Honorary Degrees

Each year, the Faculty of Whittier College have the distinct honor to nominate and select candidates to receive the College's highest award, the honorary doctorate. Since the first ceremony in 1913, the impressive list of honorands has included pioneers, rising stars, and key contributors in the fields of science, business, politics, engineering, education, and the humanities, among others.

Following is the comprehensive list of our most distinguished Whittier College honorary degree recipients.

Year Honored Degree Granted
1913 Ford ​Ashman Carpenter Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
1915 Thomas Newlin Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
1916 Charles E. Tebbetts
William P. Trueblood
Doctor of Divinity (D.D.)
Master of Arts (M.A.)
1917 Gilbert Bowles Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
1918 H. Edwin McGrew
John S. Kimber
Doctor of Divinity (D.D.)
Bachelor of Arts (A.B.)
1927 Willard O. Trueblood
William John Cooper
Doctor of Divinity (D.D.)
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
1928 Lou Henry Hoover Doctor of Letters (Litt. D.)
1929 Francis J. Dell
Vierling Kersey
Doctor of Divinity (D.D.)
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
1932 Imelda E. Brooks Master of Education (M.Ed.)
1934 Walter Friar Dexter Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
1937 Mrs. Alexander R. Kerr Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
1938 Herbert E. Harris
Gustaf F. Ostrom
Doctor of Letters (Litt.D)
Doctor of Science (Sc.D.)
1942 O. Herschel Folger Doctor of Divinity (D.D.)
1945 George Reeves Doctor of Laws (L.L.D.)
1946 Jessamyn West McPherson
William O. Mendenhall
Doctor of Letters (Litt. D)
Doctor of Divinity (D.D.)
1947 Harry Noble Wright Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
1948 Howard L. Hockett
Rufus M. Jones
Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.)
Doctor of Letters (Litt.D.)
1950 Clarence Evan Pickett Doctor of Divinity (D.D.)
1951 Henry Joell Cadbury Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
1954 Richard M. Nixon Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
1956 LaMotte T. Cohu Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
1957 Preston Hotchkis
Donald Byron Spitler
Aubrey Wardman
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
Doctor of Divinity (D.D.)
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
1958 Wofford B. Camp Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
1959 John Stauffer Doctor of Laws (LL.D)
1960 Benjamin K. Swartz Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
1961 Joseph Herschel Coffin
Herman H. Henkle
Lewis Elden Smith
Doctor of Letters (Litt.D.)
Doctor of Letters (Litt.D.)
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
1962 Arthur Fisher Corey
Joseph Parker Cosand, Jr.
Paul S. Smith
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
1963 E. Ezra Ellis
Mark O. Hatfield
Harold Foster Spencer
Doctor of Divinity (D.D.)
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
Doctor of Science (Sc.D.)
1964 William McCormick Blair, Jr.
Arthur G. Coons
Edward J. Guirado
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
1965 Evangeline Brainard Burgess
Leslie Townes (Bob) Hope
Warren Barr Knox
Margaret Chase Smith
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
1966 Chester Earl Holifield Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
1968 Richard Armour
Eugene Gonzales
Leo E. Owens
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
1969 Frank Borman
Robert D. Fisher
Stanley Meyer
Doctor of Science (Sc.D.)
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
1970 Harold C. Case
Raymond Philip Shafer
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
At the Inaugural Convocation of Dr. Fredrick Moore Binder
1971 Arnold O. Beckman
Melvin Calvin
Kristen Stendahl
Doctor of Science (Sc.D.)
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
Doctor of Divinity (D.D.)
1972 Patricia Reilly Hitt
Robert M. McAllister
N. Loyall McLaren
Elliot Lee Richardson
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
Doctor of Science ((Sc.D.)
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
1973 Richard P. Ettinger, Jr.
Allan W. Ostar
W. Clement Stone
Doctor of Letters (Litt. D.)
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
1974 Jessamyn West McPherson
Donald E. Graham
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
1975 John Hope Franklin
Walter Manuel Garcia
Howard Payne House
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Science (Sc. D.)
1976 Thomas Bradley
William H.D. Hornaday
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
Doctor of Divinity (D.D.)
1977 Albert R. Behnke, Jr.
Thomas W. Bewley
​John K. Van de Kamp
Beverly M. Stauffer
Doctor of Science (Sc.D.)
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
1978 Jan J. Erteszek
Ross McCollum
Carl E. Sagan
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
Doctor of Science (Sc. D)
1979 Ray Douglas Bradbury
Henry A. Lacy
John A. Murdy, Jr.
Doctor of  Letters (Litt. D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
1980 Theodor Seuss Geisel
John Houseman
Doctor of  Letters (Litt. D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
1981 Julian Nava
Wallace R. Turner
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
1982 Ernest L. Boyer
Oscar O. Marshburn
Carl L. Randolph. Jr.
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
1983 Knud Helm-Erichsen
Charles T. Manatt
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
1984 Paul Blair Salmon
Peter Heath Dailey
Richard H. Deihl
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.)
1985 Jan de Hartog
Klane E. Robison
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Divinity (D.D.)
1986 Ernest J. Gaines
Robert F. Rockwell
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
1987 Yuri V. Medvedkov
Jack Smith
William F. House
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Science (Sc.D.)
1988 Francis L. Dale
Stuart E. Gothold
Joseph W. Elder
Barry Lopez
R. Chandler Myers
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
1989 Dorothy Wright Nelson
F. Sherwood Rowland
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
Doctor of Science (Sc.D.)
1990 Morris S. Dees, Jr.
Benjamin B. Tregoe, Jr.
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
1991 Paul C.W. Chu
Martin E. Marty
Doctor of Science (Sc.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
1992 Donald M. Stewart
Ruth B. Shannon
Ed L. Shannon, Jr.
Tanya Tull
Doctor of  Letters (Litt.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Social Science (Sc.D.)
1993 Edward James Olmos
Lilian G. Katz
Gordon Gund
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Letters (Litt.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
1994 Archbishop Trevor Huddleston
Rayburn S. Dezember
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
1995 Frank O. Gehry
Clinton O. Harris
Harry W. Nerhood
Doctor of Humanities
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Letters (Litt.D.)
1996 Dolores Lautrup Ball
Al Martinez
Harriet H. Doerr
Judith Malina
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
1997 Robert F. Erburu
Douglas W. Ferguson
Dorothy Antoinette Handy (Miller)
Tina Howe
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
1998 John A. Arcardi
Antonia M. Hernandez
Zilpha Keatley Snyder
Donald E. Wood
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
1999 Charlotte D. Graham
Barry Munitz
Andres Uhrskov
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
2000 Anthony R. Pierno '54
Robert A. Skotheim
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
2001 Julia Scofield Russell
Esteban E. Torres
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
2002 Linda & Peter Biehl
Willard V. Harris, Jr.
Norman Y. Mineta
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
2003 Charles Johnson
Rosario Marin
Alice Newsom
Daniel Schorr
Lisbeth Schorr
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
2004 Simon A. Levin
Rev. Cecil L. "Chip"Murray
Martin Ortiz '48
B. LaRae Orullian
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
2005 Alfred J. Gobar '53
Rafer Johnson
Ruben Martinez
Gordon Sato
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
2007 Antonio Villaraigosa
Isabel Allende
William C. Gordon
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
2008 Justice Richard Goldstone
Dr. Michael Shermer
Venerable Grand Master Hsing Yun
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
2009 Marian Wright Edelman
Al Young
Bharati Mukherjee
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
2010 Nilo Cruz
Luc Montagnier
Keith Jackson
Tim O'Brien
Bill McKibben
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
2011 Bill Moyers
Judith Davidson Moyers
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
2012 David Bohnett
Richard Solomon
Dr. Mario J. Molina
Dr. Rosemary Radford Ruether
​Chauncey Veatch
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
2013 Sonia Nazario Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
2015 Eric Garcetti Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)