For Immediate Release
All Zones
May 5, 1999
For More Information Contact:
Office of Marketing and Communications

Avery Brooks: Accomplished Educator and Artist to be Awarded
An Honorary Degree at IU Northwest Commencement

Avery Franklin Brooks - Rutgers University professor, accomplished actor, known opera singer and native Hoosier will be honored with a Honorary Degree, Doctorate of Humane Letters at the Indiana University Northwest 33rd Annual Commencement, May 13, 4 p.m. at the Star Plaza Theatre in Merrillville.

With 808 IU Northwest degrees being awarded to graduates, Indiana University president Myles Brand will preside over the ceremony and also present Brooks with the honorary degree.

“We are extremely pleased to host and honor this Indiana native son who has done so much as an educator and artist,” said IU Northwest Chancellor Hilda Richards. “It will be good to welcome him home.”

Brooks was born in Evansville and raised there and in Gary, where he graduated from Roosevelt High School. Both his parents served as faculty in music and education at Roosevelt. He also took classes at IU Northwest and Oberlin College before receiving his BA and MFA from Rutgers. 

Brooks has found great success in the worlds of education, television, theatre and opera.  While professor of theatre at Rutgers Mason Gross School of the Arts for past 15 years, Brooks has also performed in a wide variety of roles including Othello in the stage production of Othello, Malcolm X in the Anthony Davis opera, X: The Life and Times of  Malcolm X and Captain Benjamin Sisko on Star Trek – Deep Space Nine.  Although he has many television and theatre credits to his name, Brooks is also known for his work 
with the Smithsonian Institute’s program in Black American Culture and as artistic director of the National Black Arts Festival from 1993 through 1996.

“He has given of himself to programs that have raised the aspiration and achievement level of those who he has touched,” says the Reverend Dr. Robert Lowery, senior pastor at St. Timothy Community Church in Gary. 

Paul A. Stephens, president of the Gary Educational Development Foundation agrees, “This young man has made each citizen of our city proud to call him one of us.”

For more information on Avery Brooks or the IU Northwest commencement ceremonies, telephone the university communications office at 219-980-6686.


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