NewsPositively Hampton Roads


Katherine Johnson among trailblazing African-American women to receive honorary doctorates from William & Mary

Posted at 3:50 PM, Apr 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-03 15:50:59-04

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – Nearly two years after her remarkable story was immortalized on screen in the film ‘Hidden Figures,’ Katherine Johnson has had a building at her former workplace named after her and a Barbie doll made in her likeness. Now, she’ll receive one of the highest honors from one of Virginia’s most prestigious universities.

Katherine Johnson

The NASA mathematician who helped make the first human spaceflight possible will be honored at William & Mary’s 2018 Commencement ceremony on May 12 at 9 a.m. in Zable Stadium.

Known as the “Legacy 3,” William & Mary’s first African-American residential students – Lynn Briley, Karen Ely and Janet Brown Strafer, all of the Class of 1971 – will also be recognized at the ceremony. William & Mary has been commemorating the 50th anniversary of their arrival on campus throughout the 2017-2018 academic year.

“One of our nation’s most dedicated public servants will speak at this year’s Commencement, and we will honor the extraordinary journeys of four women of color,” said William & Mary President Taylor Reveley.

Although Johnson will not be able to attend the ceremony due to health issues, she will address graduates via video remarks. She will be represented at the ceremony by her daughters, Katherine Moore and Joylette Hylick.

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) will serve as the keynote speaker for the ceremony.

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