Fall semester ended on a positive and uplifting note with the awarding of an honorary degree to Knoxville-born actress Dale Dickey, who attended UT as a theatre major from 1979 to 1984, received an honorary Master of Fine Arts, the highest degree awarded in that discipline, during undergraduate commencement ceremonies held December 14, 2015.
It is the tenth honorary degree that UT has awarded. She’s had recurring TV roles on long-running series including Christy, My Name is Earl, and True Blood.
She received the Film Independent Spirit Award for her performance in the Oscar-nominated movie Winter’s Bone. Her other film credits include Domino, Changeling, The Guilt Trip, Being Flynn, Super 8, and Iron Man 3.
Dickey also has appeared in many stage performances, on and off Broadway, and she’s performed at the Clarence Brown Theatre many times. She first graced that stage as a child and appeared in twenty productions before enrolling as a student at UT.
Even after finding success in Hollywood, Dickey has made time to return to Clarence Brown Theatre to star in productions and mentor students. She’s been in Steel Magnolias (1990), Our Country’s Good (1994), The Rainmaker (2001), A Streetcar Named Desire (2009), and Sweeney Todd (as a student in 1983, and again in 2012).
Department head Cal MacLean calls her ‘a remarkable asset,’ having seen her work with our students on several shows.”
“Our college has awarded only a few honorary degrees and there are many opportunities for more,” remarked Theresa Lee, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “I encourage faculty to identify candidates for an honorary degree from the college and present them to department heads for consideration. In addition to being accomplished individuals, honorary degree candidates ideally would have a connection to the college, the university or the state.”