May 17th, 2009 | Sci-Tech

Rain can’t cloud homecoming for Urry

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SOMERVILLE, Mass. — Not even a morning of rain could ruin the homecoming here at Tufts University on Sunday for one of Yale’s most pioneering female scientists.

At Tufts’ Commencement ceremony this morning, Meg Urry, the director of the Yale Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics and chair of the Physics Department, received an honorary doctor of science degree for her research in astrophysics and her support of women’s and minorities’ pursuits of careers in science.

Upon conferring the degree, Tufts President Lawrence Bacow noted Urry’s groundbreaking studies of active galaxies, her work with NASA and her status as the first tenured female professor in Yale’s Physics Department.

“You … have become a model for those who seek to broaden access to scientific careers,” Urry’s degree citation stated. “You have championed diversity and professional inclusion in this country and internationally, teaching us how we are all diminished by discrimination we scarcely see.”

Urry, who was mentioned in the fall as a possible candidate to be dean of Yale College, earned a bachelor of science in physics and mathematics from Tufts in 1977.

Seven honorary degrees were awarded in total, including a law degree to the commencement speaker, Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts.

Yale’s Commencement ceremony is a week from tomorrow.  No word on who will be honored with honorary degrees this year (or whether another of President Levin’s favorite musical artists will make an appearance).

(Photo: Tiffany Petrosino/Contributing Photographer)