Honorary Degree Recipient
Doctor of Humane Letters
College of Liberal Arts, November 3, 2005
Merce Cunningham is recognized as one of the most influential leaders in modern dance in the 20th and (now the 21st) century. He received his formal training at the Cornish School in Seattle, Washington, and studied with world-renowned dancer, Martha Graham. In 1953 he founded the Merce Cunningham Dance Company and has since choreographed almost 200 works. These works have been presented by New York City Ballet, the Ballet of Paris Opera, American Ballet Theatre, Zurich Ballet, and Rambert Dance Company (London), to name a few. His company has performed on numerous occasions at Northrop Auditorium and also at the Walker Art Center. He has toured throughout the State of Minnesota, giving performances, workshops, and master classes. In addition, he is considered a pioneer in the area of film and video, and has created dances specifically for them. He is described as a true visionary who is among the most innovative and exciting choreographers in the world. He is the recipient of numerous awards and honors including the Legion of Honor Award from the French Government, a Premio International award from Rome, and the National Medal of Arts and the Kennedy Center Honors awards from the United States.
Biographies are as-of time of award presentation.