UCLA history associate professor emeritus Robert Hill is among 16 individuals from indigenous political and cultural leaders to an internationally renowned photographer, who are receiving honorary degrees from the University of Toronto.  

In awarding honorary degrees, the University of Toronto has two aims: to recognize extraordinary achievement in community, national or international service; and to honor individuals whose accomplishments are of such excellence that they provide, through example, inspiration and leadership to the graduates of the university.

Hill was offered the degree of Doctor of Law, honoris causa, in recognition of his contributions to the understanding of black history and historiography, Pan-Africanism, and African American and Afro-Caribbean thought.

Aptly referred to as the “archaeologist of black memory,” Hill is one of the world’s leading authorities on the global influence and intellectual currents of Pan-Africanism in the 20th century. Hill has amassed a crucial archive of Cyril Brigg’s pioneering New Negro journal, The Crusader, and the manuscript of C.L.R. James’ unpublished masterpiece,” American Civilization.”

As director and editor-in-chief of the UCLA African Studies Center Marcus Garvey and Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers Project, Hill has published 14 volumes to date on the mass movement inspired by the Jamaican activist. The project was funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Honorary degrees will be awarded at the university’s upcoming convocation ceremonies, where awardees will address graduates.

“The University of Toronto is proud to honor this diverse group of truly extraordinary leaders,” said University of Toronto President Meric Gertler. “They have demonstrated excellence and tenacity in their fields, from music to law, business to health care, science to journalism, and will be an inspiring reminder to our graduates and all in attendance of the power of individuals to create real, meaningful change.”