Honorary Degrees

James A. Baker, III
Serving at the right hand of three American presidents, you built an historic legacy of excellence … As Under Secretary of Commerce, White House Chief of Staff, Secretary of Treasury, and Secretary of State, you shaped foreign and domestic policy … In 1991, you were awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for your work as a “distinguished servant of our Nation, a clear voice for American principles, and a champion of peace and liberty around the world” … You have continued to serve your country and your world as a Special Envoy of the President of the United States on Iraqi debt relief.

Aaron Temkin Beck
You have been recognized as possibly the most influential and revolutionary figure in psychiatry since Freud and Jung ... At Penn’s School of Medicine, you developed an innovative but radical theoretical-clinical method, which you named cognitive therapy; [it] has become one of the most popular and effective treatments of depression, anxiety and personality disorders, and drug abuse … Your book Prisoners of Hate has been used to ameliorate conflicts in Northern Ireland, Lebanon, and among members of the European Union … Your numerous honors include the 2006 Albert Lasker Award for Clinical Medical Research … You are the only psychiatrist to have received research awards from both the American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association.

Caroline W. Bynum
As America’s preeminent scholar of the European Middle Ages, you have made stunning discoveries that have retraced the boundaries of Western cultural history … You were the first to reveal how early Europeans used female images for the divine. You illuminated medieval Europe’s fascinating belief in the interchangeability between the physical and spiritual worlds … Your long list of awards includes a MacArthur Fellowship and the Jefferson Lectureship in the Humanities, which is the greatest honor the United States government presents to scholars of the humanities.

Mildred Dresselhaus
Your brilliant mind and passion for your field have propelled you to the forefront of the scientific community as one of the world’s premier solid-state physicists … In 1968, you became the first woman to receive tenure in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s School of Engineering … Your early work yielded breakthroughs in superconductivity, semimetals, and thermoelectrics. Today you are expanding the world’s understanding of the electronic, structural, and optical properties of carbon nanotubes … In 1990, President Bush bestowed upon you the National Medal of Science … You have championed—and won—a more prominent role for women in science; in 1970, you co-founded the MIT Women’s Forum and received a Carnegie Foundation grant to encourage women’s study of traditionally male-dominated fields.

Aretha Franklin
Your voice has been called “a force of nature” … As a singer, pianist, and composer you transcended musical and societal boundaries with more than 50 hit recordings … Your spine-tingling rendition of “Respect” became an anthem for the civil-rights and women’s movements of the 1960s and ’70s … Your successes inspired pride in all who struggled for justice and equality … You have received 18 Grammy Awards including a Lifetime Achievement Award and an unprecedented 11 awards for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. You have received the National Medal of Arts and the National Medal of Freedom … VH1 has called you the greatest woman in rock and roll, and you have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the U.K. Music Hall of Fame.

Shirley Franklin G’69
As [Atlanta’s] first female mayor and the first African-American woman to lead any Southern U.S. city, you have returned to Atlanta not only pride, but also trust … In a remarkably brief time, you restored the city’s fiscal integrity, improved schools, and led sweeping ethics reforms. You launched a massive redevelopment plan, battled crime, and supplied healthcare and job training for the homeless. You also have sheltered tens of thousands of families displaced by Hurricane Katrina. These accomplishments placed you among U.S. News and World Report’s Best Leaders of 2005. You received the 2005 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg
As the nation’s pre-eminent jurist of gender law, you have profoundly advanced the legal status of women and the cause of justice throughout our nation … In 1963 you were among the first women to join the law faculty at Rutgers University and later became the first female tenured law professor at Columbia … You co-founded the Women’s Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union and you argued six cases before the Supreme Court … In 1980 President Carter named you to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, where you distinguished yourself as one of the nation’s most brilliant judges. In 1993, President Clinton named you to the Supreme Court, where you have continued your fight against gender discrimination, advocated for applying the logic of foreign courts to American legal issues, and built consensus among your fellow justices.


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