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COMMENCEMENT

And the Honorands Are …

 

Joan Ganz Cooney
As a successful public-television producer, you did more than document the world. You transformed it … With Sesame Street broadcast nationally and globally, there is hardly a child in the world who does not delight in the consistent cheerfulness of Big Bird, the benign grumpiness of Oscar the Grouch, the babyish glee of Elmo, or the musical enthusiasm of Rosita … Thanks to the beloved characters you helped create, generations of American children have learned to respect and treasure difference, because it’s not always easy being green …

Your programs, including The Electric Company, 3-2-1 Contact, Square One TV, Ghostwriter, CRO, Big Bag, and Dragon Tales, have achieved 79 Emmy Awards, and have received scores of other honors across the globe.

Eric Hobsbawm
You have set new standards for the practice of academic history and for the public engagement of the intellectual … Professor Emeritus of Birkbeck College at the University of London, you have also taught and lectured in 30 countries on four continents, and you continue to enthrall students of all ages, nationalities, and political affiliations even in your retirement … Co-founder and now vice-president of the influential journal Past & Present, and active member of many professional academic associations, you have invigorated and enhanced the study, teaching, and
writing of history.

As Britain’s “Lion of the Left,” you served in the 1980s as the “unofficial philosopher and intellectual conscience of the Labour Party,” laying the groundwork for New Labour and forever altering the course of British politics … With your elegant, readable prose you have reached broad popular audiences, sharing the fruits of critical historical interpretation with a huge audience.

Irwin Mark Jacobs
We are in the Information Age, and you are a leader in the telecommunications revolution, which is redefining the size of the planet, and the ease of sharing information. You pioneered the development of Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) and built upon it until it became the most advanced digital wireless communications technology in the industry …

Beginning your teaching career at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, you co-authored a textbook in 1965 on digital communications, Principles of Communication Engineering, that has attained the status of classic and is still used in classrooms throughout the country … In 1985, you founded QUALCOMM, the company that you have led to a place in the Fortune 500, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, and the Nasdaq Stock Market … Amidst all the recognition, you have never wavered in your commitment to education, giving generously of both your time and your financial support.

Jim Lehrer
Since October 1975 you have been a leading voice of informed, critical awareness of world affairs for American television viewers. You embody the values of American civic engagement—the public-minded exercise of political debate among citizens.

As anchor of The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, you offer a measured, intellectual alternative to “infotainment.” You treat television viewers with respect by imbuing your reporting with insight and substance …

As moderator in election debates in each of the past four presidential campaigns, you have left an indelible mark of intelligence and integrity on the democratic process in the United States … You championed accountable government when you provided continuous live coverage of the Senate Watergate hearings for the Public Broadcasting Service in 1973. Your partnership with Robert MacNeil on that occasion not only launched an historic public-television news partnership, but won you an Emmy award as well … You have made profound contributions to American letters as well as broadcasting through your 12 novels, two memoirs, and three plays.

Richard E. Smalley
As a tireless seeker into the deeper nature of the physical world, you have added the fullerene to the list of elemental forms of carbon that, before, included only graphite and diamonds. With the discovery and characterization of the soccerball-shaped Buckminsterfullerene, you have added a poetic and utopian dream to the history of Chemistry.

With homage to this former Penn faculty member’s vision of a liberatory form—the geodesic dome—that unites incredible strength with economy and simplicity, you have generated the strongest fibers ever conceived. The countless potential applications of your manipulations of fullerenes—from drug delivery to electrical circuitry—open whole new worlds of nanotechnological possibilities in the palms of our hands.


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Copyright 2002 The Pennsylvania Gazette Last modified 7/01/02