Honorary Degrees
1918 - Present

Horton  Foote 
Doctor of Humane Letters  2003
Status: conferred

Horton Foote, playwright, has spent six decades portraying the grief, courage, joy, suffering, and love that characterize the lives of ordinary, middle-class people in small-town America. Over and over again, in plays and screenplays such as 1918, The Chase, and The One-Armed Man, he tackles the themes of randomness, redemption, and resilience. In the 1950s Mr. Foote made significant contributions to the "Golden Age" of television, producing teleplays and adaptations for playhouse theater programs. He has been recognized with two Academy Awards for best screenplay - the first in 1962 for his adaptation of Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird and the second in 1983 for Tender Mercies. His screenplay for The Trip to Bountiful was nominated in 1985. In 1995 he received the Pulitzer Prize for drama for The Young Man from Atlanta. For his achievements as a writer, for his pioneering contributions to American theater, television, and independent filmmaking, and for helping us to understand the depths of human emotions and the contradictions in the human condition, SMU is honored to award Horton Foote the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.