Stony Brook to Award Reeve With Degree

Christopher Reeve (search) will be posthumously awarded an honorary degree at Stony Brook University's commencement on May 20.

Reeve, who starred in four "Superman (search)" films from 1978-87, died Oct. 10 at age 52 of complications from an infection caused by a bedsore. He became a spokesman for spinal-cord injury victims after a 1995 horse riding accident left him a quadriplegic, using his celebrity to lobby for more funds for biomedical research and aid to the disabled.

His doctor of humane letters degree will be accepted by Stony Brook graduate student Brooke Ellison, whose own struggle with paralysis was the subject of a TV movie directed by Reeve.

"Christopher Reeve was a friend and a hero," Ellison said in a statement Monday. "He was an amazing person, and I miss him terribly. I am honored to accept the degree on his behalf, and I know he would be honored, too."

"The Brooke Ellison Story (search)," starring Lacey Chabert, was based on the book "Miracles Happen: One Mother, One Daughter, One Journey," by Ellison and her mother, Jean Ellison.

"Christopher Reeve was an extraordinary person whose courage, fortitude and passion served as an inspiration to people the world over," said Stony Brook President Shirley Strum Kenny. "Brooke's determination and bravery is similarly inspiring. She embodies Mr. Reeve's legacy, and is the perfect person to receive the honorary degree on behalf of his family."

Ellison is studying for a Ph.D. in political science at Stony Brook, which is located in Stony Brook, N.Y.