2016 Honorary Degree Recipient

Honorary degrees have been a tradition in American higher education for over 300 years. They are conferred honoris causa, "for the sake of honor." A distinction of high order, Carleton has always awarded honorary doctorate degrees sparingly and selects its recipients with great care and with the assent of both the faculty and Board of Trustees, seeking to honor those who have achieved eminence in their own profession or who have rendered distinguished service to society.  We are very proud that at this year’s Commencement ceremony Carleton College will confer an honorary doctorate degree upon Peter Schjeldahl '64. 

Alan C. Page

Alan C. Page was born August 7, 1945, in Canton, Ohio.  He graduated from Canton Central Catholic High School in 1963, and received his B.A. in political science from the University of Notre Dame in 1967 and his J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1978.

After graduating from law school, Alan Page worked as an attorney for a law firm in Minneapolis, then served seven years as an attorney in the office of the Minnesota Attorney General.

He sought election to the Minnesota Supreme Court in 1992 and won, becoming the first African American on the court and one of the few associate justices ever to join the court initially through election, rather than appointment by the governor.  When Justice Page was reelected in 1998, he became the biggest vote-getter in Minnesota history. He was reelected in 2004 and 2010 and served until he reached the mandatory retirement age of 70 in 2015.

Law was Alan Page’s second career; he was first known for his skills in football both in college and in the NFL.  At Notre Dame, Alan Page led the school’s storied football program to the 1966 national championship, and in 1993 he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

Alan Page was a first-round draft choice of the Minnesota Vikings in 1967 and he played for the Vikings until 1978.  The last three years of his football career were with the Chicago Bears, 1978–1981.  During his career, Alan Page played in 218 consecutive games, earning All-Pro honors six times, and was voted to nine consecutive Pro Bowls.  In 1971 he was named the NFL’s Most Valuable Player, becoming only the second defensive player in history to be named MVP.  In 1988 Alan Page was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Also in 1988, Justice Page and his wife Diane founded the Page Education Foundation, which assists students of color in their pursuit of post-secondary education.  To date, the foundation has awarded over $12 million in grants to more than 6,000 individuals.

Justice Page and his daughter, Kamie Page, have written two children’s picture books, The Invisible You (2014) and Alan and His Perfectly Pointy Impossibly Perpendicular Pinky (2013).

Alan C. Page will be awarded the degree Doctor of Laws, honoris causa. 

The honorary degree criteria and process are described here.