Prospective honorary degree recipient Richard Lugar died April 28 at age 87, The New York Times reported.
Lugar, a former Republican senator from Indiana, was slated to receive an honorary doctor of laws degree at Penn's Commencement ceremony on May 20. University spokesperson Stephen MacCarthy wrote in an email to The Daily Pennsylvanian that the University will award Lugar's degree despite his death.
"We were deeply saddened to learn of Richard Lugar's passing," MacCarthy wrote. "We plan to award his honorary degree posthumously."
According to a press release from the Lugar Center, a Washington think tank founded by the former senator, Lugar died early Sunday morning at the Inova Fairfax Heart and Vascular Institute in Virginia. His death followed complications from chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, a rare neurological disorder.
Lugar served two terms as mayor of Indianapolis and spent 36 years representing Indiana in the United States Senate, The New York Times reported. He is best known for his work as chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, where he co-sponsored a program which provided U.S. funds to support former Soviet states' nuclear disarmament. Lugar, known for his bipartisanship and foreign policy knowledge, also helped institute U.S. sanctions against the apartheid government in South Africa by overriding former President Ronald Reagan's veto. He was awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom from former President Barack Obama in 2013.
At this year's Commencement, Lugar will receive his honorary degree along with singer-songwriter Jon Bon Jovi, scientist and autism spokesperson Temple Grandin, surgeon and human rights activist Denis Mukwege, architect Laurie Olin, nursing expert Neville Strumpf, and astronomer Jill Tarter. Author and criminal justice reform advocate Bryan Stevenson will deliver the commencement address.
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