2022 Honorary Degree Recipients

Each year, MICA bestows honorary degrees upon outstanding individuals who have made significant and lasting contributions in the arts and design fields and to society. 

This year's honorary degree recipients include Maggie McIntosh, Cheryl D. Miller '74 (Graphic Design and Illustration BFA), Emily Wei Rales,  Maria Rosario Jackson, Giorgia Lupi, and Anterio Pietila. All will address the Class of 2022 with short remarks at the respective ceremonies.


Maggie McIntosh 

Margaret L. “Maggie” McIntosh is an American politician from the state of Maryland. The chairman of the Appropriation Committee of the Maryland House of Delegates, she has been a member of the House of Delegates since November 1992. She is a former Baltimore City Public School teacher who now chairs one of the six standing committees of the Maryland House of Delegates. A Democrat, she represents the state's 43rd district in Baltimore City.

Delegate McIntosh is the first woman to chair the powerful Appropriations Committee in Maryland's House of Delegates, after being the first woman to be appointed majority leader in the House of Delegates and the first openly gay elected member of the Maryland General Assembly. McIntosh is also the first woman to serve as the chairman of the Environmental Matters Committee where she has steered several major legislative initiatives to passage.

Cheryl D. Miller ’74 (Graphic Design and Illustration BFA)


AIGA Medalist 2021, “Expanding Access”
Cooper Hewitt National Design Awardee 2021, “Design Visionary”
Honorary IBM Design Scholar 2021, “Eminent Luminary”

Dr. Cheryl D. Miller is recognized for her outsized influence within the graphic design profession to end the marginalization of BIPOC designers through her civil rights activism, industry exposé trade writing, research rigor, and archival vision. Miller is a national leader of minority rights, gender, race diversity, equality, equity, and inclusion advocacy in graphic design.

She is founder of the former Cheryl D. Miller Design, Inc., NYC, a social impact design firm; she is a designer, author, trade writer for PRINT Magazine and Communication Arts Magazine, and theologian.

Dr. Miller has an MS in Communications Design from Pratt Institute and a BFA in Graphic Design from Maryland Institute College of Art, completed Foundation Studies at Rhode Island School of Design, and has a Doctor of Humane Letters from Vermont College of Fine Arts and a MDiv from Union Theological Seminary. In 2021 she was an AIGA Medalist “Expanding Access,” a Cooper Hewitt “Design Visionary” awardee and an Honorary IBM Design Scholar, “Eminent Luminary.”

A recipient of countless awards, she is dedicated to visual arts advancement. The Cheryl D. Miller Collection at Stanford University is her legacy professional firm’s archive, including her memoir research and manuscripts. The collection features D&I initiatives, corporate communications developed for Fortune 500 corporations, and corporate communications for national African American organizations, developed post-Civil Rights Era, 1974–1994. She is further archiving, The History of Black Graphic Design In North America, collected at both Stanford University and The Herb Lubalin Center, Cooper Union.

She is an activist, decolonizing graphic design professor, lecturer, and revisionist historian. She is Distinguished Senior Lecturer in Design at the University of Texas–Austin, E.W. Doty Fellow 2021, and adjunct professor at Howard University. She is a member of the Board of Trustees of Vermont College of Fine Arts and the President’s Global Advisory Board of Maryland Institute College of Art.

Emily Wei Rales

Photo credit: Julie Skarratt

Emily Wei Rales is director and co-founder of Glenstone, a museum and foundation that seamlessly integrates art, architecture, and nature in Potomac, Maryland. The museum was established in 2006 and houses an extensive collection of postwar and contemporary art. Glenstone completed a major expansion in October 2018 that included the Pavilions, a 204,000-square foot building designed by Thomas Phifer and Partners, and currently welcomes more than 85,000 visitors annually.

Emily conceived the unique visitor experience at Glenstone that encourages slow and contemplative engagement with works of art. She also spearheaded the museum’s partnership with Montgomery County Public Schools that has welcomed close to 10,000 students since its inception in 2013. In addition, she initiated the Emerging Professionals Program, which offers Guide positions to young entrants into the work force who are looking to exploring a career in the arts. 

Emily is also Glenstone’s chief curator and works closely with artists and their collaborators on conceiving exhibitions and publications for which the museum has received great acclaim. She works with her husband, co-founder Mitchell Rales, on acquisitions and collecting strategies. 

Emily serves on the board of the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, an artist-founded and artist-led organization that encourages, sponsors, and promotes innovative work in the arts by funding grants and awards programs that directly support individual artists.

Previously, Emily was a member of the Collectors Committee at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.; the Committee on Painting and Sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art in New York; and served on the board of the Foundation for Arts and Preservation in Embassies. 

Prior to her time at Glenstone, Emily worked at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York and at the Chinese antiquities gallery J.J. Lally and Company and at contemporary art galleries in New York, including the Barbara Gladstone Gallery. In 2003 she established Hudson Clearing, a nonprofit curatorial project that mounted exhibitions of work by emerging artists in underused commercial spaces in Lower Manhattan. 

Emily graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Wellesley College in 1998 where she double majored in art history and Chinese studies. She lives in Potomac, Maryland, with her husband, two daughters, and numerous pets.


Maria Rosario Jackson

Photo credit: David K. Riddick

For more than 25 years, Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson’s work has focused on understanding and elevating arts, culture, and design as critical elements of healthy communities. Her work blends social science and arts- and humanities-based approaches to comprehensive community revitalization, systems change, the dynamics of race and ethnicity, and the roles of arts and culture in communities. After confirmation by the U.S. Senate in December 2021, Dr. Jackson became the 13th chair of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in January 2022. With this historic appointment, Dr. Jackson is the nation’s first NEA chair to be an African American and Mexican American woman.

Dr. Jackson has a long career in strategic planning, policy research and evaluation with philanthropy, government, and nonprofit organizations. She has served as an advisor on philanthropic programs and investments at national, regional, and local foundations. 

Dr. Jackson is currently on leave from Arizona State University, where she is a tenured Institute Professor in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. In that role, she has led the Studio for Creativity, Place and Equitable Communities and held an appointment in the Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions (2017-2022). For almost ten years, she also served as a senior advisor for Arts and Culture and Strategic Learning, Research and Evaluation at the Kresge Foundation. 

For 18 years, Dr. Jackson worked at the Urban Institute, a Washington, DC-based national public policy research organization. While there, she was a senior research associate in the Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center and the founding director of the Urban Institute’s Culture, Creativity and Communities Program.

Dr. Jackson was appointed to the National Council on the Arts by President Barack Obama in 2012 where she served until becoming chair of the NEA. Dr. Jackson was co-chair of the County of Los Angeles Cultural Equity and Inclusion Initiative and, most recently, served on the advisory boards of the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, the Equity Center at the University of Virginia, the Strong, Prosperous and Resilient Communities Challenge (SPARCC), and L.A. Commons, an arts intermediary organization focused on bridging communities through stories and creative practice. She served on the board of directors of the Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles County (The Music Center), the Association of Arts Administration Educators, and the Alliance for California Traditional Arts. 

A graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) with a doctorate in urban planning, Dr. Jackson holds a master of public administration degree from the University of Southern California. Dr. Jackson grew up in South Los Angeles and, as a child, spent summers in her mother’s hometown of Mexico City and visited her father’s home state of Ohio. Her love of the arts stems from her parents, who encouraged Dr. Jackson and her brother to learn about the richness of their cultures through the arts. She lived in Washington, DC for 20 years and currently resides in her native Los Angeles with her husband, David K. Riddick, and in Phoenix, Arizona. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Giorgia Lupi

Giorgia Lupi is an information designer and partner at the international design consultancy Pentagram. In her practice, she challenges the impersonality of data, designing engaging visual narratives that reconnect numbers to what they stand for: stories, people, ideas. Lupi was born in Italy and received her Doctorate in Design at Politecnico di Milano, where she focused on information mapping. In 2011, she co-founded Accurat, an acclaimed data-driven research, design and innovation firm with offices in Milan and New York. Her work is part of the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, and her TED talk on her humanistic approach to data has over one million views. She has published two books, Dear Data (Princeton Architectural Press, 2016), exploring the details of daily life through hand-drawn visual data; and Observe, Collect, Draw! A Visual Journal (Princeton Architectural Press, 2018), a guided journal for collecting visual data.

Antero Pietila

Antero Pietila's thirty-five years with The Baltimore Sun included coverage of the city's neighborhoods, politics and government. He also served seven years as a Sun correspondent in South Africa and the Soviet Union. 

 A native of Finland, Pietila became a student of urban racial rotations during his first visit to the United States in 1964. He later obtained a Master of Arts degree at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. 

 He is the author of Not in My Neighborhood: How Bigotry Shaped a Great American City (2010) and The Ghosts of Johns Hopkins (2018). Both books deal with race and social change in Baltimore and reflect the whole spectrum of his experiences. He co-authored an e-book, Race Goes To War: Ollie Stewart and the Reporting of Black Correspondents in World War II (2015), and contributed to The Life of Kings: The Baltimore Sun and the Golden Age of the American Newspaper (2016).


Ashley Minner ’05 ’07 ’11 (General Fine Arts BFA, MA and MFA in Community Arts) 

Ashley Minner is a community based visual artist from Baltimore, Maryland and an enrolled member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina. She earned her MFA (’11) and MA (’07) in Community Arts from Maryland Institute College of Art and her PhD (’20) in American Studies from University of Maryland College Park. In addition to maintaining her artistic practice, Ashley works as Assistant Curator for History and Culture at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.