Clad in red and black, University President Peter Salovey received an honorary degree from Harvard today, alongside nine other honorees.
Salovey is among nine other accomplished individuals who received honorary degrees from Harvard this morning. The degrees awarded ranged from Doctor of Science to Doctor of Laws, with Salovey receiving the latter. Other recipients this year include Deval Patrick, former governor of Massachusetts, and influential art historian Svetlana Alpers. In receiving an honorary degree from Harvard, despite his current affiliation with Yale, Salovey has joined the ranks of actress Meryl Streep DRA ’75 and former president George H.W. Bush ’48, who received Harvard honorary degrees in 2010 and 2014 respectively.
Salovey is currently the 23rd president of the University, and the Chris Argyris Professor of Psychology. Salovey previously served in many roles at Yale, both within the Department of Psychology and in the University administration. Under former University President Richard Levin, Salovey served as the dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, dean of Yale College and provost.
Before attending Yale, Salovey graduated from Stanford University in 1980 with degrees in psychology and sociology. He later earned two master’s degrees and a Ph.D. in clinical psychology in 1986 — all from Yale. That same year, Salovey joined the faculty of the University.
Salovey, whose work regarding human emotion and health behavior is internationally recognized, developed a theory called “Emotional Intelligence” with John D. Mayer. According to the theory, just as people have an extensive range of intellectual abilities, they also have a wide range of measurable emotional skills that influence their thoughts and actions.
During his time at Yale, Salovey has received various honors. These awards include the Lex Hixon ’63 Prize for Teaching Excellence in the Social Sciences and the William Clyde DeVane Medal for Distinguished Scholarship and Teaching in Yale College. He has also been a strong promoter of the University’s research facilities, such as the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS, and the Health, Emotion and Behavior Laboratory, now called the Center for Emotional Intelligence, which he founded.
In 2009, Salovey also received an honorary doctorate from the University of Pretoria in South Africa.