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Governor to get honorary degree

Gov. Mike Beebe and sculptor Anita Huffington will receive honorary degrees from the University of Arkansas during the university’s May 10 commencement ceremony.

Beebe will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree and Huffington will receive an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree, the university said Monday.

Beebe, a native of Amagon, obtained a law degree from UA in 1972. He served for 20 years as a state senator and for four years as state attorney general before being elected to his first of two terms as governor in 2006. Term limits prevented him from seeking a third term; he will leave office in January.

“Gov. Beebe is a living example of the power of education to transform a person’s life, and he has certainly been a champion for education in our state,” UA Chancellor G. David Gearhart said. “But more than that — he has worked diligently for most of his professional life to make our state a better place, to improve the lives of all our citizens.”

Huffington was born in Baltimore and obtained bachelor’s and master’s degrees in fine arts from the City College of New York. In 1977, seeking a greater connection to nature, she and her husband left New York and established a home in the Ozarks, near Winslow. Her sculptures are part of the permanent collections of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, the Arkansas Arts Center in Little Rock and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and three of her works, “Spring,” “Rebirth” and “Earth,” are on permanent display at UA.

Gearhart said Huffington has made the very rocks of the Ozark hills a source of her material and vision.

“Years ago she consciously chose to leave the ‘center’ of the art world — New York City — to make her home and her sculpture in the quiet seclusion of Winslow. Our campus is honored to own three of her beautiful sculptures, and I am grateful for the opportunity to return that honor with this recognition,” he said.

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