Mariska Hargitay
Mariska Hargitay Receives Honorary Degree at Commencement '23

Mariska Hargitay, an actress, activist, and advocate, will receive an honorary degree at Commencement '23 on June 2.

Mariska Hargitay has dedicated her time, talent, and resources to helping survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse. She was awakened to the weight that survivors carry through her role as Detective Olivia Benson on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Motivated to help, she founded the Joyful Heart Foundation, which seeks to transform how our society responds to sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse. Joyful Heart not only helps survivors heal but also fights to improve their access to justice. Hargitay also became a certified rape counselor, produced I Am Evidence, a documentary about the thousands of untested rape kits across the US, and campaigned for the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. 

Hargitay’s advocacy has been recognized with a Good Sister Award for Advocacy by the Children’s Advocacy Center of Manhattan, an Empowerment Award from Peace Over Violence, and a Special Ally Award from the New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault. She has also been honored with an Emmy for Outstanding Actress in a Drama, seven additional Emmy nominations, a 2004 Golden Globe Award, a Gracie Allen Award for American Women in Radio, and Television and five SAG Award nominations.

Find more information about 2023 Commencement here.