- Honorary Degree (2020)
- Day of Commemoration
- Bloomington, Indiana
- Presenter: Michael A. McRobbie
Viola Davis is the first black actress to achieve the Triple Crown of Acting, having won an Academy Award, an Emmy Award, and two Tony awards. She is also the first African American actress to win a Primetime Emmy Award. As a producer, Davis and her husband, Julius Tennon, founded JuVee Productions to give a voice to the voiceless through strong, impactful, and culturally relevant films. Highly decorated in her field, Davis has also received numerous nominations and awards including the Screen Actors Guild, Critics' Choice, BAFTA, and Globe awards.
In addition to being an actress and producer, she is widely recognized as an activist and philanthropist. Growing up in abject poverty, Davis consistently uses her platform to support her hometown community of Central Falls, Rhode Island. She has donated to save a public library, supported Central Falls High School's Theatre Department, and partnered with Vaseline to host a one-day health clinic to make skin health treatment more accessible. On a national scale, Davis collaborates with the Hunger Is campaign to help eradicate hunger across America.
Her success and significance to her craft and humanitarian efforts has garnered honorary degrees from her alma maters - The Juilliard School and Rhode Island College. On January 20, as part of their Day of Commemoration celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the Bicentennial, Indiana University awarded Davis with an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts.