Arts & Humanities

2019 Honorary Degree Recipients

Four people with Carolina ties recieve Honorary Degrees this year.

John Sanders

Doctor of Laws

William Friday once called John Sanders, a two-time director of the Institute (now School) of Government, “North Carolina’s unsung hero.” Guided more by mission and principles than by expectations of recognition, Sanders devoted a lifetime of service to our state and this University.  As vice president for planning for the UNC System, he drafted the first affirmative action and long-range planning documents for North Carolina’s public higher education institutions. Simply put, Sanders helped move our state forward while protecting the best of its past. Colleagues described him as the measure of “what it means to be a North Carolinian.”



Nelson Schwab III

Doctor of Laws

 In 1996, Schwab and fellow Carolina alumnus Erskine Bowles formed Carousel Capital, a private investment firm in Charlotte. He also formed his own enterprise, Kings Entertainment Company, which operated regional theme parks until he sold the company to Paramount Communications. Schwab served eight years on the Board of Trustees, including two as chair. He also served on the Carolina First Campaign Steering Committee, the University’s Board of Visitors and Kenan-Flagler Business School Board of Visitors. He has supported the Institute for the Arts and Humanities, the Academic Success Program, the Memorial Hall Renovation and the Educational Foundation.





Rebecca Hatcher Buckley

Doctor of Science

Buckley, who earned her medical doctorate degree from Carolina in 1958, has been the James Buren Sidbury Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics and Professor of Immunology at Duke since 1979. Her research interests have been in the fundamental causes of genetically determined immunodeficiency diseases. For the past 37 years her research has been on the syndrome of severe combined immunodeficiency, and she advocated newborn screening for it, which was implemented in 2010. In 2012, she was inducted into the National Academy of Sciences, and she received the Lifetime Achievement Award in Genetics from the American College of Medical Genetics in2014.



T Bone Burnett

Doctor of Performing Arts

During an award-winning career in music and entertainment spanning half a century, Burnett has earned an unparalleled reputation as an innovative artist, songwriter, producer, performer, film and concert producer and record company owner. He was traveling the country as a free-lance record producer when Bob Dylan asked him to play guitar on the Rolling Thunder Revue, which led Burnett to form the Alpha Band with David Mansfield and Steven Soles. His first major foray into film was his collaboration with the Coen Brothers on “The Big Lebowski.” In television, he was the executive movie producer and composer for the HBO series “True Detective.”