When Ryan Seacrest takes the stage for the University of Georgia’s spring Commencement ceremony on May 13, 2016, in Sanford Stadium, he will have two tasks—inspire a new class of UGA alumni and receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the university he attended as a freshman.
The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia approved Seacrest’s honorary degree during its Oct. 14 meeting. Other than an earned doctorate, the honorary degree is the highest recognition UGA can bestow and is given to recognize a person who has a sustained record of achievements of lasting significance.
Seacrest holds pre-eminent positions in broadcast and cable television, as well as nationally syndicated radio and local radio. He is celebrated internationally as host of the top-rated prime-time talent showcase “American Idol” on Fox. He is host and executive producer of ABC’s annual New Year’s eve program, “Dick Clark’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest.” He also has an agreement with NBCUniversal that includes on-air broadcasting and producing duties across the NBC and E! networks.
On radio, Seacrest is host of “On Air with Ryan Seacrest,” his market-topping nationally syndicated Los Angeles morning drive-time show for iHeart Media’s 102.7 KIIS-FM, as well as a nationally syndicated Top 40 radio show.
Seacrest is being honored by the university for his commitment to youth-oriented initiatives.
Seacrest’s philanthropic efforts include his service as chairman of the Ryan Seacrest Foundation, which has opened eight broadcast media centers—known as Seacrest Studios—in pediatric hospitals across the country. Through these studios, patients have the opportunity to explore the creative realms of radio, television and new media and are provided with a variety of programming during their hospital stays. Students from local journalism schools intern with the studios to learn about broadcasting, programming and operating a multimedia center. 2015 40 Under 40 honoree Mamie Shepherd (ABJ ’13) is a program coordinator at the Ryan Seacrest Foundation.
“We look forward to welcoming Ryan Seacrest back to the UGA campus,” said President Jere W. Morehead. “Through Seacrest Studios, he has channeled his success into a source of comfort and creativity that has positively impacted the lives of pediatric patients and their families while providing significant learning opportunities for students. I am sure he will have a compelling message to deliver as the Commencement speaker.”
Seacrest is also honorary chair of the Grammy Foundation and is on the board of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Seacrest, who attended UGA in 1992, moved to Hollywood to pursue a broadcasting career that he began as a radio intern while attending Dunwoody High School. Twenty-four years later, he is known internationally for his work in television and radio.