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Cornish to Award Honorary Degrees to Bill Evans and Norm Rice

April 14, 2010

SEATTLE, WA – Choreographer and performer Bill Evans and Norm Rice, former Seattle Mayor and current President and CEO of the Seattle Foundation, have been selected to receive honorary degrees from Cornish College of the Arts.  The degrees will be presented at the Cornish Commencement Ceremony on May 15, 2010 at 1pm at Benaroya Hall. The lively ceremony will feature guest speaker Ben Cameron, Program Director for the Arts at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

Cornish College of the Arts
2010 Commencement Ceremony
Saturday, May 15, 1 pm
Benaroya Hall
200 University Street


BILL EVANS is an internationally-known performer and choreographer of modern dance and rhythm tap dance, as well as an artistic director, movement analyst, speaker and writer.  He is first and foremost a dance educator, the creator of a widely-practiced method of teaching modern dance technique. He has a BA in English and ballet and an MFA in modern dance from the University of Utah.

He is artistic director of the internationally-acclaimed Bill Evans Dance Company. He founded the Bill Evans Rhythm Tap Ensemble in 1992 and the New Mexico Tap Dance Jams in 1999.  He founded the Evans Modern Dance Technique Certification Program in 2002.

He is on the permanent guest faculty of the Professional Program of Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers and was previously artistic director of Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers and the School of Contemporary Dancers.  He is former director of the Dance Theatre Seattle/Bill Evans Dance Company School of Modern Dance, as well as former artistic coordinator of the Repertory Dance Theatre (Salt Lake City), where he was also the leading resident choreographer and a featured performer.

Since 2004, he has served as a visiting professor/guest artist in the Dance Department of SUNY Brockport.  He is distinguished professor emeritus in the Department of Theatre and Dance at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, and was an associate professor and director of modern dance at Indiana University, a visiting professor of dance at the University of Washington and an assistant professor of modern dance at the University of Utah.

Evans has choreographed more than 200 works for more than sixty professional dance companies and been awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship and numerous grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts.  He was named Scholar/Artist of the year by the National Dance Association in 1997 and was voted one of the three top American tap dance artists in the most recent Dance Magazine Readers Poll.  He was selected for the Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Dance Education Organization in 2005.

His book, Reminiscences of a Dancing Man: A Photographic Journey of a Life In Dance, was published in 2005.  He is in the process of writing a textbook on Evans Modern Dance Technique, a textbook for secondary schools in dance technique and performance, and an autobiography.  He is the subject of The Legacy:  Bill Evans, Reaching Out from the Regional Southwest.  He has published two instructional videotapes, has two more in production and is the subject of a recently published video interview, Dance On:  Bill Evans.

NORM RICE is the President and CEO of The Seattle Foundation, one of the nation’s largest community foundations.  The foundation’s mission is to create healthy communities through engaged philanthropy, community knowledge and leadership.

Mr. Rice has served as Distinguished Visiting Practitioner at University of Washington’s Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs. He is former president and chief executive officer of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle.  In this post, he brought his passion and commitment for housing and community development to the private sector and worked with more than 375 financial institutions to make their communities better places to work and live.  Prior to joining the Seattle Bank, Mr. Rice was Mayor of Seattle, president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and a long-time city council member.

As mayor (1990-1997), Mr. Rice earned national acclaim for revitalizing Seattle’s downtown and strengthening the city neighborhoods through public-private partnerships.  While in office, Mr. Rice championed for an improved public school system, breathed new life into Seattle’s downtown with new retail centers, housing and civic buildings, and implemented a model welfare-to-work program. 

Mr. Rice holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications and a Master of Arts degree in public administration from the University of Washington. He holds honorary doctorates from Seattle University, University of Puget Sound and Whitman College.

Mr. Rice is committed to fostering the development of vibrant, diverse, self-sustaining communities through housing and economic development. Currently, Mr. Rice is a member of the Brookings Institution’s Advisory Committee for Sustainable Communities.  He serves as Chairman of the board of directors for the Enterprise Community Partners, the Fifth Avenue Theatre, and United Way of King County.  He serves on the board of the YMCA of Greater Seattle and the King County Committee to End Homelessness.

Mr. Rice is the recipient of numerous professional and community awards.  He is married to Dr. Constance Rice and they have one adult son, Mian.

In 2006, BEN CAMERON assumed his current position as Program Director, Arts at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation in New York, NY.  In that capacity, he supervises a $17 million grants program focusing on organizations and artists in the theatre, contemporary dance, jazz and presenting fields.

Previously, he served for more than 8 years as the Executive Director of Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national service organization for the American nonprofit professional theater, significantly expanding its programs, membership base and grantmaking activities.  Prior roles include his work as Senior Program Officer at the Dayton Hudson Foundation, Manager of Community Relations for Target Stores (supervising its grantmaking program) and four years at the National Endowment for the Arts, including two as Director of the Theater Program.  A former theatre professional, frequent public speaker and arts activist, Mr. Cameron has served on numerous nonprofit boards and currently is a member of the national Grantmakers in the Arts board.  He has received honorary degrees from DePaul University in Chicago and American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco, in addition to an MFA from the Yale School of Drama. In 2007, he was one of five recipients of the Distinguished Alumnus Award from UNC.

In addition to his not for profit work, he has lectured on theatre aboard the Queen Mary 2 as an Oxford Lecturer on three separate cruises, has spent 12 seasons as a panelist on the opera quiz feature on the Live from the Metropolitan broadcasts from New York, has twice ridden his bicycle from Minneapolis to Chicago to raise money for AIDS relief services, and served for three years as a member of the Tony Awards Nominating Committee.

For additional information please contact Meike Kaan or Lindsay Walter (see information above) or visit

About Cornish College of the Arts
Cornish College of the Arts is nationally recognized as a premier college of the visual and performing arts offering Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in dance, theater, art, design and performance production, and a Bachelor of Music degree. A pioneer in arts education, Cornish College of the Arts sprang from the remarkable vision of Nellie Cornish, a woman determined to cultivate the arts in Seattle when it was scarcely more than a frontier town. Her philosophy of educating the artist through exposure to all the arts was progressive at the time, and continues to be innovative today.