Indra Nooyi ’80, the longtime chairman and CEO of PepsiCo, was presented with an honorary doctorate of humane letters at Yale’s commencement ceremony on May 20.
Nooyi stepped down in the fall of 2018 after leading PepsiCo for 12 years. Under her leadership, PepsiCo launched the Performance with Purpose initiative, incorporating impact on health, society, and the environment into its strategy.
In presenting Nooyi with her honorary degree, President Peter Salovey noted her impact as an outspoken and accomplished woman in business—she frequently appeared on lists of the world’s most influential women—and made reference to Yale SOM’s mission to educate leaders for business and society:
“Indra Nooyi, intrepid trailblazer, you have led with purpose, ascending the corporate ladder and encouraging women and girls to picture themselves in the C-suite. With brilliance and fortitude, you have embraced change, seized opportunities, and set an enduring example of success.
“Global role model, in recognition of your achievements in business and for society, we are honored to present you with your second Yale degree, doctor of humane letters.”
Other honorary degrees went to author Chimamanda Adichie, who received a master’s degree in Africana Studies from Yale in 2008; Harvard president and scholar of environmental policy Lawrence S. Bacow; former U.S. secretary of state and secretary of the treasury James A. Baker III; scholar of ancient Rome and author Mary Beard; actress, dancer, and choreographer Carmen de Lavallade; artist Sheila Hicks, a graduate of the Yale School of Art; businessman and philanthropist Strive Masiyiwa; elephant conservationist and researcher Cynthia Moss; anti-death penalty advocate Sister Helen Prejean; and author and women’s rights activist Gloria Steinem.