11 honorary degree recipients to be recognized at Commencement

Author: Dennis Brown

Eleven distinguished figures from the fields of education, the arts, science, engineering, business, civic affairs and law, and a Catholic cardinal, will join principal speaker Vicente Fox, president of Mexico, as honorary degree recipients at the University of Notre Dame’s 157th Commencement exercises May 19 (Sunday).p. Degrees will be conferred on some 1,800 undergraduate and 550 advanced degree candidates in ceremonies beginning at 2 p.m. (EST) in the Joyce Center on campus.p. Fox will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree. Other honorary degree recipients are:p. p. Margaret Bent (doctor of fine arts) ? The first woman to be appointed a senior research fellow at All Souls College, Oxford, Bent has been a leading scholar in medieval music for more than three decades. She has helped recover numerous lost musical works ?both sacred and secular ? from the Middle Ages and is an expert on polyphonic music from the 14th and 15th centuries. She previously taught at Brandeis and Princeton Universities and served from 1984-86 as president of the American Musicological Society.p. p. The Lord John Browne of Madingley (doctor of laws) ? Group chief executive of BP Amoco, Lord Browne first joined the British Petroleum Company in 1966 after earning a degree in physics from Cambridge University. He served for more than 30 years in a wide variety of exploration, production and senior management positions until his appointment as group chief executive of BP in 1995. He continued in the same position following the merger of BP and Amoco in 1998. He earned a master’s of business administration degree from Stanford University and was knighted in 1998.p. p. Alfred C. DeCrane Jr. (doctor of laws) ? 1953 Notre Dame graduate, DeCrane is the retired chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Texaco, Inc. He joined the company in 1959 and served in numerous positions until 1983, when he was elected president. He became chairman of the board in 1987 and chief executive officer six years later. After serving for 19 years on the advisory council for Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters, he was elected to the University’s Board of Trustees in 1992. He also is a Fellow of the University. His gifts to Notre Dame include a scholarship fund named in honor of his wife, Joan.p. p. Cardinal Walter Kasper (doctor of laws) ? A German theologian, Cardinal Kasper was appointed in 2001 president of the Pontifical Commission for Promoting Christian Unity, the Vatican’s principal office for ecumenism. He was the commission’s secretary for the previous two years. From 1961-89, Cardinal Kasper served at the University of Tzubingen, the final 19 years as a professor of dogmatic theology. He was bishop of Rottenburg-Stuttgart for five years and has served the Vatican on the World Council of Churches and the Lutheran-Catholic Commission. He was elevated to cardinal in February 2001.p. p. Helen Lieberman (doctor of laws) ? Often called the “Mother Teresa of South Africa,” Lieberman is the founder and executive director of Ikamva Labantu, a nonprofit, nongovernmental umbrella organization for more than 1,000 social programs in the townships of South Africa. Established in 1992, Ikamva programs assist some 55,000 people annually with education, child care, housing, medical and other services. Master’s of business administration students from Notre Dame have served in summer internships assisting various Ikamva programs with business plans, marketing programs and mentoring. Lieberman holds a degree in speech and hearing pathology from the University of Cape Town.p. p. Sydney Pollack (doctor of fine arts) ? A motion picture actor, director and producer, Pollack has won two Academy Awards? as both director and producer of the 1985 film “Out of Africa”? and two Golden Globe awards ? for “Out of Africa” and “Tootsie.” Other notable films he has directed include “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?” “The Way We Were,” “Three Days of the Condor,” “Absence of Malice” and “The Firm.” He is chief executive officer of Mirage Productions, which has made films such as “Presumed Innocent,” “The Fabulous Baker Boys” and “Sense and Sensibility.” Pollack was raised in South Bend and is a member of Notre Dame’s advisory council for the performing arts.p. p. Helen R. Quinn (doctor of science) ? Internationally recognized for her significant contributions to particle physics theory, Quinn has served on the scientific staff of the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) since 1979. She earned her bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in physics from Stanford and also has taught and conducted research at Harvard University and Deutsches Elektronen Synchrotron in Germany. A native of Australia, she received the 2000 Dirac Medal for her work in theoretical physics and is founding president of the Contemporary Physics Education Project, which produces material for high school and college physics teachers.p. p. Diarmuid F. O’Scannlain (doctor of laws) ? Judge O’Scannlain was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit by President Reagan in 1986. He has participated in more than 4,000 federal cases and is chair of the judicial division of the American Bar Association. A graduate of Harvard Law School, he earned his bachelor’s degree from St. John’s University and a master’s degree from the University of Virginia Law School. Prior to his appointment to the bench, he was engaged in private law practice for 17 years and spent five years serving in three state government positions in Oregon.p. p. William P. Sexton (doctor of laws) ? A professor and former chair of management, Sexton has been vice president for University Relations at Notre Dame for 19 years. Under his direction, the University recently concluded the $1.1- billion “Generations” campaign, the most successful fund-raising effort in the history of Catholic higher education. He earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from Ohio State University. His academic specialty is human behavior in organizations, and his research interests center around organization, individual needs, conflict and the management of change. Sexton, who will retire June 30 as vice president and return to full-time teaching, recently was honored by the Alumni Association with the creation of an award in his name? and for which he was the inaugural recipient ? for non-alumni who have provided distinguished service to Notre Dame.p. Patrick Toole (doctor of engineering) ? For more than 40 years Toole has been prominent in the development and manufacturing of semiconductors, storage devices and electronic packaging at IBM Corp. He retired in 1997 as senior vice president but continues to work with the company as a consultant. A member of Notre Dame’s advisory council for the College of Engineering, Toole served in similar capacities at Cornell and Syracuse Universities and was a trustee at the Rochester Institute of Technology. He also helped found the Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science at the State University of New York.p. p. Cicely Tyson (doctor of fine arts) ? An Emmy Award-winning actress, Tyson is equally respected as an activist and humanitarian. She won two Emmys in 1974 for her performance in the title role of “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman” and a third for “The Oldest Confederate Widow Tells All.” She also was nominated for an Academy Award for the 1972 film “Sounder” and has acted in scores of other feature films and television movies, including “Roots,” “A Lesson Before Dying,” “Harriet Tubman,” “King,” “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter,” “Fried Green Tomatoes” and “The Rosa Parks Story.” Her human rights activities have been honored by numerous organizations, among them the NAACP, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the Martin Luther King Jr. Center.p. p. The Commencement exercises also will include presentation of the Laetare Medal to Rev. John P. Smyth, executive director of Maryville Academy in Des Plaines, Ill., and a 1957 Notre Dame graduate. The Laetare Medal is the oldest and most prestigious honor given to American Catholics.

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