Wake Forest conferred four honorary degrees during its 2015 Commencement ceremony.
Carlos Brito, Doctor of Laws
Carlos Brito’s leadership of Anheuser-Busch is chiefly inspired not by vision or mission but by the power of dreams. After receiving his undergraduate degree from Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, he was accepted to several American business schools. A scholarship and vote of confidence led him to Stanford University. He held positions at Shell Oil and Daimler Benz prior to becoming the chief executive officer of Anheuser-Busch in 2005.
In his role at Anheuser-Busch, Mr. Brito has prioritized corporate citizenship, focusing on goals related to fresh water, general sustainability and responsible drinking. He has also had a worldwide effect on initiatives for education, the environment, economic development, and disaster preparation and relief.
For his bold persistence, his desire to help his company and its people bring their dreams to fruition, and his commitment to exemplary global corporate citizenship, Carlos Brito is recommended for the degree Doctor of Laws.
Stephen Colbert, Doctor of Humane Letters
What started as small roles in school plays turned into an impressive career for Stephen Colbert. After graduating college with a theater degree and sharpening his skills with Second City comedy troupe, Mr. Colbert entertained millions of viewers through his hilarious persona on The Daily Show. For nearly a decade, his parodied character was the host of The Colbert Report. He will continue to entertain the masses as host of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
Mr. Colbert has perfected the art and science of improvisation by taking a concept to its extremes. Through his humor and satire, he informs and questions; he invites conversations and compels us to critical thinking. His innovative approach to his work as a comedian, writer and media critic has helped reshape how we consume news and consider current events.
For his engaging creativity and infectious enthusiasm, his unfettered dedication to his craft and his audience, and his genuine and resolute pursuit of joy, Stephen Colbert is recommended for the degree Doctor of Humane Letters.
George Thibault, Doctor of Science
As the chief medical officer at world-renowned hospitals, an eminent academic official at Harvard Medical School, a counselor to this nation’s military veterans and a philanthropist, Dr. George E. Thibault has earned the acclaim of his country and his profession. Along the way, he has remained committed innovation, student-faculty interaction and thoughtful attention to those on the margins of society.
In the 1980s, Dr. Thibault helped modernize Harvard Medical School’s curriculum. When the world changed and medical care began to advance, he spearheaded a second reformation, rooted in the necessity of student-teacher collaboration. In 2008, he took his expertise to the nonprofit sector as president of the Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation, the only national foundation dedicated to improving the training of medical professionals. Through the work of this foundation, Dr. Thibault supports teamwork among medical professionals, develops new curriculum content and increases education in the care of minorities and other historically underserved members of society.
For his perpetual dedication to new challenges, proactive problem solving, and committed service to those in greatest need, Dr. George E. Thibault is recommended for the degree Doctor of Science.
Jonathan Walton, Doctor of Divinity
To Dr. Jonathan Walton, a preacher must also be a scholar. It is the core belief that empowers Dr. Walton, a social ethicist and teacher of modern American religion in the Harvard Divinity School and the minister of the Memorial Church in the heart of Harvard’s campus.
Dr. Walton is a nationally recognized analyst of the intersections of religion, politics and media culture. He has written extensively about the prosperity gospel, megachurches and the public preachers who lead them. He is the author of Watch This! The Ethics and Aesthetics of Black Televangelism. This work and others like it inspire Dr. Walton’s sermons, ignite his commitment to expanding the Church’s programming and encourage his personal engagement with his students.
For his love of scholarship and academics, his desire to deepen and further faith, and his unbridled dedication to his community, Dr. Jonathan Walton is recommended for the degree of Doctor of Divinity.