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Academy of Art University Honors Jay Leno with Doctorate of Humane Letters

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 14, 2021 – Academy of Art University, one of the largest private, accredited art and design schools in the nation, announced it has honored 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 honor 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. 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.

Dr. Elisa Stephens, President, Academy of Art University

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.

About Academy of Art University
Established in 1929, Academy of Art University is one of the largest private, accredited art and design schools in the nation. Located in San Francisco, the epicenter of culture and technology, Academy of Art University offers more than 129 accredited degree programs—available online and on-campus—spanning 70 areas of study, including entertainment arts, advertising, fashion, architecture, game development, music, communications, photography, and more. For more information, please visit

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