Yale conferred the following nine honorary degrees at the University’s 311th Commencement ceremony Monday morning, according to the program for the event.
Doctor of Medical Sciences: Aaron Temkin Beck MED ’46
A psychiatrist and professor emeritus at the University of Pennsylvania, Beck pioneered the use of cognitive therapy (also known as cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT) to treat mental health disorders. Beck began using CBT, which involves trying to redirect patients’ thoughts in order to change their behavior, in the 1960s as an alternative to Freudian approaches to treating disorders such as depression and schizophrenia. He and his daughter co-founded the Beck Institute for Cognitive Behavior Therapy in 1994.
Doctor of Humanities: Robert Darnton
Darnton is a professor and University Librarian at Harvard who is known for his scholarship on the history of the book. A cultural historian with a specialty in 18th-century France and the Enlightenment, Darnton has also promoted the digitization of books and helped found the Gutenberg-e program, which makes scholarly works available online. He received a National Humanities Medal in 2011.
Doctor of Humane Letters: Robert M. Gates
Gates has a long career as a civil servant and also holds a doctorate in Soviet and Russian history. He served as U.S. Secretary of Defense from 2006 to 2011, during both the Bush and Obama administrations, and is the only U.S. defense secretary asked to remain in office by a new president. Before that, he rose through the ranks of the CIA, going from an entry-level analyst position to eventually become director of the agency. After retiring from the CIA in 1993, Gates worked as a visiting faculty member and lecturer and became the president of Texas A&M University in 2002. He has previously been awarded the National Security Medal, the Presidential Citizens Medal, the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Doctor of Science: Jane Lubchenco
An environmental scientist and marine ecologist, Lubchenco has served as undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and as administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) since 2009, making her the first woman to hold this post. Lubchenco is an expert on oceans and climate change and has also served as president of scientific associations such as the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Before heading the NOAA she co-founded three organizations that communicate scientific information to the public.
Doctor of Laws: Margaret Hilary Marshall LAW ’76
Marshall was formerly chief justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts — making her the only woman to hold this position in the court’s 300 years — and is known for her landmark decision in 2003 that legalized same-sex marriage in Massachusetts. She is also former vice president and general counsel for Harvard and a former Yale Corporation fellow. In 2011, she chaired the Advisory Committee on Campus Climate at Yale, which examined the University’s sexual climate and its methods for handling sexual misconduct as it faced a Title IX complaint.
Doctor of Music: Midori
Midori is a celebrated violinist who has engaged with the communities around her to promote music education. In 1992, she founded Midori & Friends, a nonprofit organization that provides musical instruction to 15,000 students a year in New York City, and she has worked with young violinists in master classes across the globe. She was named a Messenger of Peace by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in 2007.
Doctor of Divinity: Angelika Neuwirth
Neuwirth is one of the world’s foremost scholars of the Qur’an and chairs the Arabic Studies department at the Free University in Berlin. She is known for her method of studying the Qur’an using the same methodologies of literary criticism and genre analysis scholars used on the Bible. She also leads the Corpus Coranicum project, an effort begun in 2007 to document some of the Qur’an’s earliest manuscripts and make them available digitally for study.
Doctor of Letters: Richard Wilbur
Wilbur was the second United States poet laureate and is currently a lecturer at Amherst College. He has published several books of poetry, two of which won Pulitzer Prizes, and is also a literary translator. He was awarded Yale’s Bollingen Prize for Poetry twice, in 1963 and in 1971.
Doctor of Social Science: William Julius Wilson
A professor of sociology at Harvard, Wilson is known for his work on poverty, race and inequality. He has written extensively about race relations and class distinctions in America, and he developed an approach to urban sociology that involves field research and both quantitative and qualitative analysis. Before today’s award, Wilson has already received more than 40 honorary degrees.