CIM has added an iconic musical figure to its illustrious list of Honorary Doctorates at the 87th Annual Commencement Ceremony held on May 19 in the Conservatory's Kulas Hall.
The Board of Trustees conferred approximately 120 undergraduate and graduate degrees upon the 2012 graduates at a ceremony that also presented legendary pianist Van Cliburn with an honorary doctorate.
Van Cliburn has been hailed as one of the most persuasive ambassadors of American culture, as well as one of the greatest pianists of all time. With his historic 1958 victory at the first International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow at the height of the Cold War, Mr. Cliburn transcended politics by demonstrating the universality of classical music. The American-born pianist received a ticker-tape parade, the only time a classical musician was ever honored with the highest tribute possible by New York City and was featured on the cover of Time magazine (May 1958) with the headline "The Texan Who Conquered Russia." He quickly became a household name to people of all ages and, most significantly, in homes with no previous connection to classical music.
Mr. Cliburn has performed for every President of the United States since Harry Truman, for royalty and for heads of state in Europe, Asia and South America. He has received Kennedy Center Honors, the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and, in a 2004 Kremlin ceremony, the Order of Friendship from President Vladimir Putin. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush in 2003 and the National Medal of Arts in 2011 from President Barack Obama.
CIM's Commencement was preceded by the Honors Convocation on Friday, May 18 at 4:30 p.m. in Mixon Hall. The Convocation ceremony honored student and alumni achievements and featured musical performances.
Being recognized at this year's Convocation were the following alumni: William Martin, retired division head of Music History and Graduate Studies in the department of music at Cleveland State University; Paul Schenly, head of CIM's piano department; Carrie-Anne Matheson, assistant conductor for the Metropolitan Opera; and cellist Joshua Roman, dubbed the "Classical Rock Star" by the press.
Complete bios can be found here.