Honorary Degrees
1918 - Present

Meave  Leakey 
Doctor of Humane Letters  2015
Status: conferred

Meave Leakey is the standard-bearer of a family of paleoanthropologists who have dominated the field since the beginning of the 20th century. Her field and laboratory research has established her as one of the most visible and distinguished scientists in a highly competitive profession. Her research interests focus on East African mammalian evolution over the past 30 million years, with emphasis on primate and human evolution. Having retired as head of the Department of Palaeontology at the National Museums of Kenya, Leakey is now a research associate in the museum's Palaeontology Division. She also is a research professor in the Department of Anthropology at Stony Brook University in New York and director of Plio-Pleistocene research at the Turkana Basin Institute, Nairobi. In 2002 she was named a National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence in honor of the 50-year relationship between the National Geographic Society and the Leakey family. Leakey is the author of numerous scientific publications in prestigious journals and several monographs documenting her research in Turkana. She received a B.S. degree in zoology and marine zoology and a Ph.D. in zoology from the University of North Wales. For her groundbreaking research, which has enhanced the understanding of our evolutionary past, Southern Methodist University is honored to confer upon Meave Leakey the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.