Jay Leno Awarded Honorary Doctorate For His Contributions to the Automotive Industry


Academy of Art University, one of the largest private, accredited art and design schools in the nation, announced it has honoured classic car enthusiast and TV icon Jay Leno with an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters.

Presented by University President Dr. Elisa Stephens during the 2021 Audrain Motor Week’s Concours Gala which took place in Newport, Rhode Island, the honour was given to recognize Mr. Leno’s remarkable contribution to the world of automotive art and design. 

“We are thrilled to have presented Jay Leno with this Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters,” said Dr. Elisa Stephens, President, Academy of Art University. “His contributions and work with vintage and classical cars have been truly exceptional and his passion continues to inspire many. As a school passionate about automotive history – and the only school to offer both auto-design and classic car restoration degrees in the United States – the Academy of Art University is proud to name Mr. Leno as the patron saint of our humble Automotive Design School.”

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The celebrated Audrain Motor Week event saw car enthusiasts from all over the country come together to marvel at a world-class collection of over a billion dollars worth of rare and vintage cars. A notable collection of judges including Donal Osbourme awarded the Best in Show trophy which pays homage to Willie K. Vanderbilt, his 1900 Daimler Phoenix, and the origins of Newport’s profound automotive history.

Award-winning artists and other distinguished acts performed throughout the week while Academy of Art Alumni and ‘The Market by Bonhams’ General Manager, Caroline Cassini, led Bonham’s inaugural Audrain Concours auction which drew bidders from around the world. The boutique collector car auction featured 41 cars and included the 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing Coupe from the Academy of Art University’s Classic Automobile Museum.

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