Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Saint Mary’s awards honorary doctorate to Branford Marsalis

Brother President William Mann and Dr. Donna Aronson, vice president for Academic Affairs, present Branford Marsalis with an honorary doctorate from Saint Mary's University.  

Dr. Ned Kirk and Branford Marsalis
WINONA, Minn. — Branford Marsalis, renowned Grammy Award-winning saxophonist, Tony Award nominee composer and former “Tonight Show” bandleader, received an honorary doctorate Tuesday, March 26, from Saint Mary’s University.

Marsalis was on campus Tuesday to collaborate with pianist Dr. Ned Kirk, SMU professor of music. SMU students had the opportunity to hear the duo perform and ask questions of the legendary musician.

Brother William Mann, SMU president, presented Marsalis with an honorary Doctor of Arts Leadership. The award reads:

Whereas, Branford Marsalis is an inspirational composer, legendary saxophonist, and outstanding bandleader who has contributed to multiple musical genres;

Whereas, Branford Marsalis embodies a commitment to musical excellence that has garnered him renown as a Grammy Award winner, a Drama Desk Award winner, a Tony Award nominee, and a recipient, with his father and brothers, of the prestigious National Endowment for the Arts 2011 Jazz Masters Fellowship;

Whereas, Branford Marsalis is known and admired for his commitment to excellence and to forward-thinking, innovative, and creative responses to new challenges in his profession;

Whereas, Branford Marsalis has, by combining his love for music and passion for education, dedicated himself to sharing his knowledge with others, promoting the careers of promising new jazz musicians, changing the future of jazz in the classroom, and inspiring students and lovers of music all around the world;

Whereas, Branford Marsalis has also demonstrated compassion by his role — performing alongside Sting and Phil Collins at London Live Aid in 1985 — in raising funds for the relief of those ravaged by the ongoing Ethiopian famine, and great leadership by his role after 2005 Hurricane Katrina in working with Harry Connick, Jr. and others to develop the Habitat Musicians’ Village in New Orleans to alleviate the plight of those whose lives were devastated and homes were lost, including displaced musicians and their families;

The Board of Trustees of Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota bestows on Branford Marsalis the degree of Doctor of Arts Leadership, honoris causa.

“Branford Marsalis presented our students with an amazing learning opportunity,” said Donna Aronson, vice president for Academic Affairs. “We’re so grateful he joined us on campus for a special performance with music professor Ned Kirk. Saint Mary’s Honorary Doctorate of Arts Leadership recognizes his work as an artist and humanitarian.”