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News from the Hilltop

May 16, 2007

Birmingham-Southern College to present two honorary degrees

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—Birmingham-Southern is presenting William and Catherine Cabaniss with honorary degrees at its Commencement ceremony May 26 in recognition of distinguished careers. Commencement is set for 3:30 p.m. at Boutwell Auditorium in downtown Birmingham.

William Cabaniss of Birmingham, former Alabama senator and former U.S. Ambassador to the Czech Republic, will receive an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree.

Catherine Cabaniss of Birmingham, accomplished artist and wife of William Cabaniss, will receive an Honorary Doctor of Humanities degree.

William Cabaniss earned a bachelor's degree from Vanderbilt University in 1960. He was sworn in as U.S. Ambassador to the Czech Republic in December 2003 and served for three years. A U.S. Army veteran, he served a tour in Germany as Airborne Ranger First Lieutenant. He served in the Alabama House of Representatives from 1978-82 and in the Alabama State Senate from 1982-90. Owner of Precision Grinding, Inc., a successful steel plate processing and metal machine business, he has been a leader in the Birmingham business community for many years. In 2002, he received the “Distinguished Builders of Birmingham” award. He has served on a number of boards of directors of publicly-held companies, as well as a number of civic and nonprofit organizations. He was awarded the Birmingham Rotary Club “Community Service Award” in 1993.

Catherine Cabaniss served in the critically important role of ambassador's wife during her husband's three-year term in Prague. As an artist, she aggressively represented the work of American artists within the ambassador's residence, introducing numerous artists and their work to the citizens of the Czech Republic. Her paintings and palimpsests (parchments on which the writing has been erased to make space for fresh writing) have been exhibited at the International Curatorial Space in New York City, the Daniel Arts Center at Simon's Rock College, and at Mast Cove Galleries, Maine's largest privately owned group gallery. In the late 1990s, she joined with a group of women to form the Alabama Committee, a coalition of women who believe in the importance of the creative contributions made by women.

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