University of Hawaiʻi Awards Honorary Degree to Marcel Marceau

University of Hawaiʻi
Shawn Nakamoto, 956-9095
University & Community Relations
Kristen Cabral, 956-5039
University & Community Relations
Posted: Nov 5, 2001

The University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa has conferred an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree upon Marcel Marceau, universally acclaimed as the world‘s greatest mime. The degree was presented to Marceau at a special convocation ceremony at the UH Manoa campus on Friday, November 2, 2001.

The Board of Regents of the University of Hawaiʻi recognized Marceau for his outstanding contributions to the arts and to mankind through 50 years of dedicated efforts as a performer, teacher, writer, artist and humanitarian.

"The Board of Regents does not view the honorary degree as a routine matter, but rather a very special gesture that speaks to what kind of institution we are," said Regent Patricia Lee, who is also the Honorary Consul for the Consulate of France. "If we are among the best, we must then choose to honor only the best. Marcel Marceau clearly falls into that category."

A true master of the unique artistic form of performance, he has been honored with the Deburau Prize and the French Government's highest honors, Officier de la Légion d'Honneur, Commandeur des Arts et Lettres, and Grand Officier de l'Ordre National du Mérite. He was elected to the Academies of Fine Arts in Berlin and Munich and is a member of the Institut de France. This year he was named the first Goodwill Ambassador for the 2002 United Nations World Assembly on Aging.

Since forming the Compagnie de mime Marcel Marceau in 1949, the only company of pantomime in the world at that time, Marceau has toured extensively and appeared on television and in film. His alter-ego character "Bip" is likened in his adventures to Don Quixote's struggle against the windmills of life. His Ecole Internationale de Mimodrame de Paris, which offers a two-year curriculum, has been subsidized since 1978 by the City of Paris. Marceau also has published paintings, poetry, illustrations, and books for children.

Marceau also holds honorary doctorates from Princeton University, Ohio State University, Linfield College, and the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. Professor Gregg Lizenberry, director of the Dance department at UH Manoa, made the initial request to award an honorary degree to Marceau. The request was honored by UH Manoa Interim Chancellor Deane Neubauer and UH President Evan Dobelle, and approved by the UH Board of Regents at the October 2001 meeting.

Marceau made his Hawaiʻi debut at the Neal Blaisdell Concert Hall with shows on November 1 and 2, as part of the 2001 French Festival of Hawaiʻi.