Honorary Degree Recipients

BONO | For more than 20 years as the creative force and lead singer of the supergroup U2, you have educated minds and elevated hearts through powerful music that packs a wallop of unswerving social conscience for a backbeat … Not content merely to lend your name to a cause, you have invested your time, energy, resources, and passion toward fighting the AIDS epidemic in Africa. DATA (Debt, AIDS, Trade, Africa), the organization you established in 2002, has tenaciously fought to focus the world’s attention toward a continent too often ignored or misunderstood.

ELIZABETH BLACKBURN | Years before the development of advanced DNA cloning and other breakthroughs now taken for granted by the scientific community, you discovered telomerase, an enzyme crucial for cell survival and implicated in both aging and cancer. Many scientists believe that your efforts to understand how telomerase enzymes interact with telomeres—the DNA structures that stabilize the ends of chromosomes—could hold the key to stopping the growth of cancer cells or even slowing the process of aging.

LEE FRIEDLANDER | More than its striking photographic imagery, your art offers the definitive vision of the American social and physical landscape in the latter half of the 20th century ... Your lenses captured the grit of American streets, the isolated aesthetics of its historical monuments and the banality of its workplaces. You have, in the words of photographer and sculptor Edward Coppola, “shown how Americans reveal themselves and their beliefs through their self-made environments.”

JAROSLAV PELIKAN | Through your scholarship, students of theology worldwide have developed a keener understanding of the complex belief systems that formed spiritual and moral behavior. Filling 40 volumes, your written work forms the standard by which all other analysis of Christian history, creeds, and tradition are measured. To many, your five volume composition, “The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine,” defines brilliance in theological pedagogy ... You have enlightened us by providing objective and insightful scholarship into an area of study—Christianity—ripe with complexity.

MAX ROACH | Although your stature as the “Duke Ellington of the drums” is a fitting salutation, your other achievements— as a musicologist, composer and educator—deserve equal billing … After teaming with Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker to pioneer the bebop era, you later joined with Miles Davis to conceive what came to be known as the “birth of cool.” … You wielded your influence as an artist by putting your name, voice, and soul on the front line of the American civil-rights movement in the 1960s. Conversely, you translated human-rights activism into the realm of art with the composition of “Survivors,” a collaborative tribute with choreographer Alvin Ailey to Nelson and Winnie Mandela … Refusing to rest on your laurels, you continue to identify and mentor young musicians.

JUDITH RODIN CW’66 | Most universities are lucky to have a pioneering scholar and visionary leader of your caliber pass their way once every 250 years. Penn was blessed to get you twice. In 1994, you returned to your alma mater to become the first woman president of an Ivy League university. You immediately energized the Penn community to implement a bold agenda of growth and change … If our founder Benjamin Franklin is the first citizen of Penn, you are a close second—and only by virtue of Franklin’s seniority.

2004 The Pennsylvania Gazette
Last modified 07/01/04


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