James Baker to Speak at Penn Commencement; Honorees Also Include Aretha Franklin, Ruth Bader Ginsburg

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Media Contact:Jill DiSanto-Haines | jdisanto@pobox.upenn.edu | 215-898-4820March 13, 2007

PHILADELPHIA - James A. Baker III, a co-chair of the Iraq Study Group who has served as secretary of state and secretary of the treasury, will deliver the address at the University of Pennsylvania's 251st Commencement on Monday, May 14.

As secretary of state under the first President Bush, Baker traveled to more than 90 countries for post-Cold War era diplomatic efforts and formed a coalition of 34 countries opposed to Iraq's intervention in Kuwait.

He began his governmental career as under secretary of commerce in President Ford's administration and headed the treasury department under President Reagan.  Baker was White House chief of staff under Reagan and the elder Bush.

"James Baker has participated in some of the most discussed events in recent history," said Penn President Amy Gutmann.  "A noted expert in foreign affairs, he has served three presidential administrations in senior-level positions, and has been characterized as one of the most successful of post-World War II secretaries of state.  He is an excellent choice to address our graduates as they begin their journey as citizens and leaders of an increasingly complex and interconnected global society."

Baker graduated from Princeton University in 1952 and served as an officer in the Marine Corps.  He graduated from the University of Texas School of Law, with honors, in 1957.  He will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree at the Penn Commencement.

Other honorary degree recipients will be:

* Aaron Temkin Beck - A University of Pennsylvania emeritus professor of psychiatry and researcher, Beck is best known for his early work in the 1960s surrounding cognitive therapy, for which he received the 2006 Albert Lasker award for Clinical Medical Research.  Beck, who has been instrumental in changing the psychological understanding and treatment of conditions like depression, anxiety and panic disorders, will be awarded an honorary doctor of science degree.

* Caroline W. Bynum -A professor of medieval European history at the Institute for Advanced Study's School of Historical Studies, Bynum is credited with creating a paradigm for the study of medieval women's piety.   She will be awarded an honorary doctor of humane letters degree.

* Mildred Dresselhaus - As a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dresselhaus has been a leader in physics for more than 40 years, conducting ground-breaking research in condensed matter and material physics.  She will be awarded an honorary doctor of science degree.

* Aretha Franklin - The legendary vocalist will be awarded an honorary doctor of music degree.  Widely known as "The Queen of Soul," Franklin is considered one of the top singers of all time and was the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, in 1987.

* Shirley Franklin - Franklin, a 1969 graduate of Penn, is the first woman to serve as mayor of Atlanta, where she is now in her second term.  She's also the first African-American woman to serve as mayor of any major southern city.   She will be awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree.

* Ruth Bader Ginsburg - As a Supreme Court justice, Ginsburg has played an instrumental role in advancing women's rights. Among her most notable opinions is United States v. Virginia (1996), in which the Virginia Military Institute was ruled to have violated the equal protection clause by limiting admission to males only.  She will be awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree.

Additional information about the 251st Commencement ceremony is available at 215-573-4723 or www.upenn.edu/commencement.

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