Meryl Streep, one of the best-known and indisputably greatest actresses of her time, has always been a “wearer of many hats.” This April, she’ll don a new cap—and gown—as she receives an honorary doctoral degree from Indiana University in Bloomington. Also, for her role as a pill-popping matriarch in this season’s August: Osage County, she has been nominated in the Best Actress category at Sunday’s Academy Awards. It’s the eighteenth nomination of her film career, more than any other actor in history.
You’ve probably seen her as a mother fighting for custody of her child or that boss straight from Hell. She has stepped into the roles of Julia Child, Karen Silkwood, and Margaret “Iron Lady” Thatcher. For more than 40 years, Meryl Streep has breathed life into an array of characters we’ve come to know and love and has charmed her way into the hearts of millions, both onscreen and off.
On April 16, Streep will take on another life-changing role as an honorary graduate of Indiana University, joining the ranks of the Hoosier Nation.
According to Jon Vickers, director at Indiana University Cinema, Streep will receive a Doctorate of Humane Letters (DHL), which is always conferred as an honorary degree, set to be presented on April 16, at a ceremony beginning at 3 p.m. at IU Auditorium.
“Meryl Streep has established herself as one of the leading actors in cinema, as well as an international ambassador for the art form,” Vickers said in a press release from IU on Monday. “She believes in the transformative power of art, which has influenced the choices she has made regarding her roles.”
Streep previously visited IU as a headliner for the 2010 Colloquium for Women of Indiana University, where she spoke with Jane Pauley on topics ranging from marriage and family to body image and self-confidence. (Pauley is an IU alum, an Indy native, and of course, a legend in broadcast journalism.)
About the Event: “It will be a formal robe presentation of the degree,” Vickers tells IM. “People will say nice things about Meryl Streep, she’ll be given the degree, and then the stage will be cleared and the conversation will begin. The actual ceremony will be very brief.” The conversation is part of the Jorgensen Guest Filmmaker Series at IU Cinema and will be hosted by Barbara Klinger, a professor of film and media studies in the Department of Communications and Culture.
Tickets for the event are free and open to the public but limited to four per customer. They will go on sale Monday, March 3, at IU Auditorium’s box office.
Chatting with a Star: In addition to her afternoon conversation with Klinger, Streep will take part in an evening event with Vickers at IU Cinema. “I’ll interview her after A Prairie Home Companion screens that night,” he says. “She’ll be there for the introduction before, and then I will be doing a Q&A with her after the film.”
Another for the Record: As honorary degrees go at Indiana University, Streep is certainly not the first to receive one; according to university records, Streep’s conferral ceremony in April will mark her as the 818th recipient of the DHL honorary degree. The achievement is not a first for Streep, either. In addition to three Academy Awards, eight Golden Globes, and countless other awards she has received for her acting, Streep has also received honorary degrees from at least five other universities, including Princeton, Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth, and Middlebury College in Vermont.
What’s Next: In preparation for Streep’s April visit, IU Cinema will show a mini-retrospective of Streep’s films in upcoming months, including several of her award-winning roles (showtimes listed below).
Additionally, of course, be sure to look for Streep at this year’s 86th Academy Awards, hosted by Ellen DeGeneres this Sunday, March 2, at 8:30 p.m.
Word on the Streep: IU Cinema Showtimes
Monday, April 7: The Iron Lady, 7 p.m.
Sunday, April 13: Silkwood, 6:30 p.m.
Tuesday, April 15: August: Osage County, 7 p.m.
Wednesday, April 16: A Prairie Home Companion, 7 p.m.
Thursday, April 17: Sophie’s Choice, 6:30 p.m.
Sunday, April 27: Music of the Heart, 6:30 p.m.
Saturday, May 3: Fantastic Mr. Fox, 3 p.m.