USC announced Friday it will confer seven honorary degrees at its May 10 commencement ceremony, with Rep. Karen Bass, D-Los Angeles, philanthropists Edythe and Eli Broad and dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov among the recipients.
Arthur C. Bartner, who has been director of the Trojan Marching Band for nearly five decades, pioneering statistician, anesthesiologist and neuroscientist Emery Neal Brown and Cindy Hensley McCain, widow of Sen. John McCain, will also be honored at the university’s 136th commencement, where about 15,000 degrees will be conferred.
Bass, a former assemblywoman, was the first African-American woman to serve as speaker of any state legislative body. First elected to Congress in 2011, she has represented the 37th Congressional District, which includes the University Park campus, since 2013.
Bass was sworn in as chair of the 55-member Congressional Black Caucus in January and chairs both the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security, and the House Foreign Affairs committee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations.
A lifelong Angeleno, Bass was an emergency room physician assistant at County-USC Medical Center early in her career and later earned a master’s degree from the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work.
The Broads are known for donating more than $4 billion to a variety of arts, education and health organizations, initiatives and causes, including supporting the LA Opera and Los Angeles Public Library, establishing the Broad Stage and founding The Broad contemporary art museum, which offers free general admission and has welcomed more than 2.5 million visitors since it opened in September 2015 in downtown Los Angeles.
The Broad Center helps develop education leaders, and the Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at the Keck School of Medicine of USC is dedicated to early detection of disease, improved therapies and faster recovery times.
Baryshnikov, founder and artistic director of the Baryshnikov Arts Center in New York City, has danced more than 100 roles and has performed with American Ballet Theatre, the Mariinsky Ballet, New York City Ballet and the Royal Ballet. As an actor, he received a Drama Desk Award and a Tony Award nomination for “Metamorphosis,” while his role in “The Turning Point” earned him an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor. He is currently touring the play “Brodsky/Baryshnikov.”
Under Bartner’s direction, USC’s band has performed at the Olympic Games, the Academy Awards and the Grammys, appeared in more than 125 movies and television shows and collaborated with the rock group Fleetwood Mac, resulting in two platinum albums.
Last year, the Trojan Marching Band’s new facility was named in Bartner’s honor, and the Trojan football team established the Dr. Arthur C. Bartner Trojan Commitment Award for dedication. He was inducted into the USC Athletic Hall of Fame in 2012.
Brown is the first African American, the first statistician and the first anesthesiologist to be elected to the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering and National Academy of Medicine. He is the Edward Hood Taplin Professor of Medical Engineering at MIT and the Warren M. Zapol Professor of Anesthesia at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital.
He has deepened our understanding of the human brain and expanded the boundaries of neuroscience by using a statistical approach to create numerous breakthroughs in the field of anesthesiology. He built new paradigms for monitoring patients under general anesthesia and defined more accurately the brain’s response to anesthetic drugs. His statistics research has also enhanced understanding of how the brain transmits information, and provided insight into the way neurons adapt and evolve.
McCain is chairman of the board of the McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University and also chairs the institute’s Human Trafficking Advisory Council. She also serves as co-chair of the Arizona Governor’s Council on human trafficking.
The mother of four holds both undergraduate and graduate degrees in education from USC and is a member of the USC Rossier School of Education Board of Councilors. She also serves on the board of directors of Project C.U.R.E; on the advisory boards of Too Small To Fail and Warriors and Quiet Waters; and is the chairman of her family’s business, Hensley Beverage Co., which is one of the largest Anheuser-Busch distributors in the country.