Emmy-winning actress and Chicagoan Jane Lynch (“Glee”), Grammy-winning songwriter Diane Warren (“Because You Loved Me”), film producer Paul Garnes (“Selma”) Pulitzer Prize-winning author/poet Tracy K. Smith (“Ordinary Light”), and National Museum of Mexican Art founder Carlos Tortolero have been named 2016 commencement speakers and honorary degree recipients by Columbia College Chicago. Honors will be bestowed at commencement ceremonies on May 14 and 15.
Smith is the director of Princeton’s Creative Writing program. Her collection of poems, “Life on Mars,” won the Pulitzer in 2012.
Lynch won Emmy and Golden Globe awards for her portrayal of Sue Sylvester on the Fox series “Glee,” and currently serves as host of the hit TV series “Hollywood Game Night.”
Warren is an eight-time Oscar nominee; her most recent nomination was for the moving anthem “Til It Happens To You,” co-written and performed by Lady Gaga. Her songs have been featured in more than 100 movies. Her biggest writing/co-writing credits include “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now,” “How Do I Live” and “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing.” She penned “4,” for Beyonce, which became a Billboard chart-topper for the singer.
Garnes has served as producer, line producer and/or production manager on films and television series for numerous Hollywood studios/networks including Disney, Dreamworks, HBO, and BET. In 2011, he produced filmmaker Ava DuVernay’s award-winning independent feature, “Middle of Nowhere,” and the two reunited in 2014 for the Oscar-winning, DuVernay-directed film “Selma.” He, DuVernay and Oprah Winfrey are the team behind the upcoming OWN series “Queen Sugar,” set to air this fall on the cable network.
Tortolero is the founder and president of Chicago’s National Museum of Mexican Art in the heart of Pilsen, the first Latino museum accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. The Museum opened its doors in 1987 and since then, 20 exhibitions organized by the museum have traveled across the country and eight have traveled to Mexico. The museum boasts more than 10,000 pieces in its permanent collection.
For more information on the event, visit www.colum.edu/commencement.