NYU Gives Ballet Dancer Misty Copeland an Honorary Degree

Misty Copeland
Misty Copeland

Black history happens every day, and it isn’t restricted to one month. Misty Copeland, a trailblazer in the ballet industry, made her mark on New York University. The dancer officially received an honorary degree from the university.

New York University awarded Copeland an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts degree for her contributions to the industry. The commencement ceremony at Yankee Stadium in New York honored Copeland, along with the Prime Minister of Finland Sanna Marin, Nobel Prize-winning chemist Carolyn Bertozzi and the President Emeritus of the University of Maryland, Freeman A. Hrabowski, with an honorary degree.

In a post on Instagram, Copeland shared how excited she was to be receiving this honor.

“Congratulations to all of the 2023 NYU graduates!” she wrote. “The events of last night and today, and receiving a Doctorate of Fine Arts from NYU has been beyond my wildest dreams and it’s incredibly humbling to be included among an incredible group of Honorary Degree Recipients.”

Copeland has made many strides in the ballet world, as an advocate for Black people in the dance space. Her remarkable work and historic wins precede her, and this honor is just the top of her efforts.

Misty Copeland’s Career

Misty Copeland is a trailblazing American ballet dancer. She has made a profound impact on the world of ballet, breaking down barriers and redefining what it means to be successful. Her breakthrough moment came in 2007, when she became the first Black female soloist in two decades at the American Ballet Theatre.

She used her rise to fame as a way for her to be a vocal advocate for diversity and inclusivity within the ballet world. Copeland used her platform to address the racial disparities in the industry. In 2013, she became a spokesperson for ABT’s Project Plié. Through the initiative, Copeland created opportunities for aspiring dancers from underrepresented communities.

In 2013, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America named Copeland the National Youth of the Year Ambassador. The following year, she received an honorary doctorate degree from the University of Hartford. TIME Magazine also added her to the 100 most influential people list. Her cover shoot for the magazine made her the first dancer on the cover since Bill T. Jones in 1994.

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