COMMENCEMENT 2000: Sketches of the Honorary Degree
John N. Bahcall
Dr. John N. Bahcall, Richard Black Professor of Natural Sciences at the
Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, is one of the world's most distinguished
astrophysicists. Dr. Bahcall is an expert on the elusive form of radiation
known as neutrinos. Neutrinos have the potential to map the heavens in a
new and unique way. They pass almost unhindered through vast amounts of
matter-including the Earth-and so can escape from dense regions of the cosmos
where light cannot penetrate. They also are undeflected by the magnetic
fields that criss-cross the universe, and so can point straight back at
their origin. Dr. Bahcall's work has included studies of solar models, neutrino
oscillations, nuclear fusion reactions, and, most particularly, neutrinos
from the sun. Not only is he a member of the National Academy of Sciences
and the Academia Europea, in 1993 he won the NASA Distinguished Public Service
Medal for his observational studies using the Hubble Space Telescope. In
1998, he was awarded the nation's highest science honor, the National Medal
of Science, for his pioneering efforts in neutrino astrophysics and his
contributions to the development and planning of the Hubble Space Telescope.
Dr. Bahcall's brilliance and his dedication to his work distinguishes him
as one of the truly great scientific minds of our time.
For more about Dr. Bahcall, click
Dr. Mary Douglas, retired professor of social anthropology, London University;
Honorary Fellow, University College London; and Professor Emerita of Humanities,
Northwestern University, is an intellectual path-breaker. She forged a synthesis
of Western philosophical ideas, social scientific theories, and the thoughts
of the Lele people of Central Africa, and has enabled us to have new ways
of observing and understanding the implicit meanings in everyday life. In
her work, Dr. Douglas has explored the cognitive processes in cultures and
societies seeking to unravel the principles by which people order their
world. Classification, a central concept in her work, has become key for
the understanding of the symbolization process in modern and ancient societies.
Her first major book, Purity and Danger (1966), developed an important insight
about the relationship between schemes of cultural categories and ideas
about practices regarding pollution and purity. It received instant and
wide spread recognition in the field, and has since become a classic. Dr.
Douglas' interests have been broad and her impact outside the discipline
of anthropology has been considerable. Her work has had influence in the
fields of economics, psychology, politics, risk analysis, and biblical criticism.
Dr. Douglas is certainly one of the most outstanding scholars of her generation
and a person who has contributed to her field in seminal ways.
For more about Dr. Douglas, click
Ronald Dworkin is Quain Professor of Jurisprudence at University College
London and Sommer Professor of Law and Philosophy at New York University.
He is considered one of the most perceptive legal philosophers of his generation
and is substantially responsible for the connections that exist between
legal theory and moral and political philosophy, which scholars believe
have expanded the reach of both disciplines and affected the methods of
judicial interpretation. He has produced numerous brilliant and highly influential
books and articles on a variety of subjects related to legal philosophy.
His books, Taking Rights Seriously, Law's Empire, Life's Dominion, Freedom's
Law, and A Matter of Principle, contain a wealth of ideas and arguments
that have generated a tremendous amount of responsive literature. He has
served as the co-chairman of the Democratic Party Abroad and he is a member
of the Council of Writer's and Scholar's Educational Trust, the Index on
Censorship, and the Programme Committee of the Ditchley Foundation. He has
served as a consultant on human rights to the Ford Foundation. Ronald Dworkin
is widely regarded as one of the most eminent scholars in the field of legal
and political philosophy and he is a highly respected public intellectual
in both the United States and England.
For more about Professor Dworkin, click
Seamus Heaney, the 1995 Nobel Prize winner in Literature is the Ralph
Waldo Emerson Poet in Residence at Harvard and former professor of poetry
For Seamus Heaney's background see Almanac, March 28 on-line at
For more about Dr. Bahcall, Dr. Douglas, Professor Dworkin, Mr. Marsalis
and Mr. Rendell, click
Wynton Marsalis is lauded as the most accomplished and acclaimed jazz
artist and composer of his generation. Through the force of his intellect,
creativity, and charisma, he has succeeded in bringing jazz to the forefront
of American culture. In 1997, he became the first jazz musician to win the
prestigious Pulitzer Prize in music, which he won for Blood on the Fields,
his epic oratorio on the subject of slavery. Mr. Marsalis also is widely
respected for his work as a classical musician. As an exclusive classical
artist for Sony Classical, he won critical acclaim for the recording In
Gabriel's Garden, which featured Baroque music for trumpet and orchestra.
Mr. Marsalis' other Sony Classical recordings include concert, chamber,
and solo music for trumpet from the Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and twentieth-century
repertoires. His achievements as a musician and composer of both jazz and
classical music have won him nine Grammy Awards. In conjunction with several
important commissioned debuts and an international tour, Mr. Marsalis released
an unprecedented eight albums on Columbia Jazz and Sony Classical. His most
recent release, The Midnight Blues, debuted at the top of Billboard Magazine's
Jazz Chart, and remained in the Top Ten for 25 weeks.
Mr. Marsalis has not limited himself to composing and playing music.
He is internationally respected as a teacher and spokesman for music education.
He has received honorary doctorates from no less than eleven universities
and colleges. Mr. Marsalis serves as Artistic Director for the internationally-acclaimed
Jazz at Lincoln Center program, which he co-founded in 1987. His achievements
in the field of music have brought him not only fame, but worldwide respect
for his talents. He is one of the great figures in twentieth-century music.
For more about Mr. Marsalis, click
Edward G. Rendell
In January 1992, Edward G. Rendell was elected the 121st Mayor of the
City of Philadelphia. During his tenure he restored fiscal stability to
a municipal government that was near bankruptcy, and brought new meaning
to the term "Reinventing Government." When Mayor Rendell was sworn
into office, the City of Philadelphia faced an annual structural budget
deficit of more than $200 million and a projected cumulative budget deficit
of $1.4 billion by the end of his first term. In his first year in office,
Mayor Rendell implemented the city's first balanced budget in seven years,
and was able to design a five-year Financial Plan for the City of Philadelphia
that wiped out the projected deficit.
The cornerstone of the Rendell Administration was the unprecedented "public-private
partnership" that developed between the city government and the local
business community. This partnership included the creation of the Mayor's
Private Sector Task Force, composed of more than 300 volunteer loaned executives,
which engaged in a comprehensive management overview of the operations of
the City of Philadelphia government. This task force generated over 400
recommendations for changes, virtually all of which have been implemented.
Mayor Rendell's revenue-generating initiatives increased the City of
Philadelphia's revenue collection by approximately $70 million a year without
an increase in taxes. Key management and productivity initiatives included
renegotiations of all city leases, consolidation of the city's fleet operations
into a centralized Office of Fleet Management, and competitive bidding of
the city's insurance contracts. In addition to his tremendous achievements
as the Mayor of the City of Philadelphia, Ed Rendell has found time to devote
to many charitable and nonprofit endeavors, including the Community Home
Health Service of Philadelphia, The White-Williams Foundation, Soviet Jewry
Council, Jewish Community Relations Council, Jewish National Fund, and "Philly
Kids Play It Safe."
Ed Rendell's commitment, dedication, civic responsibility, and his numerous
achievements have distinguished him throughout his career. His accomplishments
have brought praise and admiration from others. In the fall of 1999, President
Clinton recommended that Ed Rendell serve as the General Chairman of the
Democratic National Committee. The recommendation was confirmed by the full
Democratic National Committee, noting that Rendell has the necessary ability
to build consensus and work with those of differing views, while still keeping
a positive outlook.
For more about Mr. Rendell, click
Commencement Hotline & Website
The Office of the Secretary has a website and hotline that provides 24-hour
information (geared toward degree candidates and their guests) about Commencement,
Baccalaureate, and the school graduations. The website is www.upenn.edu/commencement
and the hotline is (215) 573-GRAD. In addition, informational brochures
for degree candidates can be obtained through their schools. Brochures for
parents and guests are available through the Office of the Secretary. Faculty
and staff also should direct their Commencement questions to that office
at (215) 898-7005.
For more about Dr. Bahcall, Dr. Douglas,
Professor Dworkin, Mr. Marsalis and Mr. Rendell, click
Almanac, Vol. 46, No. 27, April 4, 2000
PAGE | CONTENTS
2000: Honorary Degree Recipients | TALK
ABOUT TEACHING ARCHIVE | BETWEEN
ISSUES | APRIL at PENN |