Honorary Degrees
1918 - Present

Marian Wright Edelman 
Doctor of Humane Letters  1993

Tenacious champion of the rights of the young, Marian Wright Edelman saw that the nation's future was being determined each day in the bodies, minds, and spirits of every American child. Growing up in the segregated South, she managed to see beyond the limitations society had placed upon her own potential. To break down the barriers for others, she participated in civil rights protests and voter registration drives as a student at Spelman College and at Yale University's Law School. While working in Washington D.C., she saw that stronger advocacy was needed for the most innocent victims of social injustice: the nation's children. She founded the Children's Defense Fund believing that the needs of children, especially poor children, should be central to the public policy of a nation whose future would be at great risk if its children were at risk. Under her leadership, the Children's Defense Fund has become one of the most effective national organizations representing health and education issues affecting families and children. For her extraordinary accomplishments as an advocate, author, and attorney, and for her dedication to a cause that will determine the quality of our collective futures, Southern Methodist University is honored to confer upon Marian Wright Edelman the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.