Yale Bulletin and Calendar

June 6, 2003|Volume 31, Number 31|Three-Week Issue

President Richard C. Levin (front and center) is pictured with this year's honorary degree recipients : (front row, from left) John Hart Ely, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sydney Brenner and David Hartman; (second row, from left) William H. Cosby Jr., Amartya Sen, Lord Norman Foster, Robert Bernstein, Nell Irvin Painter, Krzysztof Penderecki and Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Honorary Degrees

Eleven outstanding individuals were awarded honorary degrees at the Commencement ceremony on May 26. The names of this year's honorands, a short biography and their award citations follow:

Robert L. Bernstein
Doctor of Humane Letters

Robert L. Bernstein, publisher and human rights activist, has devoted his life to the active defense of freedom of expression and to the protection of victims of injustice and abuse throughout the world. As president and chief executive officer of Random House, Bernstein published the work of many great American authors -- including William Faulkner, James Michener, Toni Morrison and Dr. Seuss -- and built it from a $40 million company in 1966 to a $900 million company in 1990. After a trip to the Soviet Union, he became interested in writers whose work could not be published in their own countries, and went on to bring such authors as Andrei Sakharov, Vaclav Havel and Wei Jinsheng to an international audience. He also established the Fund for Free Expression, which grew into the global advocacy group Human Rights Watch. Bernstein also co-chairs the largest Chinese human rights organization, Human Rights in China. His numerous awards include the first Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Award and the Robert L. Bernstein Fellowships in International Human Rights, which was established in his honor at the Yale Law School and is awarded annually to graduates devoted to advancing human rights protection around the world.

In societies where to publish often meant to perish, you have given new life to freedom of expression. Not content merely to preside over one of the great American publishing companies as head of Random House, you have expanded your work to bring attention and assistance to oppressed peoples all over the world. As the founder of Human Rights Watch, you have acted on your conviction that people can make a difference. And you have made a difference, giving voice to those long silenced, shining the bright light of freedom in places of darkness and suppression, and working for justice and peace. We are proud to name you Doctor of Humane Letters.

Sydney Brenner
Doctor of Science

Sydney Brenner is Distinguished Research Professor at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California, and a pioneer in the field of genetics. His research on the structure and functions of genes earned him a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2002. In 1961, Brenner was part of the Cambridge University team that made the breakthrough discovery of messenger RNA, which transmits the genetic code of DNA to cell structures. Later, working with the tiny nematode Caenorhabditis elegans (dubbed "the worm"), he explored how genetic processes govern development and growth -- work that has helped inform the treatment of cancer, AIDS, strokes and neurodegenerative diseases. Brenner's work led to the sequencing of the nematode genome by John Sulston and Robert Waterston and was the model for the Human Genome Project. His study of gene sequencing in the pufferfish led to new understandings of development in vertebrates, including humans. Brenner's honors include two Albert Lasker Medical Research Awards, the Royal Medal and Copley Medal from the Royal Society of London and the Kyoto Prize from Japan, among others. He directed the Unit of Molecular Genetics at Cambridge 1986-1992 and later founded the Molecular Sciences Institute in Berkeley, California, where he was director until 2001.

Working with a lowly worm, you have given us brilliant insights into the nature of life and death. Your Nobel Prize-winning research with a tiny nematode has shed new light on human genetics and is leading to new approaches for the treatment of cancer, AIDS, strokes, and other debilitating diseases. Through your experimental genius, the scientific community has gained a deeper knowledge of cell differentiation and programmed cell death, processes of the utmost importance in human disease and development. You are one of the founders of the field of molecular biology, and we are pleased to award you this degree of Doctor of Science.

William H. Cosby Jr.
Doctor of Humane Letters

William H. Cosby Jr., the internationally known actor and entertainer, is also one of the country's strong advocates for education, children and the support of African-American art and artists. Cosby has said he did not appreciate the benefits of a formal education until later in life; he earned a doctoral degree in education long after he was already a successful entertainer. Cosby became the first African American to star in a national prime-time drama series in 1965 when he was cast in "I Spy." His animated children's show "Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids," which presented moral lessons sprinkled with humor, was used as a teaching tool, and he was a frequent guest on the educational show "The Electric Company." His series "The Cosby Show" attracted the largest audience of any situation comedy in the history of television. In addition to receiving numerous entertainment awards, Cosby has been honored by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Kennedy Center. He is a renowned child advocate and humanitarian; gives generously to colleges and universities, particularly those with predominantly African-American student bodies; helped establish a national center to support the work of African-American women; and supports the creation and preservation of African-American art.

You have given us a great gift: to see life through the lens of laughter, in a way that extends beyond our color-bound vision. From "I Spy" to "The Electric Company," from the Cosby Kids to "The Cosby Show," your art engages, amuses, and teaches. But equally inspiring, you are a true advocate for children, passionate in your belief that their hopes and dreams really matter. Your philanthropic support has expanded opportunities for advancement in higher education. We salute your artistry, your commitment to education, and your generosity of spirit, with this degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.

John Hart Ely
Doctor of Laws

John Hart Ely is a constitutional scholar and author of some of the most influential legal writings of the second half of the 20th century. A 1963 graduate of the Yale Law School, Ely became the youngest staff member on the Warren Commission, investigating the assassination of President Kennedy and a law clerk to Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren. He was a faculty member at Yale and Harvard Law Schools and dean of Stanford Law School before returning to the classroom in his current position as the Richard A. Hausler Professor of Law at the University of Miami. He was the general counsel (the third-highest ranking official) of the Department of Transportation during the Ford administration. One of Ely's most important contributions to legal scholarship is his book "Democracy and Distrust: A Theory of Judicial Review," in which he argued that the primary purpose of the Supreme Court is to ensure that the processes of democratic government remain open and fair, not to serve as an independent source of moral and political values. He received an Order of the Coif award in recognition of the book's influence. Several of Ely's other works are also listed among the classics of legal scholarship, among them his analysis of Roe v. Wade in "The Wages of Crying Wolf."

Yours is the work that sets the standard for constitutional scholarship in our generation. With forceful argument and impeccable scholarship, you have given clarity to our concept of democracy, by exploring when and how the Supreme Court should exercise its extraordinary power to declare legislation unconstitutional. As a teacher, scholar, and dean, you have made significant contributions to the education of countless lawyers and judges. Your record of service and accomplishment includes the Yale Law School, where you studied and taught with distinction. We are proud to award you, as one of our own, this degree of Doctor of Laws.

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci
Doctor of Medical Sciences

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci has been a leader in the fight against acquired immune deficiency syndrome, commonly known as AIDS. He is currently director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and chief of the Laboratory of Immunoregulation at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Fauci's early work on the human immune system and infectious diseases yielded successful treatments and cures for three immune-mediated diseases. With the identification of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in the 1980s, Fauci began studying the causes and potential treatments of AIDS. Work by his research group has improved understanding of what makes the disease fatal, as well as the evolution of the disease and how HIV hides from the body's immune system. He is currently investigating the efficacy of drug therapy for AIDS, including vaccine development. He has helped shape the NIH's approach to the fight against AIDS and has been instrumental in obtaining funding for research on the disease. He also has involved the AIDS community in discussion about research procedures and priorities. As a result of those conversations, the NIH formed the AIDS Clinical Trial Group to get experimental drugs to sick people sooner while still continuing to collect important research data about the drugs' effectiveness.

You have directed our nation's effort against AIDS, devoting much of your professional life at the National Institutes of Health to understanding the causes and treatments of this ravaging disease. An expert on the human immune system, you have led research on HIV that has yielded new insights into the process of infection and transmission. You have earned the respect of your peers in the scientific community and the trust of AIDS activists around the world through your commitment, compassion, and creativity. We recognize the importance of your work to all of us with this degree of Doctor of Medical Sciences.

Norman Foster
Doctor of Fine Arts

Lord Norman Foster is an architect of international renown whose buildings marry technology and strong design elements, while respecting environmental concerns. Foster studied architecture both in his native England and at the Yale School of Architecture. Early on, his London-based architectural firm, Foster and Partners became noted for incorporating new technology and construction techniques. Its pioneering projects include a shipping terminal with minimalist glass walls and a tent-shaped office building held up by air pressure. The practice now has offices worldwide, and Foster's portfolio includes some of the world's most ambitious designs. These include the largest airport in the world, the Hong Kong International Airport at Chek Lap Kok; the tallest building in Europe, the Commerzbank Headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany; the rebuilding of the German Reichstag; and the new Great Court of the British Museum. Foster strives to incorporate design innovations that reduce energy consumption. The Commerzbank building, for example, uses natural ventilation more than half the year, greatly reducing reliance on air conditioning. Knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 1990 and elevated to the House of Lords in 1999, Foster has received the prestigious Pritzker Prize, the Gold Medal of the Académie d'Architecture, the Gold Medal of the American Institute of Architects and the Prince Philip Designers Prize.

You are a modernist master architect of impeccably refined buildings. From the Arts Center across from the Maison Carré at Nîmes in France, to the new dome for the Reichstag in Berlin, to the glazed courtyard for the British Museum in London, you have given us the great gift of contextually responsive modernist design. From the world's largest construction project, the Hong Kong airport, to the smallest architectural detail, your works are informed by a respect for the people who will inhabit them. Ever looking forward, you have explored new material and environmental technologies to conserve energy and help protect the planet. We are delighted to honor one of Yale's own with this degree of Doctor of Fine Arts.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Doctor of Laws

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, has been instrumental in promoting the law's recognition of women's full citizenship stature. Ginsburg began her law career at a time when women were generally unwelcome in the profession. Despite excelling as a law student at both Harvard and Columbia (where she tied for first in her class), Ginsburg received no offer from any New York law firm. She was only the second woman to serve on the law faculty of Rutgers University and the first to hold a tenured professorship at Columbia Law School, where she co-authored the first major casebook on women and the law, "Text, Cases and Materials on Constitutional Aspects of Sex-Based Discrimination." It was, however, as a litigator that Ginsburg gained national attention. As co-director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Women's Rights Project, she helped call attention to the adverse effects of gender discrimination on both women and men. She successfully argued that the Constitution's equal protection of the laws guarantee demanded close review of gender-based classifications, just as it did for racial classifications. In 1980, she was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and she was named to the Supreme Court in 1993. Her numerous honors include the American Bar Association's Thurgood Marshall Award.

As a pioneer in establishing the academic field of women and the law, you are admired and respected for promoting the full recognition of women's rights. You have made your mark on our times by helping remedy the discrimination you faced. The legal foundation for the women's movement is the product of your work, as you crafted cases that expanded the equal protection of the law to include gender matters. As a Justice of the United States Supreme Court, you are an untiring advocate for equality and a staunch defender of the First Amendment. We are honored to recognize your contributions with this degree of Doctor of Laws.

David Hartman
Doctor of Divinity

David Hartman is a rabbi, philosopher and internationally known author, who is a leading advocate for pluralism among Jews and co-existence between Arabs and Jews. Hartman founded and directs the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem, which seeks to identify in classical Judaism a moral and spiritual direction for faith in contemporary times -- an approach reflected in Hartman's book "Israelis and the Jewish Tradition," which examines ancient writings for a philosophical and spiritual foundation for understanding the present and future of the Jewish people. Hartman has been an adviser to Zevulun Hammer, former Israeli minister of education, and has also advised a number of prime ministers on religious pluralism in Israel and the relationship between Israel and the Diaspora. For more than 20 years, Hartman was professor of Jewish thought at Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His numerous books include "A Heart of Many Rooms," "Crisis and Leadership" and, most recently, "Love and Terror in the God Encounter." His 1998 Terry Lectures at Yale were published as "Israelis and the Jewish Tradition: An Ancient People Debating Its Future." He was awarded the AVI CHAI Prize in Israel for his work promoting mutual understanding and sensitivity among Israeli Jews of different backgrounds.

As a theologian, you explore matters of the spirit; as a philosopher, you explore matters of the mind. As a rabbi, it is your gift to integrate the two realms in order to show us what matters most. You have persistently and powerfully argued that religion, wisely understood, can provide a vital ground for toleration and respect, and you have been a passionate advocate for coexistence among Jews, Muslims, and Christians. You are a trusted adviser to both religious and political figures, as you seek to join the sacred and secular realms of Judaism in conversation. Yours is a faith that is lived. We are pleased to present you this degree of Doctor of Divinity.

Nell Irvin Painter
Doctor of Letters

Nell Irvin Painter, the Edwards Professor of American History at Princeton University, has worked to include the experiences of African Americans, women and the working class as vital parts of U.S. history. Her work has led to new understandings of the influence of race on social and political systems, and on gender roles. Widely esteemed as a teacher and mentor, she has trained a generation of historians of the South who follow her example of unifying, rather than compartmentalizing, history. Her first book, "Exodusters: Black Migration to Kansas after Reconstruction," examined the post-Civil War movement of blacks from the South. Her second, "The Narrative of Hosea Hudson," was an "oral biography" based on taped interviews with an African-American steelworker who had been a union organizer from the 1930s through the 1950s. Her other books include "Standing at Armageddon: The United States, 1877-1919" and "Sojourner Truth: A Life, A Symbol" (which won the non-fiction prize of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association) and "Southern History across the Color Line." At Princeton, Painter is director of the Program in African-American Studies. Her awards include the Coretta Scott King Award from the American Association of University Women and the Candace Award from the National Coalition of One Hundred Black Women.

You have the gift of telling the story of history through the stories of those who lived it. By attending to the interconnections among race, gender, and politics, you have expanded our view of life in the United States during some of our most formative eras. You have honored the voices of women, workers, African Americans, and the poor-and by doing so, you have given us a better sense of the fullness of American history. Through your teaching and writing, you have made history whole. You are a scholar, a teacher, a mentor. We are proud to award you the degree of Doctor of Letters.

Krzysztof Penderecki
Doctor of Music

Krzysztof Penderecki is a composer and conductor whose work has stretched the boundaries of music, bringing new expression to contemporary and ancient themes. His compositions have been inspired by the horror of the Holocaust as well as by classical sacred texts and liturgies. The Polish-born composer made his debut at the Warsaw Autumn Festival and went on to win the top three prizes in the second National Young Composers Competition. For his 1959 "Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima," one of his most-performed pieces, Penderecki devised notations and symbols to convey his intentions for the musicians. Written for 52 strings, the music features sounds designed to evoke strong emotions, such as approaching airplanes. The work won the UNESCO prize in 1961. The composer's other works often use new and expressive instrumental sounds. "St. Luke's Passion," for example, features a choir that not only sings but also shouts, laughs, whispers and hisses. Penderecki has also conducted orchestras in Germany, Poland, Puerto Rico and China. A former visiting professor at the Yale School of Music, he has served on the faculties of the Academy of Music in Cracow and the Folkwang Hochschule für Musik in Essen. His many honors include four Grammy Awards and the Grand Medal of Paris. He was recognized as the Best Living Composer at Midem Cannes 2000.

By stretching the limits of music, you expand our capacity to hear emotion, to experience the past, and to encounter that which transcends us. You have used music to express emotions ranging from the horror of the Holocaust and the terror of nuclear attack at Hiroshima, to the experience of the Christian passion narrative. Your work uses an amazing array of sound, captured by original notation, to recreate mood, evoke response, and engage imagination. An accomplished composer, you have written in choral, operatic, and orchestral genres, as well as pieces for solo instruments, jazz ensembles, and chamber ensembles. For your gift of music, we present you this degree of Doctor of Music.

Amartya Kumar Sen
Doctor of Social Science

Amartya Kumar Sen, an economist and philosopher, received the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1998 for his contributions to welfare economics and social choice theory and, related to that, the causes and remedy of poverty and famine. Born in India, Sen's early experiences made him aware of the disparities in society between the very poor and others. At the age of 10, he witnessed firsthand the effects of the Bengal famine -- a memory that influenced his later scholarly work. Currently master of Trinity College at Cambridge University, Sen has used concepts of rationality, equity and freedom in both his philosophical and economic investigations. His early work focused on social choice theory but later embraced more practical problems, such as preventing famines. He has also worked to understand the nature of individual advantage in terms of the freedoms that different people have to achieve valuable things. His research on fundamental problems in welfare economics earned him the Nobel Prize in Economics. With a portion of the Nobel Prize money, Sen created the Pratichi Trust, which addresses literacy, basic health care and gender equity in India and Bangladesh. Sen has written widely, with one of his earliest books, "Collective Choice and Social Welfare," continuing to be one of his best-known works.

You have seen the suffering of the world's poor and have spent your life seeking to understand poverty's root causes, reflecting on the ways it limits freedom, and considering how it might be ameliorated. Shaped by the memory of witnessing the awful effects of famine, your scholarship blends economic theory and philosophy, and holds the promise of improving the lot of the least fortunate. You have been awarded a Nobel Prize for your work on social choice, welfare distribution, and poverty, and we are honored to add our tribute with the degree of Doctor of Social Science.

C O M M E N C E M E N T2 0 0 3

Yale Celebrates 302nd Graduation

Baccalaureate Address

Honorary Degrees

Senior Class Day

Teaching Prizes

Scholastic Prizes

David Everett Chantler Prize

Roosevelt L. Thompson Prize

William H. McKim Prize

Athletic Department Awards

Robert E. Lewis Award for Intramural Sports

Wilbur Cross Medals

Reception with President Richard C. Levin

ROTC Commissioning

Other Undergraduate Awards and Honors

Graduate School Awards and Honors

Commencement Photo Gallery

Graduation: The Video


Yale Celebrates 302nd Graduation

Trip expands Yale ties to South Korea

Koplan elected as alumni fellow

YSN researcher to head state's VA Department

International festival returns June 12-28

Edelson named director of Yale Cancer Center


Alumnus donates first novel by an African-American slave

Reunion events to explore world's public health crises

British Art Center acquisitions honor its founding 25 years ago

'Behold, the Sea Itself' showcases center's collection of marine art

Graduate/Professional International Study Grants

YCIAS offers Summer Institutes for educators


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