By Shannon Vicic
Diane Sawyer, co-anchor of the ABC News program "PrimeTime Live," was among three people selected by the UI Board of Trustees as honorary degree recipients.
The recommendations by the Urbana-Champaign Senate were approved Jan. 22 by the UI Board of Trustees at its meeting in Chicago.
Two of those selected will receive honorary degrees at this year's commencement exercises, while another will receive an honorary degree in 1998.
Sawyer, who will give the spring 1997 commencement address May 18, and William G. Karnes, former president and CEO of Beatrice Foods, will each receive the honorary degree of doctor of humane letters at the May commencement exercises, along with three others previously approved by the board.
Donald Burton Kuspit, noted art critic and scholar, will receive an honorary degree of doctor of letters at commencement exercises May 17, 1998.
Sawyer began her career in 1967 as a weatherperson and reporter for a TV station in Louisville, Ky. She worked in the White House press office from 1970 to 1974, and after President Richard Nixon's resignation in 1974, Sawyer assisted the former president in the writing of his memoirs.
In 1978, Sawyer joined CBS News as a reporter. She became co-anchor of "CBS Morning News" in 1981 and in 1984 became the first female correspondent on the news magazine "60 Minutes." In 1989, she moved to ABC to co-anchor of "PrimeTime Live."
In addition to her work on "PrimeTime Live," Sawyer is co-anchor of the ABC news magazine "Turning Point." She also serves as a substitute anchor for "Nightline" and "World News Tonight With Peter Jennings."
Sawyer has received several awards in her field, including the Matrix Award from Women in Communications, the Peabody Award for Public Service, the Robert F. Kennedy Award for journalism, and three Emmy awards for broadcast journalism.
Karnes earned a bachelor's degree from the UI and a law degree from Northwestern University. Under his leadership, Beatrice Foods was transformed from a dairy company to one of the largest, most diversified international food companies. Karnes has served on the boards of several organizations and on the board of governors for the Midwest Stock Exchange.
He has been an active member of the UI Foundation since 1954. He was president of the foundation's board of directors from 1978 to 1983 and vice president from 1992 to 1993. He has received numerous awards, including the Horatio Alger Award, the Alumni Achievement Award from the UI, and the NCCJ Food Industry Award.
Kuspit holds degrees from Columbia University, Yale University, Pennsylvania State University, the University of Michigan and the University of Frankfurt, Germany.
Kuspit served as a lecturer at the University of Frankfurt from 1957 to 1959, before joining the faculty of Pennsylvania State University. From 1965 to 1978, he taught at the University of Saskatchewan, the University of Windsor and the University of North Carolina. Since 1978, he has been on the faculty of the State University of New York at Stony Brook as a professor of art history and philosophy.
Kuspit has written 15 books and several volumes of poetry along with 15 articles and reviews in philosophy, 825 articles and reviews on art criticism and art history, and 251 catalog essays. He has presented more than 400 lectures in his fields of expertise and has served as a consultant to numerous art museums.
He has received several awards and fellowships, including the Frank Jewett Mather Award for Distinction in Art Criticism, a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Fulbright Fellowship.