Honorary Degrees
1918 - Present

The Dalai  Lama 
Doctor of Humane Letters  2011
Status: conferred

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, is the head of state and spiritual leader of Tibet. Recognized at age 2 as the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama, he assumed full political authority in 1950 at age 15 following China's invasion of Tibet. During suppression of the Tibetan national uprising by Chinese troops, he was forced into exile in 1959. Since then he has lived in Dharamsala, northern India, the seat of the Tibetan political administration in exile, becoming respected and renowned around the world. In 1989 the Dalai Lama received the Nobel Peace Prize for his non-violent struggle for the liberation of Tibet. He has met with world leaders in 60 countries and authored more than 70 books. In March 2011 he announced intentions to transfer his political authority to an elected leader, completing the democratic process he initiated among his people decades before. He remains the beloved leader of his people. For his lifelong leadership in promoting peace, compassion and unity among religions; for his focus on the commonality of faiths, the promotion of universal responsibility for other people's suffering, and for his passionate attention to global environmental and social problems, Southern Methodist University is honored to confer upon His Holiness the Dalai Lama the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.

His Holiness received his degree after delivering a special lecture on campus at SMU's 10th Hart Global Leaders Forum at McFarlin Auditorium on May 9. He spoke to approximately 2,500 guests, primarily local high school students and SMU students and faculty, as part of the prestigious speaker series made possible by Mitch and Linda W. Hart.