ICYMI: Viola Davis Named Harvard Foundation’s ‘Artist of the Year’

By Sameer Rao Feb 28, 2017

Oscar, Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild and Critics’ Choice Award-winning actress Viola Davis ("Fences") can add the Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations‘ "Artist of the Year" award to her list of accolades.

Davis—who earned the best "Actress in a Supporting Role" Oscar for her "Fences" performance during Sunday’s (February 26) Academy Awards ceremony—will receive the Harvard Foundation’s honor during the 32nd annual Cultural Rhythms Festival on March 4. Davis will also speak with Harvard University students during a moderated discussion and luncheon preceding the awards ceremony.

Harvard University’s official publication, the Harvard Gazette, announced Davis’ recognition in a February 23 post. Neurologist and foundation director Dr. S. Allen Counter said that the organiztion’s student committee, which selected Davis for the annual award, "praised her outstanding contributions to American and international film and theater."

According to its website, Harvard University established the Harvard Foundation in 1981 with a directive to "improve relations among racial and ethnic groups within the university." The Cultural Rhythms Festival is an interdisciplinary artistic and culinary showcase headlined by the "Artist of the Year" presentation. Previous "Artist of the Year" honorees include actresses Lucy Liu ("Elementary") and Eva Longoria ("Desperate Housewives") and musicians John Legend and Shakira.