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Loyola announces honorary degree recipients

March 19, 2010

On Saturday, May 8, Loyola University New Orleans will award honorary degrees to Drew Brees, Super Bowl XLIV MVP; R. King Milling, longtime New Orleans environmental and civic leader; and Clyde Kerr Jr., trumpeter and music mentor to countless young New Orleans musicians. They will receive honorary doctorate degrees during Loyola’s unified commencement ceremony in the Louisiana Superdome.

Brees, who will also deliver the commencement address, led a dominating performance against the Indianapolis Colts on Feb. 7, resulting in the New Orleans Saints’ first Super Bowl victory in franchise history. The quarterback dedicated the win to the city of New Orleans, his adopted home since 2006, coincidentally, the same year Loyola’s graduating class enrolled in the university.

Since his arrival in New Orleans, Brees has played a fundamental role in efforts to rebuild the city, dedicating his time to fundraising as well as hands-on work. For his commitment to the service of others, Brees is being awarded an honorary degree from Loyola. He and his wife Brittany are active philanthropists, establishing the Brees Dream Foundation in 2003 with a mission to advance cancer research and provide care, education and other opportunities for children. The foundation’s ongoing efforts include building homes with Habitat for Humanity; supporting Children's Hospital and the American Cancer Society’s Patrick F. Taylor Hope Lodge; and rebuilding schools, parks, playgrounds and athletic fields in New Orleans, San Diego and Purdue, Ind., where Brees attended college.

R. King Milling is the former president of Whitney National Bank and Whitney Holding Corporation in New Orleans, where he served for almost 25 years. He retired in 2008, but still serves on the board of directors for both organizations as he has done since 1977. Milling is being honored because of his tireless efforts to save Louisiana's wetlands and restore the coastline, as well as his decades of work with many other causes.

Milling serves as chair of the Louisiana Governor’s Advisory Commission on Coastal Protection, Restoration and Conservation, as president of the America’s WETLAND Foundation, and as a board member of the Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation which works directly with people affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and most recently, the earthquake victims in Haiti. In 2009, Milling’s civic work earned him The Times-Picayune’s Loving Cup, awarded to those people who have worked unselfishly for the community without expectation of public recognition or material award. Milling received a bachelor’s degree from Washington and Lee University in 1962 and a law degree from Tulane University in 1965.

Clyde Kerr Jr., as one of New Orleans’ highest caliber musicians, has played with some of the world’s most notable artists, ranging from the Jackson 5 and Aretha Franklin to Tony Bennett and the Neville Brothers.

Kerr is being honored for his profound impact on New Orleans and its young people. He has been a longtime fixture in the city as a teacher, and has dedicated himself to passing along his skills to countless young musicians, most of whom are underserved. Wynton Marsalis, Nicholas Payton, Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews and Irvin Mayfield are some of his most well-known pupils. He taught at Loyola University, Xavier University of Louisiana and, for 16 years, at the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts. Kerr is now retired, but his first solo album, “This Is Now! - The St. Agnes Sessions,” was released in November 2009.

For more information, contact Meredith Hartley, director of Loyola's Office of Public Affairs and External Relations at 504-722-6078 or mhartley@loyno.edu.

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Loyola at a Glance is written and distributed for the faculty, staff, students and friends of Loyola University New Orleans. It is published by the Office of Public Affairs, Greenville Hall, Box 909, 7214 St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70118. (504) 861-5888.

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