Filmmakers Chris Miller ’97 and Phil Lord ’97 to speak at 2023 Commencement

The speakers and four others will receive honorary degrees at the ceremony.

by The Dartmouth Senior Staff | 5/3/23 7:27pm

by Julia Levine / The Dartmouth

Award-winning filmmakers Chris Miller ’97 and Phil Lord ’97 will deliver the 2023 Commencement address on June 11, Dartmouth News announced today. The speakers will also receive honorary Doctor of Arts degrees at the ceremony.

Miller and Lord have been creative partners for more than two decades, working on projects such as “21 Jump Street,” “22 Jump Street,” “The Afterparty,” “Clone High,” “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs,” “How I Met Your Mother,” “The Mitchells vs. The Machines,” “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” and dozens more, the announcement wrote. In 2019, the duo won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, seven Annie Awards, a BAFTA Award, the Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Feature and more than 20 other awards for “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” Dartmouth News reported.

“Phil and Chris are prolific and gifted storytellers whose lifelong creative collaboration began when they were Dartmouth undergraduates,” College President Phil Hanlon ’77 wrote in the announcement. “I am delighted to welcome them back to Hanover along with their fellow honorary degree recipients — all outstanding leaders and changemakers whose work is making a profound difference in the world.”

At Dartmouth, Lord majored in art history and Miller majored in studio art, according to Dartmouth News. Film and media studies professor emeritus David Ehrlich taught the duo animation, before Miller was noticed by former Disney chief executive Michael Eisner — who recruited both Miller and Lord to Disney. At the company, they worked on Saturday morning TV shows for a year, Lord told College Trustee Jake Tapper ’91 in a 2019 Dartmouth Alumni Magazine interview.

The pair then pitched “Clone High” — an idea they developed at the College — to MTV. The series, an animated show following the teenage clones of famous historical figures, helped lead to the duo’s first film, “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs.” HBO will air a refresh of “Clone High” this spring, produced by Lord and Miller.

In addition to Lord and Miller’s speech, Hanlon will deliver his final valedictory address as College President. A senior valedictorian will also speak.

Olin College of Engineering president Gilda Barabino, sociology and government and public policy associate professor at the University of Arizona Jennifer Carlson ’04, Surgery chair at Howard University School of Medicine Andrea Hayes Dixon ’87, MED ’91 and leading environmental litigator and former Dartmouth trustee Ben Wilson ’73 will also receive honorary degrees.