Honorary Degrees
1918 - Present

Tom  Lea 
Doctor of Humane Letters  1970
Status: conferred

Novelist, historian and painter, he has used his multiple talents to record in word and in picture the antiquity and the many-sided culture of the American Southwest, in its physical landscape and its aboriginal Indian, Spanish Colonial, Mexican and Anglo-American history. His work celebrates the brown land of the El Paso area where he was born and where he has preferred to live, though his career has carried him to the Far East as wartime artist-correspondent, to South America, to Europe and Africa. This celebration of his region proceeds from a scrupulous and exacting mind, whether he is writing the history of the greatest of ranches, painting the life story in sequential pictures of a Mexican soldier in Pancho Villa's army, or fusing both words and painting to evoke the civilization along the Rio Grande. In this attachment to his land, he has enriched our consciousness of the past and illuminated our understanding of the present. In recognition of this accomplishment, we are proud to confer upon him this day the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.