Bucknell University will confer an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree to Leslie Moonves '71, chairman, president & CEO of CBS Corp., when he returns to campus to address graduates at the University's 166th Commencement. Moonves' nomination was approved by independent committees of both the Board of Trustees and faculty before receiving final approval from the full board.
"My educational experience at Bucknell formed an influential foundation to the business interests and success that I'm fortunate enough to enjoy today," said Moonves. "To receive this special recognition from my alma mater is a true honor."
As an undergraduate at Bucknell, Moonves majored in Spanish and pursued a love of theater that began at an early age. He performed in several plays at Bucknell and after graduation began an acting career at New York City's Neighborhood Playhouse. He also landed several small television roles, including a guest spot on The Six Million Dollar Man, but soon decided his talents were best suited for a role behind the scenes.
Moonves now oversees operations that span broadcast television, basic and pay cable, feature films, publishing, radio and online entertainment. His company features many leading content brands, such as the CBS Television Network, CBS News, CBS Sports, The CW, SHOWTIME, Smithsonian Channel, Simon & Schuster and CBS Radio.
Under Moonves' direction, CBS has been America's Most Watched Network 12 of the last 13 years and is home to the nation's highest-rated drama (NCIS), comedy (The Big Bang Theory) and news program (60 Minutes). On the business side, he has helped the CBS Corporation grow in value, revenue and market share by developing new revenue streams for future growth, and done so while maintaining a distinctly hands-on role in the creative aspects of the business — including casting, program development, marketing and scheduling.
"Within Les' numerous achievements lies a powerful story about a Bucknell education — a broad and deep experience that prepares individuals for a lifetime of success," said President John Bravman. "His accomplishments and contributions are truly worthy of this distinction."
Bucknell University awards honorary degrees in order to recognize individuals whose work exemplifies the qualities of intellect, character and creativity most cherished by the University. Special consideration is given to those individuals whose distinguished contributions have not been widely or formally recognized outside their own fields and to individuals who are part of the Bucknell community. They are not awarded at every Commencement.
An honorary degree was most recently awarded to David Boger '61, a professor of engineering at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, in 2014.
Bucknell University's 166th Commencement celebration will be held on the Malesardi Quadrangle on Sunday, May 22, beginning at 10 a.m. For those unable to attend, the ceremony will be live streamed. The ceremony will also be shown in Trout Auditorium in the Vaughan Literature Building. For a complete schedule of Commencement events, registration and general information, visit Commencement 2016.
Barring heavy rain or severe weather, the Commencement ceremony will be held outdoors; guests should dress accordingly. In the event inclement weather prompts a decision to hold the ceremony indoors, an alert will be emailed to the campus community and posted to the University's homepage and social media channels.