Spring Commencement

Honorary Degree Recipients

Three celebrated individuals will receive honorary degrees at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Spring Commencement on May 13.

Chancellor Carol L. Folt will preside over the Commencement ceremony, which will take place in Kenan Stadium at 9 a.m.

This year’s honorary degree recipients are:

Phillip L. Clay

Doctor of Laws

Phillip Leroy Clay is an eminent scholar of urban life who served as Chancellor of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A native of Wimington, North Carolina, he attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and graduated with honors in 1968. He went on to earn a doctorate in city planning at MIT in 1975, and joined that institution’s faculty shortly thereafter. Rising through the ranks, he became head of the Department of Urban Studies and Planning in 1992, Associate Provost in 1994, and Chancellor in 2001, a role in which he oversaw the Institute’s academic programs, student life, and research policy until 2011.

Clay is widely known for his work in housing policy and community development, particularly in the United States. In a pathbreaking 1987 study, he identified factors contributing to a decline in low-income housing and made recommendations that were implemented nationally through the Housing Act of 1990. He has chaired the Board of Directors of The Community Builders, the nation’s largest nonprofit developer of affordable housing, and is currently Deputy Chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. He was a founding director and Vice Chair of the MasterCard Foundation and currently serves on the boards of the Kresge Foundation and the Aga Khan University, among others.

Clay served as a Trustee of UNC-Chapel Hill (2007-2014) and led the committee that supported our university’s enhanced focus on promoting innovation.

James F. Goodmon

Doctor of Laws

James Fletcher Goodmon is CEO and Chairman of the Board of Capitol Broadcasting Company, one of the major television and radio broadcasting companies in North Carolina. After attending Duke University he served in the U.S. Navy. In 1968 he took a job as Operations Manager at WRAL-TV and rising through the ranks to become President in 1975 and CEO in1979, the position he still holds.

Goodmon is known nationally for his firmly held belief in broadcasting’s role as a responsible leader in news and information. He never abandoned or hollowed out his company’s newsrooms, even in difficult financial times. He is also known for his community spirit, as exemplified by his leadership in revitalizing the American Tobacco Historic District in Durham, N.C., now a thriving area with nonprofits, businesses, restaurants, a baseball stadium, and a performing arts center.

Among his many honors, Goodmon received the North Carolina Award in 2000, the highest civilian honor our state confers. He was named “Tar Heel of the Year” by the Raleigh News and Observer in 2003. He was inducted into both the N.C. Media and Journalism Hall of Fame and the N.C. Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame. And he is the recipient of honorary degrees from Peace University, Pfeiffer College and Duke University.

Goodmon is Chairman of Board of Directors of the A. J. Fletcher Foundation, which supports UNC’s School of Media and Journalism and many other local institutions. As a strong proponent of public broadcasting, he was the founding President of the UNC-TV Foundation, and played a key role in establishing WUNC-FM radio’s new broadcast facilities in Durham.

Judith A. Jamison

Doctor of Performing Arts

Judith Ann Jamison is an American dancer and choreographer of world renown. In 1965, at the age of 22, she was offered a spot in Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater – a modern dance company of international stature. Her iconic performances in Alvin Ailey’s masterpieces Blues Suite, Revelations, and, most notably, the tour-de-force solo Cry, brought her worldwide stardom. She was a guest artist with numerous renowned companies, starred in the hit Broadway musical Sophisticated Ladies, and formed her own company, The Jamison Project.

In 1989 she became artistic director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and for the next twenty-one years led the Company to unprecedented heights – including helping to establish a permanent home for the organization and guiding Ailey’s global 50th anniversary celebration. She choreographed many celebrated works, including Divining (1984), Forgotten Time (1989), Double Exposure (2000), HERE ... NOW (2002), Love Stories (with additional choreography by Robert Battle and Rennie Harris, 2004), and Sweet Release (1996), which featured original music by Wynton Marsalis. Her autobiography, Dancing Spirit, was edited by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and published by Doubleday in 1993.

Jamison received a prime-time Emmy and the American Choreography Award for the PBS special, A Hymn for Alvin Ailey, based upon her acclaimed work Hymn (1993). She was also awarded the Kennedy Center Honor, a National Medal of Arts, a New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Award, and the Handel Medallion. Featured in “The TIME 100: The World’s Most Influential People,” she was also honored at the White House and inducted into the National Museum of Dance’s Hall of Fame. Jamison’s celebration of the African-American cultural experience and her preservation and enrichment of American modern dance have made her a powerful ambassador for diversity in the arts.