Hamline News

2017 Honorary Degree Recipients

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At the 2017 Commencement ceremony on May 20, Hamline will honor two distinguished individuals who have devoted their careers to fighting for equality and the rights of others. The 2017 honorary degree recipients are former Ambassador James C. Hormel who will receive the honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree at the undergraduate ceremony, and Sharon P. Robinson, president and CEO of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, who will receive the honorary Doctor of Humane Letters at the graduate ceremony. 

About James C. Hormel: Former Ambassador James C. Hormel has devoted his life to the advocacy of basic human rights, social justice and the well-being of all individuals, creating, funding, and initiating major programs addressing these concerns and seeking to involve others in public service. He is recognized nationally for his ability to bring together people of different backgrounds and perspectives to form bridge-building coalitions based upon shared values and mutual interests. 


For more than 30 years, Hormel has been instrumental in developing resources for organizations serving people affected by HIV and AIDS, substance abuse, and breast cancer. He has served as a member of the board of directors of The American Foundation for AIDS Research and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. He was a founding director of the City Club of San Francisco, a club created to bring together community leaders of diverse backgrounds. 

Hormel served as United States Ambassador to Luxembourg from June 1999 to December 2000. He was alternate representative of the U.S. delegation to the 51st United Nations General Assembly in 1996. He also was a member of the U.S. delegation to the 51st U.N. Human Rights Commission, which met in Geneva in early 1995. Also in 1995, and again in 1997, he served on the Western States Regional Selection Panel for the President's Commission on White House Fellowships. In 1995, he participated in the President's Conference on the Pacific Rim, and the following year, he was a member of San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown's Economic Summit. From 1994 through 1997, he served on the Board of Directors of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce. He is chairman of Equidex, Inc., a San Francisco-based firm that manages his and his family's investments and philanthropic activities.  

About Sharon P. Robinson, Ed.D. Sharon Robinson has served as the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education's (AACTE's) president and CEO since 2005. In naming Robinson to the position, AACTE's Board of Directors acknowledged her strong commitment to high-quality teaching, rigorous scholarship, and diversity in the nation's teaching workforce. A lifelong civil rights activist, Robinson has waged a personal crusade to realize the nation's moral and professional responsibility to educate and maximize the potential of all students, especially those with disabilities and racial/ethnic minorities.

Robinson was formerly president of the Educational Policy Leadership Institute of the Educational Testing Service (ETS). She also served as that organization’s senior vice president and chief operating officer, and as vice president for teaching and learning and for state and federal relations. Before joining ETS, Robinson was assistant secretary of education with the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Educational Research and Improvement (now the Institute of Education Sciences). She also held a variety of leadership positions at the National Education Association, including director of the National Center for Innovation, NEA's research and development arm.

Robinson received her doctorate in educational administration and supervision from the University of Kentucky, where she also earned her bachelor's and master's degrees. In 2002, she completed the renowned Harvard Business School Advanced Management Program. She serves on the board of directors for the Center for Teaching Quality, the Phi Delta Kappa Educational Foundation, the Learning First Alliance, and Jobs for America's Graduates. She is past chair of the Diversity Issues in Measurement Committee of the National Council for Measurement in Education.

Among Robinson’s many awards are an honorary doctorate from the University of Louisville, the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Kentucky, the Award of Appreciation from the National Head Start Association, and the Bank Street College of Education President’s Medal of Honor.