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Webster University History

Facts and figures about Webster University throughout its history



  • Olive D. Wakeman, executive assistant to Conrad N. Hilton, president of Hilton Hotels, Doctor of Humane Letters (first honorary degree conferred by Webster, February 2, 1964)



  • General Leif J. Sverdrup, co-founder of Sverdrup & Parcel, Doctor of Letters


  • Dr. Vary Coates, senior staff scientist and head of the Technology Assessment Group, George Washington University, Doctor of Science
  • Morton D. May, Former President of May Dept. Stores, Doctor of Fine Arts



  • Dr. John Hanley, Monsanto Chairman, Doctor of Science


  • Laurance Browning, Chairman – Opera Theatre, Doctor of Arts


  • Malcolm Forbes, Publisher of Forbes magazine, Doctor of Laws
  • Raoul Kneucker, Commencement Speaker – Webster-Vienna, Doctor of Science


  • Sandi Freeman, St. Louisan – Moderator of Cable TV News Program, Doctor of Letters
  • Colin Graham, Opera Theatre Conductor, Doctor of Arts
  • Gen. Thomas Ryan, Military Airlift Commander at Scott AFB, Doctor of Science
  • Gertrude Schoen, Webster-Vienna Donor, Doctor of Humane Letters
  • Walter Schoen, Webster-Vienna Donor, Doctor of Humane Letters
  • Gen. P.X. Kelley, Marine Corps Commander, Doctor of Science


  • Henry Cisneros, Mayor of San Antonio, TX, Doctor of Humanities
  • Richard Gaddes, Director of Opera Theatre, Doctor of Music


  • Brian Lamb, Head of C-Span Cable TV, Doctor of Humanities
  • Gen. Winfield Scott, U.S. Air Force Academy, Doctor of Laws
  • Wallace Smith, St. Louis Artist, Doctor of Fine Arts
  • Carl Hahn, Head of Volkswagenwerk – Germany, Doctor of Humanities


  • Valery Giscard D’Estaing, Former President of France, Doctor of Humanities
  • Allan Woods, Former St. Louisan – Agency for Int’l Development, Doctor of Humanities
  • Lt. Gen. Duane Cassidy, General at Scott AFB, Doctor of Laws
  • George Eberle, St. Louis Humanitarian, Doctor of Humanities
  • Dith Pran, Vietnamese Refugee portrayed in “Killing Fields,” Doctor of Humanities
  • Harriet Woods, MO Political Leader – Nat’l Women’s Political Caucus, Doctor of Laws


  • Marion Cairns, Webster Groves State Representative, Doctor of Laws
  • Peter Raven, Head of Missouri Botanical Garden, Doctor of Humanities
  • Eugene Wehrli, President of Eden Theological Seminary, Doctor of Letters
  • Del Doss Hemsley, St. Louis Educator, Doctor of Letters
  • Howard Nemerov, Poet Laureate from St. Louis, Doctor of Letters
  • Dr. & Mrs. Leigh Gerdine, President of Webster University, Doctor of Humanities
  • Henry Grunwald, U.S. Ambassador to Austria, Doctor of Humanities (awarded in Vienna)



  • Judge Anna Forder, St. Louis Judge, Doctor of Laws
  • Dr. Paul Reinert, St. Louis Educator, Doctor of Laws
  • Dr. Elisabeth Price, St. Louis AIDS Humanitarian, Doctor of Humanities
  • Robert Shannon, Noted Minority Athletic Coach in E. St. Louis, Doctor of Humanities
  • Katherine Dunham, Renowned Dancer, Doctor of Fine Arts
  • Stuart Robinson, Member of Webster-Geneva Advisory Board, Doctor of Laws


  • Thomas Eagleton, Noted Legislator, Former U.S. Senator from Missouri, Doctor of Laws
  • Margie W. May, Founding Webster Board Member, Doctor of Humane Letters
  • Max J. Starkloff, President of Paraquad, Doctor of Humane Letters
  • Robert Sunnen, Webster Board Member – Posthumous Award, Doctor of Humane Letters


  • William Donaldson, President of New York Stock Exchange, Doctor of Laws
  • Anna Crosslin, Pres. Int’l Institute of Metropolis St. Louis, Doctor of Humane Letters
  • Jean Mayer, President of Tufts University (Nutritionist), Doctor of Humane Letters
  • Helen Nash, Noted St. Louis Pediatrician, Doctor of Humane Letters
  • Lloyd Richards, Theatrical Director and Teacher of Drama, Doctor of Humane Letters
  • Theodore Sizer, Educational Reform Leader/Educator, Doctor of Humane Letters
  • Herbert Krejcki, Vienna Philanthropist, Doctor of Humane Letters (awarded in Vienna)


  • Richard Gephardt, U.S. Congressman – Third District of Missouri, Doctor of Laws
  • Susan Stepleton, Director of Edgewood Children’s Home, Doctor of Humane Letters
  • Charles "Bud" Wilkinson, Webster University Trustee/Scholar – Athlete, Doctor of Laws
  • Arthur Dewey, Former Deputy UN High Commissioner For Refugees, Doctor of Laws (awarded in Geneva)


  • James Barnes, Missouri State Representative – Webster Alumnus, Doctor of Laws (awarded in Kansas City)
  • Jack Buck, Renowned Sports Broadcaster, Doctor of Humane Letters
  • Swanee Hunt, Ambassador to Vienna, Doctor of Humane Letters (awarded in Vienna)
  • Martin Mathews, Executive Director of Mathews-Dickey Boys’ Club, Doctor of Humane Letters
  • Sr. Mary Jean Ryan, Executive Director of SSM Health Systems, Director of Humane Letters


  • Gwendolyn Woods Stephenson, former Chancellor of St. Louis Community College, Doctor of Humane Letters


  • Lt. Col. Eileen Collins, NASA astronaut and Space Shuttle Commander and Webster alumna, Doctor of Science
  • Simon Wiesenthal, Doctor of Humanities (awarded in Vienna)
  • Franz Konig, Doctor of Humanities (awarded in Vienna)


  • Judith A. Roberts, vice-president and executive assistant to the chairman of the board and president of Anheuser-Busch Companies, Doctor of Humanities
  • Marsha Mason, actress and Webster alumna ’64, Doctor of Fine & Performing Arts


  • Richard A. Liddy, Chairman of the GenAmerica Financial Corporation in St. Louis, Doctor of Humanities,
  • Wil Albeda, former minister of Social Affairs & Labor of the Netherlands, Doctor of Humanities
  • Cornelio Sommaruga, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Doctor of Humane Letters (awarded in Geneva)


  • The Honorable George H.W. Bush, 41st President of the United States of America, Doctor of Laws
  • Paul Watzlawick, pioneer in family therapy, Doctor of Humane Letters (awarded in Vienna)



  • James H. Buford, President of the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, Doctor of Humane Letters
  • Clark Terry, world-renowned trumpet player and jazz artist, Doctor of Music


  • James W. Symington, former U.S. Representative from Missouri, Doctor of Laws
  • Kathryn Walt Hall, former U.S. Ambassador to Austria, Doctor of Humane Letters (awarded in Vienna)
  • Virabongsa Ramangkura, President of Bangkok Expressway Public Co. Ltd., Doctor of Laws (awarded in Thailand)


  • Roger W. Ferguson, Jr., Vice Chairman, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Doctor of Laws
  • Robert Q. Costas, broadcaster, Doctor of Humane Letters


  • Captain D. Michael Abrashoff, CEO of Grassroots Leadership, Inc., Doctor of Laws
  • Richard Riley, former U.S. Secretary of Education and Governor of South Carolina, Doctor of Laws (awarded by Webster's Greenville, S.C. campus)


  • Paul M. Kennedy, J. Richardson Dilworth professor of History and director of International Security Studies at Yale University, Doctor of Letters
  • George Herbert Walker III, Trustee Emeritus, Doctor of Laws


  • Consuelo Uribe Wise Gallagher, Webster Faculty Emeritus, Doctor of Laws
  • Jerry Mitchell, choreographer, Doctor of Letters
  • H. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, President of Indonesia and Webster alumnus, Doctor of Laws


  • Francis G. Slay, Mayor of the City of St. Louis, Doctor of Laws
  • August A. Busch IV, former CEO of Anheuser-Busch, Doctor of Business Administration (awarded in Leiden)


  • Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Doctor of Laws
  • Jacqueline Grennan Wexler, former president of Webster, Doctor of Laws
  • Philip G. Zimbardo, social psychologist, Doctor of Humane Letters (awarded in Vienna)


  • J. Robert Kerrey, President of The New School, Doctor of Laws


  • Rocky Carroll, actor and Webster alumnus ‘85, Doctor of Letters
  • David Robertson, Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra Music Director and Conductor, Doctor of Letters
  • Hugh Grant, Monsanto Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Doctor of Science



  • Lt. Col. Gregory D. Gadson, Webster alumnus ’01, military veteran and motivational speaker, Doctor of Laws
  • Patricia McKissack, Webster alumna and award-winning children’s book author, Doctor of Letters


  • Christopher S. ‘Kit’ Bond, U.S. Senator from Missouri, Doctor of Laws
  • Aldwyn Cooper, Chief Executive and Principal of Regent’s College in London, Doctor of Humane Letters
  • Mary Alice Dwyer-Dobbin, Webster alumna and Executive in Charge of Production for Procter & Gamble, Doctor of Humane Letters


  • Anne W. Patterson, U.S. Ambassador to Egypt, Doctor of Laws
  • Mike Woolston, Mayor of Joplin, Missouri, Doctor of Humane Letters
  • Mary Ann Wyrsch, Webster alumna, former United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees, Doctor of Humane Letters


  • Norbert Leo Butz, actor, Doctor of Humane Letters


  • Koko Tanimoto Kondo, Hiroshima survivor and peace activist, Doctor of Humane Letters


  • Barbara Ann Barbato, SL, Professor Emerita, Doctor of Pedagogy
  • Dwight Bitikofer, journalist, Doctor of Letters
  • Helen Hagen, television and film producer, Doctor of Humanities
  • Jenifer Lewis, actress, Doctor of Humane Letters
  • Sanford J. (Sandy) Zimmerman, chairperson of Webster's first lay board, Doctor of Laws


  • Jim Weddle, CEO of Edward Jones, Doctor of Business Administration


  • Gen. Paul J. Selva, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Doctor of Laws


  • Michael P. McMillan, head of the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, Doctor of Humane Letters


  • Col. Sidney (Sid) Gutierrez, '77, astronaut, Doctor of Science
  • Brenda Newberry, '79, CEO (ret.) The Newberry Group, Doctor of Business Administration
  • Elizabeth Robb, '65, CEO (ret.) Robb Partners REALTORS, Doctor of Laws.
  • Katy Sullivan, '02, actress, writer, producer, athlete, Doctor of Humane Letters



  • Vladimir Ivkovic, '99, neuroscientist, Doctor of Science
  • Will D. Carpenter, scientist and philanthropist, Doctor of Humanitarian Service


  • Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Olympic athlete and medalist, Doctor of Humane Letters
  • Virginia (Jinny) Jackson Browning, philanthropist, Doctor of Laws