On Sunday morning, May 20, Francisco J. Núñez, artistic director and founder of the Young People’s Chorus of New York City, was presented with Gettysburg College’s Honorary Doctor of Music degree at the Gettysburg College commencement ceremony of the Class of 2018 – 608 graduates in all.
Gettysburg College Provost Christopher Zappe presented the honorary degree to Mr. Núñez, citing him as “a leading proponent of the significant role that music can play in achieving diversity and equality in today’s society.” “You are an example,” Provost Zappe said, “of what can be accomplished when young people from different backgrounds are actively encouraged to appreciate and embrace the differences in themselves and others through music.”
Mr. Núñez’s Honorary Doctor of Music degree was one of three presented at the 2018 commencement ceremony. Rebecca “Becky” Stevens Halstead, the first female graduate of West Point, received an Honorary Doctor of Military Science degree, and Howard David Fineman, one of America’s most respected political journalists, received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.
The awards were presented on the steps of Pennsylvania Hall, a historic building that has stood at the heart of the campus since 1837, and which served as a hospital after a decisive Civil War battle swept through the campus in 1863.
Francisco J. Núñez, a MacArthur Fellow, is a composer, conductor, visionary, leading figure in music education, and the artistic director/founder of the Young People’s Chorus of New York City (YPC). Since he founded YPC in 1988, Mr. Núñez has heightened an awareness of the ability of children to rise to unforeseen levels of artistry. Among his many other awards and honors, Mr. Núñez has received an ASCAP Victor Herbert Award and the New York Choral Society’s Choral Excellence Award. NYU Steinhardt presented him with its Distinguished Alumnus Achievement Award, and he is Musical America’s 2018 Educator of the Year. Mr. Nunez previously received an honorary Doctor of Music degree from Ithaca College.
Founded in 1832, Gettysburg College is a highly selective four-year residential college of liberal arts and sciences with a strong academic tradition. Alumni include Rhodes Scholars, a Nobel laureate, and other distinguished scholars. The college enrolls 2,600 undergraduate students and is located on a 200-acre campus adjacent to the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania. Since 1932, Gettysburg College has presented dozens upon dozens of honorary degrees to distinguished public figures from every walk of life. Among recipients in recent years are Cokie Roberts, Clive Davis, David Gergen, Sandra Day O’Connor, Harold Prince, Dave Brubeck, Joseph Papp, Andy Rooney, husband-and- wife journalists Judy Woodruff and Al Hunt, Bob Hope, Dr. Joyce Brothers, Joyce Carol Oats, John Houseman, Isaac Asimov, and Gerald Ford.