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University of Illinois at Chicago Office of Public Affairs (MC 288)
601 S. Morgan St., Chicago, IL 60607-7113, (312) 996-3456, www.uic.edu/depts/paff

April 27, 2001 Contact: Amanda Mazur (312) 996-7681; amazur@uic.edu


The University of Illinois at Chicago will present two honorary degrees during the 2001 commencement ceremony on May 6.

Joan W. Harris, arts patron, civic activist and philanthropist, will receive an honorary doctorate of humane letters. Margaret T.G. Burroughs, educator, artist and founder of the DuSable Museum of African-American History, will receive an honorary doctorate of fine arts.

"The university bestows honorary degrees on those individuals who have helped expand knowledge and performed exemplary service in ways that are viewed as an extension of our own mission and dedication to teaching, service and research," says David Sokol, professor and chair of the senate external relations committee at UIC.

Harris, 70, has spent over 25 years supporting the arts through a variety of media including music, film, dance, sculpture, contemporary art and architecture. She served as the commissioner for cultural affairs for the City of Chicago, and in 1990 was appointed to the President's Commission on the National Endowment for the Arts.

In her letter nominating Harris, Judith Russi Kirshner, dean of the UIC College of Architecture and the Arts writes, "Joan Harris is that rare individual whose activities in the cultural world have spanned philanthropy and advocacy, supported established monuments of cultural life and less well-known experimental practices."

Burroughs, 84, has dedicated her life to the creative arts such as writing and poetry and to African and African-American history and culture. In 1961, Burroughs opened her home as the Ebony Museum of African-American History. She worked to raise funds to expand the museum's offerings, and in 1968, the museum became the DuSable Museum of African-American History.

Burroughs is an accomplished artist who uses a variety of media. Her works have been exhibited worldwide. It was her belief in making art available for the masses that led her to develop her style of using linoleum cuts and woodblock prints. This allowed for multiple images to be made that all people could afford.

"The impact of the DuSable Museum is incalculable," said Sokol, who will present Burroughs with her honorary degree. "It has served as a point of pride for the African-American community and is a major resource for Chicago and beyond."

- UIC -


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