Ann Z. Kerr-Adams and Ricardo Jasso to Receive Honorary Degrees From SBS

May 2, 2024
Man with gray hair and moustache on the left and silver haired woman with red jacket on the right

Ricardo Jasso and Ann Z. Kerr-Adams

Congratulations to Ann Z. Kerr-Adams and Ricardo Jasso, who will both be awarded Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences during the 160th Commencement ceremony on Friday, May 10, 2024.


Ann Z. Kerr-Adams

Three people standing in graduation regalia

From left: Steve Kerr, Ann Z. Kerr-Adams, and SBS Dean Lori Poloni-Staudinger

Ann Z. Kerr-Adams, a native of Southern California has spent more than 15 years living, studying, and teaching in the Middle East. She works as the coordinator for visiting Fulbright scholars at the University of California, Los Angeles, and teaches students about U.S. interests in greater Middle East diplomacy and perceptions of U.S. foreign policy abroad.

Group of five people standing outside for a photo

From left: Scott Lucas, acting head of the School of Middle Eastern and North African Studies; Honorary Doctorate recipients Steve Kerr and Ann Z. Kerr-Adams; Maha Nassar, associate professor; and Hsain Ilihiane, professor, both from the School of Middle Eastern and North African Studies.

A lifelong supporter of education and tolerance, Kerr-Adams has worked with numerous institutions that aim to cultivate peace and global understanding. When she was a college student, she traveled to Lebanon to study abroad at the American University of Beirut. There, she met Malcolm Kerr, who she married in 1956 and with whom she had four children. In 1982, Malcolm accepted the role as president of the American University of Beirut. He was assassinated outside his office on Jan. 18, 1984. 

Following her husband's death, Kerr-Adams embarked on her own mission to foster understanding among diverse communities around the world.

Kerr-Adams and her family have generously donated to a number of academic institutions. In 2017, Kerr-Adams established the Kerr Family Centennial Scholars Endowment at UCLA to support students from the Middle East. She also helped establish the Kerr Family Scholarship at U Arizona, an endowment dedicated to her late husband and their son, Steve – a U Arizona alumnus, NBA champion and award-winning coach. The scholarship, intended to help support students of Middle Eastern background, is awarded to international students who have demonstrated excellence in their studies at the university.


Ricardo Jasso
A cultural scholar, community leader, mentor and advocate, Jasso has spent more than five decades identifying and addressing barriers to the prosperity of Mexican Americans in the United States and has helped improve health and social service approaches among providers throughout Arizona and around the nation.

Man and woman standing in graduation regalia

SBS Dean Lori Poloni-Staudinger and Ricardo Jasso

In 2006, Jasso founded Amistades, Inc., a Latino-serving nonprofit committed to addressing race and equity issues in Southern Arizona. The organization provides culturally responsive social services, advocacy for social justice and community empowerment. The organization collaborates with the university; local and regional government; police and sheriff's department offices; county and state departments of health; tribal leaders; and grassroots community organizers. Amistades has hosted events across campus, worked closely with a number of UArizona faculty on research, provided mentorship for undergraduate interns training to be the next generation of community activists and collaborated on various studies and initiatives.

Jasso will be receiving his honorary degree from both the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and the College of Science.

Content is taken from this UANews story.