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Flushing native Jon Favreau to receive honorary doctorate at Queens College commencement ceremony

May. 29, 2023 By Carlotta Mohamed

Actor-director and Flushing native Jon Favreau will be awarded an honorary doctorate at Queens College’s 99th commencement ceremony on Thursday, June 1. 

Queens College President Frank Wu will preside over the college’s commencement exercises, which will recognize over 5,000-degree candidates. In total, the college will award just over 5,100 undergraduate and graduate degrees this year to candidates from summer and fall 2022, and winter and spring 2023.​ 

Favreau, who attended the college from 1984 to 1987, with the degree of Doctor of Fine Arts, Honoris Causa. 

With breakthrough acting roles on “Seinfeld” and “Friends,” Favreau became a familiar face on screen, working steadily as an actor since 1992. His performances range from romantic comedy to drama and action adventures, and they span television, indie films, blockbusters, and voice acting for animation. 

Favreau is recognized as a writer, director, producer and executive producer whose work consists of films known around the world, including “Elf,” “Zathura,” “Iron Man,”Cowboys and Aliens,” “Chef,” “The Jungle Book” and “The Lion King.” He is a key industry influencer through the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He has broken new ground with recent projects created through his television production company, serving as writer and creator, sometimes director and executive producer of the critically acclaimed series “The Mandalorian” and its spin-off, “The Book of Boba Fett.”

Favreau’s work has been recognized with the Saturn Visionary Award, a Filmmaker Award from the Cinema Audio Society and the Dragon Award. He is an inductee into the prestigious Disney Legends Hall of Fame and he has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Favreau received the lifetime achievement award from the Visual Effects Society in 2019.

The ceremony will also honor Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado, who will deliver the keynote address, and Judith Heumann, known as the “mother of the disability rights movement,” posthumously, with Queens College President’s Medals. 

Delgado, who earned a BA in philosophy and political science at Colgate University, was named a Rhodes Scholar. He completed an MA in philosophy, politics, and economics at Queen’s College, University of Oxford, and a JD at Harvard Law School. 

Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado.Courtesy of Queens College

He founded an independent record label, Statik Music, and released an album of conscious rap titled “Painfully Free.” He has worked in complex commercial litigation at one of the nation’s top law firms while working pro bono for criminal justice reform. In 2018, Delgado became the first person of color elected to the U.S. Congress from upstate New York, representing New York’s largely suburban and rural 19th Congressional District. In 2022, he was appointed, then elected as lieutenant governor of New York, becoming the first person of Latino descent to hold statewide office. 

Heumann was recognized throughout the world as a powerful voice, activist, and inspiration in the struggle for disability rights. She died at the age of 75 in March. Born in Philadelphia, the daughter of German Jews sent to this country as children in the 1930s to escape the Nazi regime, she contracted polio at 18 months, requiring her to use a wheelchair for most of the rest of her life. 

Disability rights activist Judith Heumann.Courtesy of Queens College

The resulting denial of admission to kindergarten, followed by years of her mother’s increasingly successful campaign for accommodation in public school, marked the foundation of Heumann’s lifelong efforts advocating for those with disabilities. As a result of her 1970 civil rights suit to obtain a teaching license in New York — the first such suit brought in federal court — she became the first wheelchair user to teach in New York City schools. 

As a legislative assistant in the Senate, Heumann helped develop the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, which became the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. She was a leader of a grass-roots protest that compelled California’s acceptance of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, prohibiting discrimination against people with disabilities by any institution receiving federal money. This paved the way for the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

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