Honorary Doctorate, ’91
Nellie Harper Lee, better known by her pen name Harper Lee, was an American novelist widely known for To Kill a Mockingbird, published in 1960. Immediately successful, it won the 1961 Pulitzer Prize and has become a classic of modern American literature. Though Lee had only published this single book, in 2007 she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her contribution to literature.
She was also known for assisting her close friend Truman Capote in his research for the book In Cold Blood (1966). Capote was the basis for the character Dill in To Kill a Mockingbird. Another novel, Go Set a Watchman, was written in the mid-1950s and published in 2015 as a sequel, though it was later confirmed to be To Kill a Mockingbird’s first draft. Lee studied law at UA for several years and worked for the campus newspaper, but did not finish her degree. She passed away in 2016.