Honorary Degree Recipients

Honorary Degree Recipients 2020

Since 1984, it has been a tradition at The American University of Paris to award honorary degrees as a way of recognizing a distinguished person’s contributions to a specific field or to society in general. An honorary degree is very often awarded to distinguished individuals whose accomplishments are consistent with the mission and core values of AUP.

It is with great pleasure that we announce this year's honorary degrees recipients:

Corinne Mentzelopoulos

AUP parent P’17 and member of the AUP Board of Trustees since 2009, Corinne Mentzelopoulos is the owner and Chief Executive Officer of Château Margaux, one of the world’s most prestigious Bordeaux wine estates, the history of which may be traced back to the sixteenth century. The domaine is one of just a handful that can claim the prized Premier Cru designation bestowed by Napoleon III in 1855 upon Bordeaux’s finest terroirs. Recognized worldwide as one of the most prominent women in the wine business, one of France’s most acclaimed women entrepreneurs, and a deeply generous philanthropist, Corinne Mentzelopoulos has reshaped the Chateau’s destiny in the 21st century by creating new wines and commissioning new cellars and a wine library by Norman Foster.  Her philanthropic interests include the Hellenic Initiative, which honors her Greek roots, and French cultural and historical monuments, such as Notre Dame and the Bibliothèque Nationale, both of which she supports.  She has also had a generous hand in renovating the Greek Sculpture wing of the Louvre and in AUP’s destiny as well.  She is a longtime trustee of the Salk Institute.

Corinne Mentzelopoulos believes passionately in the American educational model, the importance of the transatlantic relationship, and continuing cultural exchange between Europe and the United States.   After graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in classical literature and a Master’s degree from Sciences Po in 1979, Corinne Mentzelopoulos began her career at Havas and later worked as a financial controller at Primistères, the company that oversaw the 1,600 Félix Potin shops in Paris acquired and developed by her father Andreas Mentzelopoulos. Following her father’s early death in 1980, just a few years after he acquired Margaux, Corinne took over as head of Château Margaux in her early 20s. Together with famed oenologist Emile Peynaud and the Estate team, and subsequently with winemaker and manager Paul Pontalier, with whom she forged a powerful partnership, she set out to build upon the impetus of her father’s work. She has now managed the vineyard for more than 30 years with extraordinary devotion to the estate’s patrimoine. Thanks to her visionary leadership, Château Margaux is today one of the world’s smallest billion-dollar businesses—it has only 81 devoted employees--with a legendary and global reputation.  Corinne Mentzelopoulos received recognition by the French State in 2012, receiving the distinction of Officier de la Légion d’Honneur.

David McGovern

David McGovern is the longest-serving member of AUP’s Board of Trustees, having guided the University’s path since 1980 for a total of 40 years this year.  His tenure on the Board has paralleled the University’s development from a two-year experiment to an established Master’s university, still the only comprehensive, foreign-accredited institution of higher learning on French soil. During his time as Chair (1989-94), McGovern weathered the First Gulf War, as well as the University’s regularization as a French non-profit and the creation of a full-time faculty for AUP. He chaired two presidential searches and has led virtually every Board committee and weighed in on every strategic decision for four decades.   

Known to all as the public-spirited “mayor” of the American community in Paris, David McGovern came to France in 1967 with his artist wife Maggie and daughters Justine and Alexandra to found Shearman and Sterling’s Law Offices in Paris; when he retired in 1999, the Paris Office employed 75 people.  In between he contributed by turns, and often as Chair of the Board or President, to the American Club, the American Library, the American Hospital, the French-American Foundation, The American Chamber of Commerce and the American Cathedral, where he served as vestryman, warden, and Chancellor.  McGovern befriended virtually every US Ambassador to France over a half a century.  He also spanned, in his own convictions, the entire political spectrum, always bridging divides and bringing people together, arbitrating for civility and community.  At the heart of David McGovern’s ethic of service is his passionate belief in the power of liberal education to open minds.  He is a graduate of St. Paul’s School, Yale University, and Columbia University Law School, as well as a veteran of the Korean War.

Daniel Rose '00

A native of Chicago, AUP alumnus Daniel Rose made his way to Paris to continue the rigorous liberal arts education he began at St. John’s College in Santa Fe, New Mexico, graduating  from AUP with a degree in European Cultural Studies and Philosophy in 2000.  His culinary odyssey began the first days he arrived in Paris, continuing through his studies in Paris, and as he ate and studied his way through European art history, architecture and literature. After graduation, Daniel Rose continued his studies at l’Institut Bocuse in Lyon and took on apprenticeships in prestigious French kitchens. Today he is the visionary behind such celebrated gastronomic establishments as SpringLa Bourse et La Vie and Chez la Vieille in Paris, and most recently Le Coucou in New York, for which he was awarded his first Michelin star. Each of his restaurants are steeped in the local atmosphere, history and culture of the neighborhoods where they are located. Gastronomy, for Daniel Rose, is cultural translation.  

Where most chefs merely tread old ground, Daniel Rose set himself apart as a trendsetter in the world of haute cuisine. Condé Nast Traveller called him ‘a genius’ for his daring in taking on and reworking French classics. Food critics call him unpredictable, disarming, joyous, playful, and irreverent.  Refusing to buckle under the pressures facing able young chefs in Paris (let alone a foreign one), Daniel opened Spring in 2006--his first, much-lauded venture--in the form of an experimental restaurant with no fixed menu.  He reopened it in a larger space near the Louvre in 2010 with help from his wife and partner Marie-Aude, an equally accomplished chef.  La Bourse followed in 2015, and both Chez la Vielle in Paris and Le Coucou in New York opened in 2016.  In 2017 Le Coucou won the James Beard Foundation Award for “Best New Restaurant in the Nation” and it was also named number 58 on the list of the “World’s 50 Best Restaurants.” Last year, he became a partner of Air France, designing meals for business class passengers on flights from the US and Canada to Paris. He claims he never realized how French he had become until he opened Le Coucou in NY and began to live in the US as an adult.  He believes passionately in the potential of cuisine to mediate cultural differences.

Previous Honorary Degree Recipients

Honorary degrees have been awarded at AUP's commencement ceremony since 1984. Honorary degree recipients often give lectures or presentations in the days preceding commencement. These events are open to the public and provide graduates and their families with the opportunity to meet awardees in informal settings. One or more of the recipients is often invited to give a commencement address before the assembled faculty, graduates and parents – an event that is often the highlight of the ceremony. The following renowned scholars, artists, writers, political figures and researchers have received honorary degrees from AUP. 

Honorable Arthur Hartman

Pierre Salinger

Gene Kelly
Sir Stephen Spender

Vicomte Etienne Davignon
Elizabeth McCormack

Daniel Socolow
Simone Veil

Helen Ahrweiler
Georges Duby
Luc Montagnier
Jessye Norman

I. M. Pei
William Styron


Maurice Allais
Francois Perigot

Bernard Kouchner
Simon Weisenthal

Jacques-Yves Cousteau
Olivia de Havilland

Glenn W. Ferguson
Jeannine Manuel
Frederico Mayor
H. E. Sa’eed Salman

Christiane Amanpour
Pamela Harriman
Richard C. Holbrooke
Harry Wu

Van Gordon Sauter
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi

Russell Porter
The Honorable Felix G. Rohatyn

Chloe Wellingham Aaron

Martin Gray

Peter W. Goldmark
Willem Peppler

Eunice Kennedy Shriver
The Honorable R. Sargent Shriver, Jr.

Sir Crispin Tickell

Yehuda Elkana

Dr. Taslima Nasreen
Dame Muriel Spark
Dr. Tzvetan Todorov

Barry Eichengreen
Mavis Gallant
Michel Rocard

Edmond Alphandery
James Ivory

Daniel Cohen
Paul Muldoon

Naif Abdullah Al-Rukaibi
Leslie Caron
Reza Deghati
Christine Lagarde

J.M. Coetzee
Eugene Lang
Robert Wilson

Jane Goodall
Rory Stewart

Richard Ned Lebow
David McCullough
Archie Shepp

Louise Arbour
Martha Nussbaum

Edward A. Frieman
Lillian Greene-Chamberlain
Judith Hermanson Ogilvie
Nicholas Vreeland

Lisa Anderson
Margee Ensign
Benjamin Millepied

Justice Stephen Breyer
Bertie Lubner
Kenneth Roth

Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi ’98
Her Excellency Huda Ebrahim Alkhamis '83
Ambassador R. Nicholas Burns

Rachael Denhollander
Claudia Rankine
Kaija Saariaho

Margaret MacMillan
Marian Goodman
Ali Rahnema