On September 13th, 2023, the U.S Department of State’s Office of Art in Embassies honored Hank Willis Thomas '98 (BFA, Photography & Imaging), alongside four others, with the 2023 U.S. Department of State Medal of Arts. First Lady Dr. Jill Biden presented the medals at a White House ceremony.
Thomas was the most recent NYU Tisch Gala Honoree, alongside his mother, Deborah Willis, Ph.D. He is a conceptual artist working primarily with themes related to perspective, identity, commodity, media, and popular culture. Most recently in January 2023, Thomas unveiled The Embrace on Boston Common, a monument to Dr. Martin Luther King and Coretta Scott King.