA 1970

Elizabeth Catlett, SAIC/Honorary Degree Recipient, 1941/2006

Judy Chicago, artist, author, educator

Mel Chin, Honorary Doctorate Recipient, Commcenment Speaker, 2020

Mayor Richard M. Daley

Margaret C. Daley

Douglas Druick, Scholar and Curator, 2015

Stefan Edlis and Gael Neeson, Collectors and Philanthropists, 2016

Eric Fischl, Artist and Life Trustee of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum of Contemporary Art, 2012

Jeanne Gang, Architect and Founder and Principal of Studio Gang Architects, 2013

Theaster Gates, Artist and Founder of Rebuild Foundation and the Arts Incubator in Washington Park, 2014

Philip Glass

Ann Hamilton

Ed Harris

Charles A. Harrison II

 Rhona Hoffman, Gallerist, 2015

Alfredo Jaar

Jae Jarell, Artist, Activist and Co-founded of the Black Arts Movements in in the 60s and 70s, AfriCOBRA, Honorary Doctorate Recipient, 2020

Gerald Williams, Artist, Activist and Co-founded of the Black Arts Movements in in the 60s and 70s, AfriCOBRA, Honorary Doctorate Recipient, 2020

Wadsworth Jarell, Artist, Activist and Co-founder of the Black Arts Movements in in the 60s and 70s, AfriCOBRA, Honorary Doctorate Recipient, 2020 

Katherine Sherwood, Artist, Educator, and Co-Founder of the Art and Disability Collective Yelling Clininc, Honorary Doctorate Recipient, 2020 

Rashid Johnson, artist, SAIC 2003–04

Tony Jones, CBE, Arts Administrator, Broadcaster, Writer, Educator, and Historian of art, architecture and design, 2011

Herbert Kawainui Kane

Ellsworth Kelly, Artist, 2010

Kathe Kollwitz, Artist, Activist, and Co-Founder of Guerilla Girls, Commencement Speaker, 2010

Jeff Koons, SAIC/Honorary Degree Recipient, 1975-76/2008

Ellen Lanyon, BFA/Honorary Degree Recipient, 1948/2007

Sung Soon Lee, Artist and SAIC alumnus, 2010

George E. Lewis Honorary Doctorate Recipient, 2022

Kerry James Marshall, Artist, 2017 

Bruce Mau

Beatrice "Buddy" Mayer, Philanthropist, 2012

LeRoy Neiman, SAIC/Honorary Degree Recipient, 1947-57/2006

Janet Bryne Neiman, Artist and Co-Founder of the LeRoy Neiman Center, 2015

Albert Oehlen, Artist, Commencement Speaker, 2015

Yoko Ono

Young-Ju Park, Philanthropist, 2016

Renzo Piano

Maria Pinto, Fashion Designer and Artist, 2017

Angelique Power Commencement Speaker, 2022

Jerry Saltz, SAIC/Honorary Degree Recipient, 1970-75/2008

Ellen Sandor, Artist, Editor, and Life Trustee of the Art Institute of Chicago, and Chair of SAIC's Gene Siskel Film Center Advisory Board, 2014

Franz Schulze, Artist, Writer and Art Critic, 2014

David Sedaris, Author, BFA, 1987

Anna Deavere Smith, Author, Performer, Writer, and Founder of the Anna Deaver Smith Projects (formerly the Institute on the Arts & Civic Dialogue) at Harvard University, 2013

Patti Smith, Artist, Poet, Singer, Songwriter, and Photographer, 2011

Roberta Smith, Art Critic, 2017

Stanley Tigerman, architect

Bill Viola

The Hairy Who: James Falconer, Art Green, Gladys Nilsson, Jim Nutt, Suellen Rocca, Karl Wirsum, Artists, 2016

Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Visual Artist and Palme d'Or prize winner, 2011

Gahan Wilson, Cartoonist, 2012

Joe Zucker, Artistm 2013