Holmberg awarded honorary doctorate
For the first time since 1986, the University has bestowed an honorary doctoral degree. Chancellor Roger Brown presented the Doctor of Humane Letters to Ruth Sulzberger Holmberg during May commencement exercises at McKenzie Arena.
“Throughout her professional career and civic activities, Ruth Sulzberger Holmberg has offered her tremendous leadership and has continued to support opportunities for learning,” Brown said.
A New York native, Holmberg received a bachelor's degree in history from Smith College, and the University of the South awarded her the honorary Doctor of Civil Law.
After beginning her career as a newspaper reporter, she became a magazine writer at the New York Times. Later, Holmberg served as publisher of The Chattanooga Times from 1964 to 1992, when she was named Chairman of the Times Printing Company, a position she held until 1999. She was the second woman tapped for the Associated Press Board of Directors, following Kay Graham, the late publisher of the Washington Post. Holmberg also served as director of the New York Times Company.
In addition to her professional career, Holmberg has a long history of philanthropy and civic leadership. For more than 20 years, she served as a director of The New York Times Foundation. She was a national board member of the Smithsonian Institution and the Public Education Network. In 1992, she was appointed to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. Holmberg served as president of the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association in 1984 and the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce in 1988.
A founding member of the Tennessee Arts Commission, Holmberg served as chair of the Public Education Foundation, a director of the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera Association, and chair of the Hunter Museum of Art board of directors. She is a founding member of the Tennessee Arts Commission. Her board leadership is extensive, with membership on the boards of the Chattanooga Community Foundation, RiverCity Partners, and the Tennessee Aquarium.
"The University has benefited from her service as a Trustee of the University of Chattanooga Foundation," Brown said. "The Ruth S. Holmberg Professorship in Music was established by her many friends to recognize her long-time support of the arts."
She has been named a Tennessee Woman of the Year as well as the recipient of the Kiwanis Distinguished Service Award in 1989, the Liberty Bell Award in 1990, and the Smith College Medal in 1988.
Today, Holmberg is Publisher Emeritus of The Chattanooga Times. Her many distinctions include being the first woman to head a major Chattanooga business, to serve as president of the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce and to serve as president of the Chattanooga Symphony Association.
The last recipient of an honorary doctoral degree from UTC was Dr. Michael DeBaKey, who participated in the University's Centennial celebration.
May 8, 2007