Yale Bulletin and Calendar

June 9, 2006|Volume 34, Number 30|Five-Week Issue















Seated with President Richard C. Levin (front, center) are honorary degree recipients Peter Brown, Sandra Day O'Connor, Nancy Sabin Wexler and John E. Pepper Jr. (front row, from left) and Edward Albee, Zaha Hadid, Peter H. Raven and Moshe Idel (back row, from left).

Eight Awarded Honorary Degrees
at Commencement

President Richard C. Levin presented honorary degrees to eight individuals in honor of their accomplishments at Yale's 305th Commencement ceremony on May 22.
Their citations follow.

Nancy Sabin Wexler
Professor of Neuropsychology at Columbia University
and President of the Hereditary Disease Foundation

Your efforts unlocked the mystery of the tragic disorder known as Huntington's disease. Motivated by your personal family history, you collected the data that enabled subsequent research to identify the gene that causes the disease. Along the way, the results of your research boosted confidence in the promise of the Human Genome Project. Throughout, you demonstrated care and compassion for those whom you have studied. With sensitivity and thoughtfulness, you helped shape policy and procedures concerning genetic testing and the related ethical issues. We salute you for your pioneering work and join you in hoping that it may someday lead to a cure. We are proud to name you Doctor of Medical Sciences.

Peter Brown
Professor of History at Princeton University

With scholarship of breathtaking range and deep insight, you rediscovered "late antiquity," with its dramatic transformation of Judaism, the rise of Christianity, the emergence of Islam and the creation of the Roman law. Drawing on theology, social psychology, anthropology, philosophy and history, you taught us how we continue to be shaped by these ancient times. Your magnificent work, "Augustine of Hippo," stands as a seminal biography. Your mastery of 25 languages and your gifts as a teacher, mentor and writer epitomize the nobility of scholarship in the modern world. For your contributions to the life of the mind, we award you the degree of Doctor of Humanities.

Zaha Hadid

Your innovative work transcends convention by drawing the qualities of a particular site into the building itself. Your approach emphasizes structure and frame through a reinvention of architectural geometry. You challenge traditional notions of form and style. Your buildings curve and soar. They become constructed comments on their environment. You are an accomplished designer and teacher, and, as the first woman to win your field's highest honor, the Pritzker Prize, you are an inspiration. We are pleased to recognize the art of your architecture by granting you the degree of Doctor of Fine Arts.

John E. Pepper Jr., '60 B.A.
Businessman and Civic Leader

You are the quintessential servant leader. For 39 years at Procter & Gamble, you proved that companies can do well by doing good. Honestly and earnestly, you created a culture that respected all and required their best. As senior fellow of the Corporation and vice president for finance and administration, you brought these values to Yale and inspired all who work here. An exemplary citizen, you have led the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and the Cincinnati Youth Initiative, and helped many other civic organizations. In every job and every voluntary role you have assumed, you have taught your colleagues what really matters. We, who value so highly your devoted service, with pride, gratitude and delight award you yet another Yale degree, Doctor of Humane Letters.

Moshe Idel
Professor of Jewish Thought at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem

You have radically changed the long-dominant vision of Jewish mysticism. You have pioneered by suggesting that Gnosticism is a belated version of earlier Jewish speculations, and you have intimated that we may yet discover an archaic Jewish religion that predates almost all of our written sources. We are honored to recognize your scholarly contributions in the field of Judaic studies and your wisdom that provides insight into the religious impulses of humanity at large by bestowing on you the degree of Doctor of Divinity.

Peter H. Raven
Professor of Botany at Washington University
and Director of the Missouri Botanical Garden

Your career has focused on studying and preserving biodiversity, protecting the environment, and understanding the interrelatedness and co-evolution of plants, animals and insects. You have transformed the oldest public garden in the United States, the Missouri Botanical Garden, into the world's leading research center for the study of tropical rain forests. Your own research and service spans the globe, as you work tirelessly to promote science, save the rapidly disappearing forests of the tropics and their endowments of species, and call attention to the unprecedented risks of climate change. You are a prolific writer, a gifted teacher and a visionary leader. For all these accomplishments, we are pleased to confer this degree of Doctor of Science.

Edward Albee

You have captured the complexity of modern life and given it voice in unforgettable characters. Your works explore the dark side of our existence, probe our modern disillusionment, and attack the false values that have corroded society. You have written plays that puzzle and provoke us. With generous spirit, you have shared your knowledge with countless aspiring playwrights -- teaching, coaching and mentoring. You bring honor to Yale by accepting this degree of Doctor of Letters.

Sandra Day O'Connor
U.S. Supreme Court Justice

From your childhood on a western ranch to your leading role on the nation's highest court, you have demonstrated self-reliance, independence, intelligence and wisdom. Undaunted by the lack of opportunity for women lawyers, you made your own way in legal practice, politics and public service. As the first woman appointed to the Supreme Court of the United States, you worked tirelessly to find the moderate, middle ground. Your judicial pragmatism has helped to keep the law a living thing, evolving and changing as the world changes, serving society well. You are a judge of the people and for the people. We are pleased to recognize your influence on the law and your contribution to society with this degree of Doctor of Laws.


PBS news anchor elected as trustee

Ceremony formally marks Rose Center opening

New Peabody hall offering high-tech lessons about Earth and space

Scientists believe that green tea may be key to 'Asian paradox'



New exhibit asks: What did Shakespeare really look like?

Samples from ocean floor at the North Pole yield clues . . .


Arts & Ideas festival adds a dash of New Orleans spice

Art & Architecture Library taking up temporary residence on Crown Street

Forum explores governmental budgetary processes in China

Library events celebrate aviator and author Anne Morrow Lindberg

Making the Grade

Uncovering Ingrained Attitudes About Obesity

Artist's exhibit at Slifka Center will examine complexity of faith

Jaroslav Pelikan, renowned scholar of church history

Event will bring bellringers from near and far to the Yale campus

Gigantic balloon creatures to invade Hall of Dinosaurs

Celebrated performer to teach summer flute institute

Drama production will highlight work by New Haven students

Reading aloud

Campus Notes

Bulletin Home|Visiting on Campus|Calendar of Events|In the News

Bulletin Board|Classified Ads|Search Archives|Deadlines

Bulletin Staff|Public Affairs|News Releases| E-Mail Us|Yale Home