Ken Burns

Close up of Ken Burns in a black robe with the Brandeis seal behind him

Ken Burns receives an honorary degree during the 2024 Undergraduate Commencement ceremony.

Photo Credit: Dan Holmes

Doctor of Creative Arts

For almost 50 years, Ken Burns has directed and produced some of the most acclaimed historical documentaries ever made.

Starting with the Academy Award-nominated “Brooklyn Bridge” in 1981, Burns has created such documentary films and television series as “The Civil War,” “Baseball,” “Jazz,” “The War,” “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea,” “Prohibition,” “The Roosevelts: An Intimate History,” “The Vietnam War,” “Country Music,” “The U.S. and the Holocaust,” and, most recently, “The American Buffalo.”

Future film projects include “Leonardo da Vinci,” “The American Revolution,” “Emancipation to Exodus,” and “LBJ and the Great Society.”

Burns’ documentaries have been honored with dozens of major awards, including 17 Emmy Awards, two Grammy Awards, and two Oscar nominations. In September 2008, Burns was honored by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences with a Lifetime Achievement Award. In November 2022, he was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame.