Ava Duvernay receives honorary doctorate from Yale University

"My mom is over the moon and has taken to calling me Dr. DuVernay," the famed director tweeted.

As if she didn’t have enough wins and accomplishments under her belt, this week Ava Duvernay confirmed that she would be the recipient of an honorary doctorate degree from the prestigious Yale University. 

“My thanks to the special committee at Yale for this honor,” she posted on her Twitter feed Monday. “My mom is over the moon and has taken to calling me Dr. DuVernay. Hope that wears off. But the joy of your high regard will not. A thrill to share this with the formidable Class of 2021 and my esteemed fellow honorees.”

Ava DuVernay theGrio.com
(Photo by Rich Polk/Getty Images for IMDb)

Accompanying the her tweet, she shared a picture of her holding up her “Doctor of Fine Arts.”

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Last Saturday, the Yale College class of 2021 held its 320th Commencement. There was a total of 3,395 degrees which included 1,142 degrees for its graduating seniors.

“The tradition of awarding honorary degrees at Yale began in 1702,” the school explained on their official website. “Conferred by the university’s board of trustees, these degrees recognize pioneering achievement or exemplary contribution to the common good. Recipients, by their example, encourage the graduates to aspire to excellence and to value creativity, curiosity, discipline, integrity, and a passion for public service.’

Only nine honorary degrees were given out during the virtual address, directed by Yale President Peter Salovey, who made it a point to acknowledge the significant contribution that each recipient had made in their fields.

“These degrees are the most significant distinction conferred by the Yale Corporation … to signal pioneering achievement in a field or conspicuous and exemplary contribution to the common good,” Salovey explained. “Collectively [the honorary degree recipients] represent Yale’s highest aspirations as a University dedicated to light and truth.”

In addition to Duvernay, other recipients included comedian Stephen Colbert, author Judy Blume, Dr. Donald R. Hopkins, astrophysicist Nergis Mavalvala, labor leader Dolores Huerta, and Robert Thompson, Yale’s Professor Emeritus in the History of Art and African American Studies.

Ava DuVernay thegrio.com
(Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Another Netflix collab in the works

As we previously reported, after having major success with Netflix, the prolific filmmaker is set to adapt Wings of Fire, a children’s book series from Scholastic, for the streaming platform.

DuVernay is no stranger to Netflix. From her Oscar-nominated film Selma, to the Emmy-winning drama When They See Us, the director-writer has formed a great relationship with the streaming service. Now, it appears she is set to continue her winning streak on Netflix, this time executive producing an animated adaptation of a popular book series, Wings of Fire by Tui T. Sutherland.

A project stemming from Warner Bros. Animation, the series is reportedly a part of ARRAY‘s (DuVernay’s company) overall deal with Netflix. DuVernay released an official statement on the adaptation.

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“Within this epic book series from the mind of Tui Sutherland is an elegant saga filled with wisdom and wonder, exploring ideas of belonging and bias, camaraderie and community. On behalf of my colleagues Sarah Bremner and Paul Garnes of Array Filmworks, we’re thrilled to partner with Netflix and Warner Bros. Animation for this dynamic adaptation where five young dragonets fulfill their destiny and show viewers how to fulfill their own,” she shared.

The Netflix VP of animation, Melissa Cobb, also shared her excitement with a statement. Cobb explained, “We couldn’t be more proud that Ava has chosen Netflix as the home for her first animated series. An epic fantasy saga full of sweep and spectacle, Wings of Fire promises to be a must-see event for the whole family.”

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