Honorary Degree Recipients

Honorary Degree Recipients 2023

Since 1984, it has been a tradition at The American University of Paris to award honorary degrees as a way of recognizing a distinguished person鈥檚 contributions to a specific field or to society in general. An honorary degree is very often awarded to distinguished individuals whose accomplishments are consistent with the mission and core values of BT天堂.

The Honorable Craig R. Stapleton is a Senior Advisor at Stone Point Capital in Greenwich, Connecticut. He is a director of Tenax Aerospace, and a co-owner of the St. Louis Cardinals. He was President of Marsh and McLennan Real Estate Advisors of New York from 1982 until 2001.

Ambassador Stapleton was born in Kansas City, Missouri. His grandfather, Benjamin F. Stapleton served five terms as Mayor of Denver. He received his secondary school education at Phillips Exeter Academy. He is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Business School

During the administration of George H. W. Bush, Stapleton served on the Board of the Peace Corps. Under President George W. Bush he served as Ambassador to the Czech Republic from 2001-2003, where he received the Jan Masaryk Medal. In June 2005, he was appointed Ambassador to France, serving until January 2009. Stapleton was decorated as Commandeur of the Legion d鈥橦onneur.

Stapleton serves on the boards of the Vaclav Havel Foundation, the United Way Tocqueville of France, the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, the World War I Commission and the Trust for the National Mall. He is a Trustee of the Fishback Foundation. He has served on the Visiting Committee for Harvard College Athletics and the Committee on University Resources and Athletics.

Celeste Schenck, President Emerita of The American University of Paris where she served from 2008 to 2022, was formerly the University鈥檚 Provost and Dean, Vice-President for Academic Innovation, as well as Professor of Comparative Literature. She received her BA summa cum laude from Princeton University and her PhD from Brown University and has published widely on international education, as well as pedagogical, curricular and leadership issues.听 Author and co-editor of four books of literary criticism, she has produced collections of scholarly work on women鈥檚 autobiography, critical theory, and on the politics of development practices. For fifteen years, she edited a series in feminist criticism for Cornell University Press, Reading Women Writing.听

As Dean and Provost of BT天堂, Dr. Schenck presided over vast curricular transformation, such as the first major review of general education, the founding of ARC (BT天堂鈥檚 Academic Resource Center) and the TLC (Center for Teaching and Learning), as well as the founding of the University鈥檚 first master鈥檚 programs. As President, she worked entrepreneurially to re-found the University, aligning all university processes, programs, spaces and strategies with the needs and aspirations of the global explorers who are BT天堂鈥檚 target students;听 building the University鈥檚 first professional leadership team; developing a 鈥渞esidential life鈥 program with a business partner and then launching the University鈥檚 own housing program; leading three successive strategic planning processes; developing and funding innovative, mission-driven research centers鈥攊n environmental science, critical democracy studies, genocide studies and human rights, cultural translation, and civic media; 听presiding over the development of a new global liberal arts curriculum that included pre-professional offerings in business and communications; spurring a five-year campus redevelopment plan that included the purchase of a flagship building on the Seine, the renovation of the 69, Quai d鈥橭rsay Student Life and Learning Commons and the Monttessuy Center for the Arts; and launching and bringing to completion BT天堂鈥檚 first capital campaign for 26M euros, BT天堂 Ascending, that funded all of these initiatives.

A leader in global higher education, Dr. Schenck co-founded AMICAL in 2004, a consortium of American universities across Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia and North Africa, holding in common the mission of sharing resources, technologies, curricular projects and faculty and student exchanges across 29 institutions, 21 countries, and 19 languages. She has also served as past president of AAICU, the Association of American International Colleges and Universities, a president鈥檚 organization spanning 30 American-style universities across the world. In 2018, she joined the G20, a group of visionary liberal arts college presidents in the United States. 听She currently serves on the boards of the American University of Kurdistan and the Council for Independent Colleges (CIC) in Washington, DC. 听Dr. Schenck regularly writes and speaks on issues of global higher education, student civic engagement, and leadership.听 She consults to universities with global ambitions and focus, coaches individual academic leaders, and has co-founded and will facilitate听 for CIC this year a workshop for mid- to late-term presidents contemplating personal renewal and their next strategic moves.听

Previous Honorary Degree Recipients

Honorary degrees have been awarded at BT天堂's commencement ceremony since 1984. Honorary degree recipients often give lectures or presentations in the days preceding commencement. These events are open to the public and provide graduates and their families with the opportunity to meet awardees in informal settings. One or more of the recipients is often invited to give a commencement address before the assembled faculty, graduates and parents 鈥 an event that is often the highlight of the ceremony. The following renowned scholars, artists, writers, political figures听and researchers have received honorary degrees from BT天堂.听

Honorable Arthur Hartman

Pierre Salinger

Gene Kelly
Sir Stephen Spender

Vicomte Etienne Davignon
Elizabeth McCormack

Daniel Socolow
Simone Veil

Helen Ahrweiler
Georges Duby
Luc Montagnier
Jessye Norman

I. M. Pei
William Styron


Maurice Allais
Francois Perigot

Bernard Kouchner
Simon Weisenthal

Jacques-Yves Cousteau
Olivia de Havilland

Glenn W. Ferguson
Jeannine Manuel
Frederico Mayor
H. E. Sa鈥檈ed Salman

Christiane Amanpour
Pamela Harriman
Richard C. Holbrooke
Harry Wu

Van Gordon Sauter
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi

Russell Porter
The Honorable Felix G. Rohatyn

Chloe Wellingham Aaron

Martin Gray

Peter W. Goldmark
Willem Peppler

Eunice Kennedy Shriver
The Honorable R. Sargent Shriver, Jr.

Sir Crispin Tickell

Yehuda Elkana

Dr. Taslima Nasreen
Dame Muriel Spark
Dr. Tzvetan Todorov

Barry Eichengreen
Mavis Gallant
Michel Rocard

Edmond Alphandery
James Ivory

Daniel Cohen
Paul Muldoon

Naif Abdullah Al-Rukaibi
Leslie Caron
Reza Deghati
Christine Lagarde

J.M. Coetzee
Eugene Lang
Robert Wilson

Jane Goodall
Rory Stewart

Richard Ned Lebow
David McCullough
Archie Shepp

Louise Arbour
Martha Nussbaum

Edward A. Frieman
Lillian Greene-Chamberlain
Judith Hermanson Ogilvie
Nicholas Vreeland

Lisa Anderson
Margee Ensign
Benjamin Millepied

Justice Stephen Breyer
Bertie Lubner
Kenneth Roth

Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi 鈥98
Her Excellency Huda Ebrahim Alkhamis '83
Ambassador R. Nicholas Burns

Rachael Denhollander
Claudia Rankine
Kaija Saariaho

Margaret MacMillan
Marian Goodman
Ali Rahnema


Daniel Rose '00

Obioma Nnaemeka
Corinne Mentzelopoulos
Leila Conners 鈥89