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President and CEO of the Shedd Aquarium Bridget Coughlin '94, who will deliver the Commencement address; jazz musician Matt Wilson; and pedagogical theorist Gloria Ladson-Billings

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CEO, Jazz Musician, Pedagogical Theorist to Receive Honorary Degrees

President and CEO of the Shedd Aquarium Bridget Coughlin '94, who will deliver the Commencement address; jazz musician Matt Wilson; and pedagogical theorist Gloria Ladson-Billings

Knox College announced today the recipients of honorary degrees to be awarded at the 2019 Commencement exercises on Sunday, June 2. They are President and CEO of the Shedd Aquarium Bridget Coughlin '94, who will deliver the Commencement address; jazz musician Matt Wilson; and pedagogical theorist Gloria Ladson-Billings.

About the 2019 Honorary Degree recipients:

Bridget Coughlin

Bridget Coughlin ’94 is president and CEO of the Shedd Aquarium, Chicago’s most-visited cultural attraction and a national leader in animal care, conservation education, and marine research.

Coughlin leads the aquarium’s mission to educate and engage the public about aquatic animals and their habitats. Before joining Shedd in 2015, she served as vice president of strategic partnerships and adjunct curator at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science and spent five years at the National Academy of Sciences, where she served as managing editor of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Coughlin graduated from Knox with a self-designed degree in biochemistry, earned a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Iowa, and received an executive MBA certificate from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Coughlin has led teams funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute conducting research projects on infectious disease. She also was part of an international team at Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory that completed a research project on genetics. She received an Alumni Achievement Award from Knox in February 2019.

Matt Wilson

Knoxville, Illinois, native Matt Wilson has released 13 albums as a leader, appeared on more than 400 others as a sideman, and has played with an impressive array of some of the most legendary names in jazz. He was named 2018 Musician of the Year by the Jazz Journalists Association and his album, Honey And Salt (Music Inspired by the Poetry of Carl Sandburg), won the association's Album of the Year Award.

The New York-based drummer is one of the most in-demand players and educators on the modern jazz scene. He leads many distinctive ensembles, including the Matt Wilson Quartet, Arts & Crafts, Honey and Salt, Big Happy Family, Topsy Turvy, and the Christmas Tree-O.

Wilson was voted Drummer of the Year by the Jazz Journalists Association in 2003 and 2011, topped the “Rising Star Drummer” category in DownBeat’s Critics Poll for five consecutive years, was inducted into the Wichita State University Fine Arts Hall of Fame in 2016, and received a Grammy nomination in 2011.

In demand as an educator, he’s led workshops and master classes around the world and is a member of the faculty at the New School, SUNY Purchase, San Francisco Conservatory, Sarah Lawrence College, and Prins Claus Conservatory in Groningen, Holland.

Gloria Ladson-Billings

Gloria Ladson-Billings is a pedagogical theorist whose research examines socio-cultural issues in the classroom. She is the president of the National Academy of Education and is Professor Emerita and former Kellner Family Distinguished Professor in Urban Education in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Ladson-Billings is the author of the critically acclaimed books, The Dreamkeepers: Successful Teachers of African American Children, Crossing over to Canaan: The Journey of New Teachers in Diverse Classrooms, and Beyond the Big House: African American Educators on Teacher Education. She is editor of eight other books and author of more than 100 journal articles and book chapters.

She was the 2005-2006 president of the American Educational Research Association and the former editor of the American Educational Research Journal. Her work has won numerous scholarly awards including the H.I. Romnes Faculty Fellowship, the NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship, and the Palmer O. Johnson outstanding research award. She is a 2018 recipient of the AERA Distinguished Research Award, and she was elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 2018.

The 2019 Knox College Commencement will be held on Sunday, June 2, at 10:00 a.m. on the South Lawn of Old Main on the Knox College campus. It is free and open to the public.

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Printed on Sunday, December 08, 2019