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Sketches of the Honorary Degree Recipients

Joan Ganz Cooney | Eric Hobsbawm | Irwin Jacobs | Jim Lehrer | Richard E. Smalley

Joan Ganz Cooney

Joan Ganz Cooney is a visionary television producer and media executive who pioneered educational uses of television for children. In 1968, believing that it would be possible to use television to communicate basic skills, model social behavior, and encourage a love of learning among inner-city preschoolers, Mrs. Cooney co-founded the Children's Television Workshop (now Sesame Workshop) and launched the first episode of Sesame Street in 1969.

Since that time, "Sesame Street" has been continuously broadcast in the U.S. on more than 300 PBS stations and in 140 countries around the world, including more than 18 foreign-language co-productions. Sesame Workshop programs, including Sesame Street, The Electric Company, 3-2-1 Contact, Square One TV, Ghostwriter, CRO, Big Bag, and Dragon Tales, have won more than 79 Emmys.

Mrs. Cooney received a B.A. from the University of Arizona and began her career as a reporter for a Phoenix newspaper before moving to New York to work as a television publicist. She produced several award-winning public affairs documentaries for New York's public station WNET/Thirteen before conducting the Carnegie Corporation-commissioned study about children and television that led to the founding of the Children's Television Workshop.

Mrs. Cooney is active as a trustee to not-for-profit institutions and on the board of directors of Fortune 500 companies. She has been named to several presidential commissions and has received numerous honorary degrees. Among her awards are a Daytime Emmy for Lifetime Achievement, induction into the Television Academy Hall of Fame, a Founders Award from the International Council of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and the Annenberg Public Policy Center's award for Distinguished Contribution to Children and Television. Mrs. Cooney was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1995, the nation's highest civilian honor, and was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in 1998.

Eric Hobsbawm

Eric Hobsbawm is generally considered to be the most influential historian alive today. His work includes a magisterial four-volume series on the modern world beginning with The Age of Revolution, 1789-1848 and continuing through The Age of Capital, 1848-1875; The Age of Empire, 1875-1914; and The Age of Extremes, 1914-1991. Smaller studies have included innovative and acclaimed works on labor movements, working class culture, jazz, Italian social movements, bandits, nationalism, "invented traditions," and left politics.

Credited with profound erudition and cosmopolitanism, piercing insight, and a limpid, elegant prose, Professor Hobsbawm's works have been translated into at least 37 languages. Making his professional home at Birkbeck College, University of London--as Lecturer, Reader, and eventually Professor of Economic and Social History and subsequently at the New School for Social Research--he has been a visiting scholar at MIT, Cornell, the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, and the Collège de France. He has given seminars and lectured in more than 30 countries and territories on four continents.

Having lived in Berlin at the time of Hitler's rise to power, Professor Hobsbawm served in the British Army from 1940 to 1946. Following his military service he returned to King's College, Cambridge--where he had earned a bachelor's degree in 1939--to receive his Ph.D. in 1951. Among his professional distinctions, Professor Hobsbawm is President of the Society for the Study of Labour History, co-founder and Vice-President of the influential journal Past & Present, member of the Comité Scientifique auprès du Ministère de l'Education Nationale, and member of the European Council of History Museums.

Professor Hobsbawm was made a Companion of Honour of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland in 1998, awarded the Order of the Southern Cross by the Federative Republic of Brazil in 1996, and made a Chevalier of the Palmes Académiques of the French Republic in 1993. He is a fellow of the British Academy, an honorary fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a foreign member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, and a member of the Accademia delle Scienze di Torino (Italy). He has 16 honorary degrees from universities and colleges in nine countries.

Irwin Jacobs

Irwin Jacobs is an innovative engineer whose triumphs as an entrepreneur and chief executive make him a role model for the successful transition from academia to the world of business. Dr. Jacobs' pioneering work on Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) led to its commercialization and continuing success as the world's fastest-growing, most advanced digital wireless communications technology.

Qualcomm, the company that Dr. Jacobs co-founded in 1985 and which he leads as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, currently holds 400 patents and has more than 900 pending patent applications. More than 95 companies have licensed CDMA for the manufacturing of wireless devices, network equipment, and integrated circuits.Under his leadership, Qualcomm has been selected as a Fortune 500 company, included in the Standard & Poor's 500 Index, and traded on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange.

Dr. Jacobs received a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering from Cornell in 1956 and M.S. and Sc.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from MIT. From 1959 to 1966 he was a professor of electrical engineering at MIT where he co-authored a basic textbook in digital communications, still used today. In 1966 he moved to the University of California, San Diego, as associate professor of computer science and engineering. He left UCSD in 1972 to devote himself full-time to Linkabit, the communications company he co-founded in 1969 with a few part-time employees. He oversaw the company's growth until its 1985 merger with M/A-com, at which time it had 1,400 employees.

Dr. Jacobs is a member of a number of industry and community boards and committees. Among his many awards are a 1992 Entrepreneur of the Year Award from the Institute of American Entrepreneurs, the National Medal of Technology in 1994, the 1998 Medal of Achievement from the American Electronics Association, the 1999 Ernst & Young Leadership Award for Global Integration, the Bower Award in Business Leadership from the Franklin Institute in 2001, and election as fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 2001.

Jim Lehrer

Jim Lehrer is one of the most respected television journalists in the U.S., having moderated nine presidential debates in the last four elections and serving as the sole moderator for all presidential debates in both 1996 and 2000. The MacNeil/Lehrer Report (subsequently renamed The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour and, since Robert MacNeil's departure in 1995-96, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer) has been a fixture on public television stations for more than 25 years and won more than 30 awards for journalistic excellence.

Mr. Lehrer teamed up with Robert MacNeil in 1973 to provide continuous live coverage of the Senate Watergate hearings in a collaboration that won an Emmy for producer National Public Affairs Center for Television (NPACT). Mr. Lehrer continues his partnership with Robert MacNeil in MacNeil/Lehrer Productions, co-producing The NewsHour as well as producing other programs and series for public, commercial and cable television, including a recent Emmy-award nominated documentary about presidential and vice presidential debates. Mr. Lehrer is also the author of 12 novels, two memoirs, and three plays.

Mr. Lehrer received an A.A. degree from Victoria College and a B.J. from the University of Missouri in 1956, before joining the Marine Corps. He began his journalistic career as a reporter, becoming the city editor of the Dallas Times-Herald in 1968. He made the transition to television at Dallas' KERA-TV, serving as executive director of public affairs, as well as on-air host and editor of a nightly news program. He subsequently moved to Washington, D.C., to serve as the public affairs coordinator for PBS, member of PBS Journalism Advisory Board, and fellow at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Mr. Lehrer has received numerous awards for journalism including the 1999 National Humanities Medal. Also in 1999, Mr. Lehrer was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame with Robert MacNeil and into the Silver Circle of the Washington, D.C., Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He has won two Emmys, the Fred Friendly First Amendment Award, the George Fost Peabody Broadcast Award, the William Allen White Foundation Award for Journalistic Merit, and the University of Missouri School of Journalism's Medal of Honor. In 1991, he was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Richard E. Smalley

Richard Smalley's research in chemical physics has led to the discovery of a third elemental form of carbon, adding "fullerenes" to graphite and diamonds. He has built on his discovery and characterization of C60 (Buckminsterfullerene), a soccerball-shaped molecule, by generating fullerenes with metals trapped on the inside and by producing tubular single-fullerene molecules--"buckytubes"--in the form of a fiber 100 times stronger than steel at one-sixth the weight.

Buckytubes have extraordinary potential for all technologies involving the flow of electrons. Assembled in close-packed crystalline arrays, these tubes will serve as "seed crystals" for the direct, continuous growth of super-strong, lightweight membranes, plates, tubes, and other structures made entirely out of carbon. In addition to these epochal discoveries, Dr. Smalley has pioneered new experimental techniques--such as super-cold pulsed beams; ultrasensitive laser detection; laser-driven source of free radicals, triplets, metals; and metal and semiconductor cluster beams--and applied them to a broad range of vital questions.

Dr. Smalley received his B.S. from the University of Michigan in 1965 and, after an intervening four-year period working with the Shell Chemical Company, his Ph.D. from Princeton in 1973. During postdoctoral work with Lennard Wharton and Donald Levy at the University of Chicago, he pioneered supersonic beam laser spectroscopy, which has become one of the most powerful techniques in chemical physics. He moved to Rice University in 1976, co-founded the Rice Quantum Institute in 1979, was named to the Gene and Norman Hackerman Chair in Chemistry in 1982, and was appointed director of the new Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology at Rice in 1996.

Dr. Smalley has received the 1992 International Prize for New Materials (jointly with R. F. Curl and H. W. Kroto), the 1992 E. O. Lawrence Award of the U.S. Department of Energy, the 1993 William H. Nichols Medal of the American Chemical Society, the 1994 Europhysics Prize, the 1996 Franklin Medal, and the 1996 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Dr. Smalley is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Joan Ganz Cooney | Eric Hobsbawm | Irwin Jacobs | Jim Lehrer | Richard E. Smalley

Almanac, Vol. 48, No. 27, March 26, 2002


March 26, 2002
Volume 48 Number 27

Five innovators and luminaries will receive honorary degrees at Commencement.
Total undergraduate charges for tuition, fees, room and board will increase 4.6 percent for the coming year.
The Senate Committee on the Faculty reports on the Gender Equity Report published December 4, 2001.

INS Restrictions on automatic visa revalidation could affect international scholars at Penn.

This year's Antiques Show will benefit Penn's Institute for Environmental Medicine.