The American University of Rome conferred an honorary doctorate on Stanley Tucci in recognition for his lifelong contributions to the humanities and arts and for the inspiration he provides to our students as they embark upon their own lives & careers.
Here we present AUR President Scott Sprenger's full laudation address followed by a video of Mr. Tucci's acceptance speech, given on the occasion of AUR's annual undergraduate commencement ceremony.
The President's laudation:
Mr. Stanley Tucci,
The American University of Rome takes great pride in its liberal arts programming, and particularly in the fields of Filmmaking and Food Studies, two seemingly unrelated disciplines but in which you, Stanley Tucci, have gained an international reputation.
Many of our students in these two fields will look at your dual career as a model. In the area of film, you have built a long and illustrious career as an actor, writer, voice artist, director and producer. You have played remarkably diverse roles and have portrayed the human condition in ways that not only resist Hollywood clichés and stereotypes, but that explore the full range of human desires and emotions, and in all of their nuances and orientations. We see this in recent films, such as Supernova and The Children Act, but also in The Lovely Bones and The Devil Wears Prada.
In the area of the culinary arts, AUR students - and indeed the entire AUR community - admire you as a cultural ambassador, with your invitation to rediscover Italy and its regionally diverse traditions via your cookbooks, films and, most recently, with the delightful CNN hit series, Stanley Tucci: Discovering Italy -- which you have called a “love letter” to your Italian ancestors.
This obvious passion for the history and culture of Italian cuisine, the art of cooking, and rituals of the table, reaches deep into your childhood and Italian family roots, and is a thread that runs through your life’s work, including in two key films, Julie & Julia, a comedic biography of Julia Child, and Big Night, with its emphasis on the ongoing tensions between two Italian immigrant brothers but who, in the final table scene, ritually reconnect as family over a shared omelet. We even catch a glimpse of this thread in your light-hearted, but entirely captivating, viral videos on how to make the perfect gin martini or negroni.
From the outside looking in, one of the extraordinary things about your career, Mr. Tucci, is not only the incredible diversity of roles and your multi-faceted talents, but your longevity--with a film career that begins from relatively modest origins, but which matures gradually over the space of nearly four decades from college theatre, to film cameos, to supporting roles, and to leading roles in internationally-renowned and prize-winning films.
In retrospect, the long arc of your career choices reveals an enduring sense of purpose and dedication to the arts in the most humanistic and elevated sense of the term—with the recent film Final Portrait, a work that you wrote and directed on the artist Alberto Giacometti, standing out as a clear case in point.
Beyond the arts, you have demonstrated another facet of your dedication to humanism in your role as the board chair of the New York City Food Bank, which has had an enormous impact on the institution, not only in donations but by raising awareness around the widespread problem of food insecurity. You have also been involved with the making of a UN Refugee Agency video titled “What They Took with Them” in order to raise awareness around the global refugee crisis.
I’d like to mention in passing that the American University of Rome is likewise dedicated to bettering the lives of refugees through our Rula Jabreal Scholarship Fund. Four of our graduates today in fact came to Italy after being displaced by political violence in Syria and Egypt.
Let me end by saying that this honorary doctorate from The American University of Rome is bestowed with our deepest respect for you, and in recognition of your lifelong contributions to the humanities and arts, and to the inspiration you provide our students as they embark now upon their own lives & careers.
I am absolutely delighted to use the authority invested in me by the District of Columbia, and the State of Delaware, to confer upon you, Stanley Tucci, the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters Honoris Causa.
Ladies and Gentlemen: Doctor Stanley Tucci.