Honorary Degree Recipients
At its 146th Commencement on May 27, 2017, Elmhurst College will confer an honorary doctoral degree on individuals whose commitments and achievements embody the College’s mission, vision and core values.
The 2017 honorary degree recipients are Chicago radio host Terri Hemmert ’70; and former longtime Tonight Show bandleader Doc Severinsen. Hemmert will deliver the commencement address.
For more than 40 years, Terri Hemmert has been playing “Chicago’s Finest Rock” as a disc jockey on WXRT-FM. She was Chicago’s first female morning drive personality before moving to the midday position in 1992, which she has held ever since. She was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2010. A humanitarian and activist, Hemmert has served on the board of directors for the Peace Museum, volunteered on behalf of the AIDS Pastoral Care Network and has worked with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra to create music education programs. She also has served on the advisory board of Elmhurst College’s radio station WRSE-FM, where she worked during her years as a student.
For 30 years, Doc Severinsen led the world-famous NBC Orchestra on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, until the show ended in 1992. But since then, Severinsen hasn’t stopped performing, touring with a quintet called The San Miguel Five as well as with his own Doc Severinsen and His Big Band. A Grammy award winner, Severinsen has recorded more than 30 albums, ranging from big band to classical. In recent years, Severinsen has built a strong relationship with Elmhurst College, appearing with the Elmhurst College Jazz Band three times in the last three years. Their latest performances took place last October, when the Jazz Band backed him on a tour through Ohio. Severinsen returns to the College on June 17 to perform at June Jazz.