Eva Longoria — acclaimed American actress, producer, director, activist, businesswoman, and philanthropist ― has been named the 2015 Harvard University Artist of the Year. The popular actress will be awarded the Harvard Foundation’s most prestigious arts medal at the annual Harvard Foundation Award ceremony on Feb. 21 during the Cultural Rhythms Festival in Sanders Theatre.
“The students and faculty of the Harvard Foundation are delighted to present the acclaimed television and film artist Eva Longoria with the 2015 Artist of the Year award,” said S. Allen Counter, director of the Harvard Foundation. “Our student committee praised her outstanding contributions to the performing arts and her much-admired humanitarian work through the Eva’s Heroes project, a charity founded by Longoria that helps developmentally disabled children.”
Longoria has many credits to her acting career. She was on “Beverly Hills 90210,” “General Hospital,” and “The Young and the Restless,” in a role that earned her an American Latino Media Arts Award for Outstanding Actress. In 2004, she landed a new series, “Desperate Housewives.” She won the Choice TV Breakout Performance, Female, at the Teen Choice Awards and the cast won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series. She was also named one of People magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful in 2005 and was No. 1 on Maxim’s annual Hot 100 list two years in a row. She also appeared in “Harsh Times” (2005, with Christian Bale), “The Sentinel” (2006, with Michael Douglas), and “The Heartbreak Kid” (2007, with Ben Stiller), among others films.
Throughout her career, Longoria has worked to make a difference in the lives of others. She is the founder of the Eva Longoria Foundation (ELF), which helps Latinas build better futures for themselves and their families through education and entrepreneurship. ELF supports programs that help Latinas excel in school and attend college, and provides Latina entrepreneurs with career training, mentorship, capital, and opportunity. The foundation launched programs in 2014 with Boys and Girls Clubs in San Antonio and Corpus Christi, Texas, to enhance science, technology, engineering, and math education (STEM) and mentorship activities. Always the philanthropist, Longoria is also the spokesperson for Padres Contra el Cancer, a nonprofit organization committed to improving the quality of life for Latino children with cancer and their families. Longoria was named Philanthropist of the Year by The Hollywood Reporter and honored by Variety with a Lifetime Achievement Award for its “Power of Women” issue.
Longoria recently received her master’s degree in Chicano studies and political science from California State University, Northridge, writing her thesis on “Success STEMS from Diversity: The Value of Latinas in STEM Careers.”
The Harvard Foundation, the University’s center for intercultural arts and sciences initiatives, honors the nation’s most acclaimed artists and scientists each year. Previous awards have been presented to distinguished artists including Shakira, LL Cool J, Quincy Jones, Queen Latifah, Sharon Stone, Andy Garcia, Will Smith, Matt Damon, Halle Berry, Jackie Chan, Denzel Washington, Salma Hayek, Wyclef Jean, and Herbie Hancock.
The Cultural Rhythms Festival program begins at 4 p.m. in Memorial Hall at Sanders Theatre. The award presentation will take place at approximately 5 p.m. Press passes can be picked up in the Sanders lobby beginning at 3 p.m.