Audrey Stone Geisel
- Honorary Degree (2007)
Doctor of Humane Letters
Presenter: Adam William Herbert
- IUPUI Spirit of Philanthropy Award (2001)
BIOGRAPHYDistinguished philanthropist, supporter of literacy programs, and guiding spirit behind the growth of Dr. Seuss Enterprises, Audrey Stone Geisel is also known as "Mrs. Dr. Seuss." As president of Dr. Seuss Enterprises, the widow of the famed children's author Theodor Seuss Geisel has expanded her late husband's creative vision in new dimensions, and as president of the Dr. Seuss Fund and Dr. Seuss Foundation, she has contributed to many causes in support of literacy, health care, the arts, and education.
A native of Chicago, Geisel earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Indiana University in 1944, working during that time at the Riley Hospital for Children. The spirit of caring for others that led her to become a nurse has characterized her life as a wife, mother, businesswoman, and philanthropist. After raising two daughters, she met and married Theodor Geisel in 1968. The author of 44 children's books published in more than 20 languages, he became one of the most popular children's authors ever. More than 500 million Dr. Seuss books have been sold worldwide. Late in his life, he told his wife that his creative endeavors would be passed along to her. Two years after his death in 1991, she founded Dr. Seuss Enterprises to protect the integrity of Dr. Seuss's writings and characters.
As the guiding spirit behind the organization, she has overseen the publication or reissue of nine books of interest to children and supervised the development of Bright and Early Board Books and the Cat in the Hat Learning Library Series. She provided creative leadership in the development of new television, theatre, and movies productions, including Daisy-Head Mayzie (TNT, 1994), The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss (Henson Productions, 1995), How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Old Globe Theatres, 1998), How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Universal Studios, 2000), and The Cat in the Hat (Universal Studios, 2003), as well as a new attraction, Seuss Landing, at Universal Studios' Island of Adventure in Florida. Audrey Geisel has been personally involved in the development of Dr. Seuss characters for learning purposes in children's museums, and several Seuss volumes have been issued in CD-ROM format.
In 2004 she presided over a yearlong series of ceremonies celebrating "Seussentennial: A Century of Imagination," including the issuing of a stamp by the U.S. Postal Service honoring her husband on the occasion of his hundredth birthday. The postal service had previously unveiled the popular "Cat in the Hat" stamp in 2000.
Through the Dr. Seuss Fund and the Dr. Seuss Foundation, Geisel has actively supported a variety of causes and institutions in her home city of San Diego, including the University of California, San Diego, and throughout the United States. She oversees contributions to a number of literacy initiatives, including the Center for Family Literacy, San Diego Council of Literacy, Rolling Readers U.S.A., Reading Is Fundamental, and the Geisel Library at the University of California, San Diego, which houses the Seuss Collection. She also established the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden in Springfield, Massachusetts, and the Dr. Seuss Race for Literacy.
As part of her longstanding generosity to the Indiana University School of Nursing, she has been instrumental in the growth of the Center for Enhancing Quality of Life in Chronic Illness (CEQL). Her support has been critical to the research of young investigators and most important to improving the quality of life for persons with chronic illness. In addition, Geisel has contributed to the development of pediatric hospice care through her work with the San Diego Hospice Foundation, Children's Hospice International in Washington, D.C., and the National Hospice Association.
Through her creative conservatorship and dynamic expansion of the Dr. Seuss legacy and through her compassionate philanthropy, Audrey Stone Geisel has contributed to the health and well-being of children and families around the world.