Commencement Honorees 2016

 Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts

Each year, MassArt confers honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degrees in recognition of an individual's outstanding contributions to the arts.

Charles M. BlowHonorary Doctor of Fine Arts:  Charles M. Blow

Charles M. Blow has been a New York Times Op-Ed columnist since 2008. His column appears on Monday and Thursday.

Mr. Blow joined The New York Times in 1994 as a graphics editor and quickly became the paper's graphics director, a position he held for nine years. In that role, he led The Times to a best of show award from the Society for News Design for The Times's information graphics coverage of 9/11, the first time the award had been given for graphics coverage. He also led the paper to its first two best of show awards from the Malofiej Infographics World Summit for work that included coverage of the Iraq war. Mr. Blow became the paper's design director for news before leaving in 2006 to become the art director of National Geographic magazine. Before joining The Times, Mr. Blow had been a graphic artist at The Detroit News. Mr. Blow is the author of "Fire Shut Up in My Bones," released in September 2014. He graduated magna cum laude from Grambling State University in Louisiana, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in mass communications. He lives in Brooklyn and has three children.

Philip Goodwin FreelonHonorary Doctor of Fine Arts:  Philip Goodwin Freelon, FAIA

Phil Freelon is the founder of The Freelon Group, Architects and is now part of Perkins+Will, the global architecture and design firm. He leads 70 professionals in Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina.

The team of Freelon Adjaye Bond / SmithGroup authored the design for the Smithsonian's new National Museum of African American History and Culture currently under construction on the Mall in Washington, DC. A native of Philadelphia, PA, Freelon earned his Bachelor of Environmental Design degree from North Carolina State University and his Master of Architecture degree from MIT. Freelon also received a Loeb Fellowship from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. He has lectured at major universities across the country and is currently on the faculty at MIT's School of Architecture + Planning.

Freelon is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects and in 2012, President Obama appointed him to the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts.


Excellence in Art Education Award

In line with its mission to provide access to superior art education to the public, MassArt honors distinguished art educators from Massachusetts who have shown a lifetime achievement in serving the public.  These individuals are pioneers or innovators in their practice of helping their students develop artistic minds, all the while promoting equity in access to art education.

Joanne McKennaExcellence in Art Education Award: Joanne McKenna '81

Joanne McKenna has been an educator in the Revere Public School System for 32 years at the K-8 and high school levels. Her additional roles at Revere High School include: Co-Director of Student Activities, Advisor for Words Not Weapons and the Multicultural Teen Awareness Programs, and Counselor for the Transitional Summer Program that works to transition at-risk youth into high school.

McKenna has committed years of service to the City of Revere. McKenna founded the Revere Beautification Committee and the Beachmont Improvement Committee and has received many awards from the City including Educator of the Year in 2016 and Citizen of the Year Award in 2014. In June 2015 McKenna was elected the Ward One Councilor for the City of Revere. McKenna received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art Education from MassArt in 1981, followed by a Master of Science in Psychology from Lesley University, a Master of Education from Fitchburg State, and a Licensure in School Administration from Merrimack College.