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Tag Archives: Honor

June 23

June 23, 1938 – Walt Disney Receives Honorary Degree from Harvard

“I am greatly honored to know that the Governing Board of Harvard University have voted to confer upon me the honorary degree of Master of Fine Arts on Commencement Day, June 23rd.”

On June 23, 1938, Walt Disney received an honorary degree from Harvard University, his third honorary degree of the year. With the success of the character Mickey Mouse, as well as the animated feature film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Disney was honored for, as Harvard’s then-president James Bryant Conant stated, “…[creating] a modern dwelling for the Muses; his hand controls a multitude of elfish animals who charm all humans by their mirth.”

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April 9

April 9, 1978 – Ten Disney Animators are Honored by Delta Kappa Alpha

“This evening, we pay tribute to the achievements of Walt Disney Productions and the men who worked there. Delta Kappa Alpha is proud to present its Pioneer in Film Award to both the Disney Studio and the ten veteran animators who helped create many classics.”

On April 9, 1978, the 39th annual awards banquet for the Delta Kappa Alpha fraternity was held at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, California. The fraternity was founded in 1937 and was dedicated “to the furthering of the film arts and to the promotion of better relations between the academic and practicing members of the industry, both theatrical and non-theatrical.” This banquet honored ten animators from Walt Disney Productions: members of the Nine Old Men (Frank Thomas, Ollie Johnston, John Lounsbery, Marc Davis, Ward Kimball, Woolie Reitherman, Les Clark, Eric Larson, and Milt Kahl), and Ken Anderson.

August 30

August 30, 1943 – Walt Disney is Awarded the Order of the Aztec Eagle

On August 30, 1943, Walt Disney, along with MGM Studios co-founder Louis B. Mayer, was awarded the Order of the Aztec Eagle, Mexico’s highest honor. Disney received the award from Mexican president Manuel Ávila Camacho, honoring Disney’s efforts to create a strong relationship with Mexico through the Good Neighbor Program. Through this program, Walt and a group of animators, known as “El Grupo,” traveled through South America to research the countries and create animated features and short films. One such output was the film The Three Caballeros, which featured Mexican rooster Panchito as a lead character. This film was the beginning of a long relationship the Disney Studios had with Mexico.

August 19

August 19, 2011 – Twelve Inductees are Honored as Disney Legends

“The Spiral—stands for imagination, the power of an idea. The Hand—holds the gifts of skill, discipline and craftsmanship. The Wand and the Star—represent magic: the spark that is ignited when imagination and skill combine to create a new dream.”

On August 19, 2011, the twelve newest Disney Legends were inducted at a special ceremony during the D23 Expo in Anaheim, California. Among those honored were creator of the Muppets, Jim Henson; Disney merchandiser Bo Boyd; television show host Regis Philbin; entertainment entrepreneurs and original proprietors of the Disneyland Hotel Jack and Bonita Wrather; former Chairman of the Board for the Walt Disney Company, Ray Watson; star of the hit television series Zorro, Guy Williams; and the voice actresses for the Disney Princesses: Jodi Benson (Ariel); Linda Larkin (Jasmine); Paige O’Hara (Belle); Anika Noni Rose (Tiana); and Lea Salonga (singing voice for Jasmine and Mulan). Several were awarded posthumously, and those still living were in attendance to collect their statue and place their handprints on the special plaques that are placed in the Disney Legends Plaza.

August 18

August 18, 2008 – The Jonas Brothers Unveil Their Wax Figures as Madame Tussauds

On August 18, 2008, the popular Disney Channel stars and pop boy band the Jonas Brothers unveiled their wax figure likenesses at Madam Tussauds in Washington DC. Fans of the band showed up to see the unveiling and to meet the boys – and their statues – in person. The statues, a testament to the band’s popularity, also acted as promotion for the band’s upcoming album A Little Bit Longer.

May 24

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May 24, 1968 – Walt Disney is Posthumously Awarded the Congressional Gold Medal

“Whereas Walt Disney’s life personified the American dream and his rags-to-riches story demonstrated that the United States of America remains the land of opportunity…”

On May 24, 1968, President Lyndon Johnson presented the Congressional Gold Medal to Walt Disney’s widow, Lillian Disney. Walt, who had passed away on December 15, 1966, had previously received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1964. In the joint resolution to issue the medal, it honored Walt’s contributions, his humanitarian efforts, his help with the war effort during World War II, and “his belief that good will ultimately triumphs over evil.”

May 10

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May 10, 2005 – Ollie Johnston Drives the Marie E. at Disneyland

On May 10, 2005, a special ceremony was held in Disneyland for animator and member of the Nine Old Men Ollie Johnston. Under the ruse of receiving a special honor for contributing to the Carolwood organization, Johnson was surprised to find that his locomotive, the Marie E., was on the Disneyland tracks to allow him one last ride. Johnson, along with Ward Kimball and Walt Disney, were train enthusiasts, but in his older age, Johnson had to sell his train as he was unable to operate it. Sold to none other than John Lasseter, Lasseter was able to find a way to bring it to the park in a special ceremony. Friends and family were gathered at Frontierland station to watch Johnson ride his beloved train one last time.