Hank Azaria to Deliver Address at Tufts’ 160th Commencement May 22

May 10, 2016

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Kalimah Redd Knight

MEDFORD/SOMERVILLE, Mass. (May 10, 2016)— Award-winning film, television and stage actor, producer and comedian Hank Azaria will deliver Tufts University’s commencement address on Sunday, May 22, and receive an honorary doctor of humane letters degree. Azaria is a member of Tufts’ 1987 graduating class.

Well-known for voicing numerous characters on the Emmy-winning animated television series The Simpsons, Azaria is planning to deliver at least a portion of his graduation advice in the personality and voice of Simpsons characters. He has won five Emmys and a Screen Actors Guild Award. He currently appears on Showtime’s Ray Donovan and will star in The Public’s off-Broadway play Dry Powder. He recently completed production on the independent film Oppenheimer Strategies and HBO’s The Wizard of Lies. He has starred in many films, including The Birdcage, Lovelace, America’s Sweethearts, Pretty Woman, Grosse Pointe Blank, Quiz Show and Shattered Glass, and has also had recurring roles on the television series Mad About You and Friends.

WHEN: 9 a.m., Sunday, May 22, 2016 (Media should arrive no later than 8:45 a.m.)
WHERE: The Green (academic quad) on Tufts' Medford/Somerville campus
WHO: Faculty in academic regalia; some 3,000 graduates from Tufts' undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools; family and friends.

In addition to Azaria, honorary degree recipients include:

  • Janet Echelman, internationally acclaimed artist. Using unlikely materials, from fishing nets to atomized water particles, Echelman creates permanent sculpture on a large scale. Recent works include an aerial sculpture suspended over Boston’s Rose Kennedy Greenway, an installation at the Renwick Gallery in Washington, D.C., and pieces in Vancouver, Phoenix, San Francisco and Porto, Portugal. (Honorary doctor of fine arts).
  • H. Jack Geiger, physician and human rights advocate. With Tufts colleagues, Geiger created the community health center model in the U.S., founding the nation’s first two community health centers and pioneering a national network that now serves 28 million low-income patients. He is the Arthur C. Logan Professor of Community Medicine emeritus at the City University of New York Medical School and served on the faculties of SUNY-Stonybrook School of Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine and Harvard Medical School. (Honorary doctor of public service).
  • Martin Granoff, entrepreneur, business leader and Tufts parent and trustee emeritus. His generosity made possible Tufts’ Perry and Martin Granoff Music Center, and he was instrumental in establishing the Granoff Family Hillel Center at Tufts. He is the founder and chairman of Val D’Or Inc/Cannon County Knitting Mills, chairman of Koret of California, and founder and chairman of National Textiles. He is a trustee of the National Hillel Foundation and a former trustee of Brown University, from which he received an honorary degree. (Honorary doctor of public service).
  • Sonia Manzano, actress and writer best known for playing Maria on Sesame Street for more than 40 years. Manzano won 15 Emmys as a writer for Sesame Street and was twice nominated for an Emmy as Outstanding Performer in a Children’s Series. In addition to writing for the stage and television, she has written children’s picture books and young adult novels. (Honorary doctor of fine arts).
  • Margot Stern Strom, president emerita and senior scholar of Facing History and Ourselves. Her work as an international leader in education for justice and the preservation of democracy has enabled millions of students and their teachers to study the Holocaust and investigate the root causes of racism, anti-Semitism and violence. (Honorary doctor of humane letters).

In addition, Arianna Huffington, journalist, author, commentator and co-founder of the Huffington Post, will deliver the Class Day speech at the Fletcher School on May 21.