Ava DuVernay added another impressive accolade to her already distinguished career, as she was the recipient of an honorary doctorate degree from Yale University. This past weekend, on May 22nd, the Yale College class of 2021 held its 320th Commencement, and with a total of 3,395 degrees—including 1,142 degrees for its graduating seniors—DuVernay’s honorary doctorate was a welcomed bit of news.
“My thanks to the special committee at Yale for this honor,” the award-winning filmmaker tweeted. “My mom is over the moon and has taken to calling me Dr. DuVernay. Hope that wears off. But the joy of your high regard will not. A thrill to share this with the formidable Class of 2021 and my esteemed fellow honorees.”
DuVernay also received good news from The CW, as the network announced that it has placed a series order for her Kaci Walfall-led superhero show, Naomi, and will lead its 2021-2022 lineup. The show follows a young woman named Naomi McDuffie, who gets sent from an alternate Earth to our world, unaware of her origins, and must discover her powers and help save humanity from oncoming threats.
A total of nine honorary degrees were received in a virtual address, directed by Yale president Peter Salovey, who praised each recipient for their contribution in their sphere of influence. “These degrees are the most significant distinction conferred by the Yale Corporation … to signal pioneering achievement in a field or conspicuous and exemplary contribution to the common good,” Salovey said. “Collectively [the honorary degree recipients] represent Yale’s highest aspirations as a University dedicated to light and truth.”
Other recipients included comedian Stephen Colbert, author Judy Blume, doctor Donald R. Hopkins, astrophysicist Nergis Mavalvala, labor leader Dolores Huerta, and Yale’s Professor Emeritus in the History of Art and African American Studies Robert Thompson.