The University of Arizona announced an honorary degree of Doctor of Fine Arts to Linda McCartney at Commencement on May 12 at Arizona Stadium.
McCartney distinguished herself through her exceptional and inspirational career as a photographer and she continues to have an enduring impact around the world.
Dean Andrew Schulz made the announcement. “A student at the University of Arizona from 1961 to 1964, Linda McCartney’s groundbreaking career as a photographer was inspired by her time in Tucson.
“She is widely recognized for her photographs of iconic musicians and was named U.S. female photographer of the year in 1967, among many other honors. She went on to experiment with different photographic techniques, and worked with the themes of family, nature and social commentary.
“Her work has been exhibited in over 70 cities in 15 countries and now hangs in the national portrait galleries of both the United Kingdom and the United States.
“This posthumous degree coincides with the North American premiere of “The Linda McCartney Retrospective,” on view at the University’s Center for Creative Photography through August. We presented this award to Linda’s family earlier in this spring when they visited the exhibition.
“President Robbins, on behalf of the College of Fine Arts, I am thrilled to recognize Linda McCartney’s contributions to photography with the honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree.”
Following Dean Schulz’s remarks, the university showed a recorded video by her husband Paul McCartney sharing his thoughts on the honor.
“Hello there, Paul McCartney here. Thank you so much for this award that Linda is getting from the U of A. A school where she went to and loved her time there, loved her time in Arizona as did all of our family and still do. It’s a beautiful award and she would be so proud. She never had this kind of recognition while she was alive and so we in the family are super proud that she’s getting it now. Doctor of Fine Arts … exactly … sums her up. She was a doctor. She was a fine artist, so it’s wonderful. It’s great that her photography and her career is being recognized. From the whole of our family, we thank you very much for it.”
Beyond her career as a photographer, McCartney was a musician and member of the rock band, Wings, with Paul McCartney, and she was as an advocate for animal rights. She was a pioneer in promoting the vegetarian lifestyle with her internationally best-selling vegetarian cookbooks and ready-made meals with Linda McCartney Foods. Her photography advanced the important work of many charitable organizations.
She was the proud mother of four children — Heather, Mary, Stella and James — and said they were her greatest achievement.