March 31, 1998
Volume 44 Number 27

At Commencement '98, Honorary Degrees for Nine

At the 242nd Commencement, to be held Monday, May 18, on Franklin Field, Penn will award honorary degrees to nine distinguished figures in public and academic life, the Office of the Secretary has announced.

Two recipients are the Commencement Speaker and his wife: President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter, whose lives after leaving the White House have centered on volunteer service to world peace and creating programs for the needy here and abroad.

Another couple highlighted at Commencement this year: Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan, an honorary degree candidate, and NBC News's Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent Andrea Mitchell, who is the Baccalaureate Speaker on May 17. Ms. Mitchell is an alumna of the College for Women.

Thumbnail sketches of this year's nine honorary degree candidates appear in this issue. In brief they are, in alphabetical order:

The Hon. Arlin M. Adams, a Law School alumnus and emeritus trustee of the University who also served on as an adjunct faculty. After serving on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit from 1969 to 1986, Judge Adams accepted such apppointments as Independent Counsel in the 1990-95 investigation of influence peddling in the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and as permanent trustee in the New Era Foundation bankruptcy, 1995. At Penn he has chaired the Law School Overseers and served on boards for the Center for Law and Economics, the School of Social Work and the Wharton School.

President Jimmy Carter, thirty-ninth president of the United States (1978-81), and co-founder with Rosalynn Carter of The Carter Center in Atlanta Georgia, a non-partisan, non-profit unit that is the institutional base for his continuing role in public life. He is the author of twelve books and a hands-on involvement volunteer and director of Habitat for Humanity, a nonprofit organization that helps build homes for needy families.

Rosalynn Carter, an advocate for mental health who during Mr. Carter's presidency was honorary chair of the President's Commission on Mental Health; her efforts were instrumental in the passage of the Mental Health Systems Act of 1980. Through The Carter Center she continues to address mental health needs--partly via an annual Rosalynn Carter Symposium on Health Policy--and other issues of concern to woman and children, human rights, conflict resolution, and the empowerment of urban communities. Author of three books, she is a distinguished fellow at the Emory University Institute for Women's Studies' and is activewith the Rosalynn Carter Institute of Georgia Southwestern College.

Dr. Francis S. Collins, Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute at NIH and the major contributor to the development of positional cloning (identifying the gene causing a human disease by its position in the human genome). Author of the central textbook Principles of Medical Genetics, he also directs a 15-year project to map and sequence all of the human DNA by the year 2005. In addition to his role as advocate for the significance of human genetics and genomics as it relates to human disease and ultimately to medical care, he has extensively concerned himself with the ethical, legal, and social implications of issues such as presymptomatic diagnostic genetic testing and genetic discrimination.

Dr. Frank Moore Cross, Harvard's Hancock Professor of Hebrew and Other Oriental Languages, Emeritus and retired director of the Harvard Semitic Museum. The world's foremost authority on the paleography, dating and textual criticism of the Dead Sea Scrolls--and mentor to most of the current generation of authorities on the Scrolls, Dr. Cross is the author of more than 200 publications including the classic The Ancient Library of Qumran Modern Biblical Studies.

Dr. Alan Greenspan, Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board and "the second most powerful person in the nation" according to a biographical sketch. A onetime musician, Dr. Greenspan has been at the center of the nation's econonmic life since he becamse chairman of President Ford's Council of Economic Advisors in 1974 and has chaired "the Fed" since 1987.

Jessye Norman, the renowned soprano whose worldwide performance career and more than fifty albums have established her as one of the world's reigning opera and concert singers.

Dr. Stanley B. Prusiner, professor of neurology and biochemistry and biophysics at the University of California at San Francisco. One of the few solo winner of the 1997 Nobel Prize in Medicine, Dr. Prusiner is an alumnus of the College and of the School of Medicine whose dramatic discovery of an entirely new class of proteins called prions--controversial at first, but now generally accepted as the infectious agent in "mad cow disease"and in human neuro-degenerative diseases such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

Maurice Sendak, the author-illustrator who "has elevated children's literature to a high art form by creating a wild, delightful, and sometimes frightening, universe." The onetime F.A.O.Schwartz salesman, now the most-honored author-illustrator in the annals of children's literature, has also turned to set and costume design for opera in the U.S. and Great Britain. He is now artistic director of The Night Kitchen, a national children's theater which he co-founded in 1991.


Almanac, Vol. 44, No. 27, March 31, 1998