May 25th, 2009 | Uncategorized

2009 honorary degree recipients: the official list

Old Campus on Monday morning

After some evening thunderstorms on Sunday, we’re left with overcast skies here in New Haven for the University’s 308th Commencement.  (Phew.)  Curious about who’s going to be receiving an honorary degree today?  Check out the list after the jump.  Hate to say we told you so.

Doctor of Laws: Hillary Rodham Clinton LAW ’73

U.S. Secretary of State and former United States Senator from New York, Clinton has held the country’s leading diplomatic position since January. As senator she served on five senatorial committees, including the Armed Services Committee and the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. In 2009, she was named Newsweek’s 13th most powerful person on the planet and the most powerful woman on the planet in its “Global Elite.”

Doctor of Humane Letters: William Drayton LAW ’70

Drayton is the founder, chair and CEO of Ashoka: Innovators for the Public, which has fostered entrepreneurial programs around the world since 1980 in fields such as social awareness, health and human rights, environmentalism and economic development. At present, he also chairs three organization based in the U.S.: Youth Venture, Community Greens and Get America Working! In 2005, he was named one of U.S News and World Report’s 25 Best Leaders.

Doctor of Humane Letters: Alison Richard

The former Provost of Yale University, Richard is currently the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge in England, the university’s chief academic and administrative officer, a position she has held since 2003. Richard first joined the Yale faculty in 1972 to conduct research in the field of physical anthropology and in 1994, after serving as the chair of the Department of Anthropology and Director of the Peabody Museum of Natural History, became the University Provost. At Yale, the Alison Richard Professor Ecology and Evolutionary Biology chair has been endowed in her honor.

Doctor of Music: Sofia Gubaidulina

A highly acclaimed composer, Gubaidulina is the daughter of a Russian Orthodox mother and Muslim father. After studying piano and composition at the Kazan Conservatory of Music, she attended the Moscow Conservatory where she received criticism for the avant-garde qualities of her work. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, her work acquired the recognition it merited. Among the awards she has won are the Russian State Prize (1992), the Praemium Imperiale (1998) and the Polar Music Prize (2002) from the Royal Swedish Academy of Music.

Doctor of Divinity: Gustavo Gutierrez

Regarded as the founder of liberation theology, Gutierrez is a Roman Catholic priest and theologian. Born in Peru, he earned a degree of medicine in 1950 from the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos in Lima and was ordained in 1959. In 1971, He wrote A Theology of Liberation, which is considered the foundational text of liberation theology. (Liberation theology is, within Christianity, a school of theology that emphasizes the need for justice for the poor and oppressed, particularly through political activism.)

Doctor of Medical Sciences: Leroy Hood

A molecular biologist, Hood is recognized around the world as the originator of the systems biology approach to biomedicine. At present, he is one of just seven scientists who are elected to all three national academies: the Institute of the National Academies, the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering. The foci of his research have been genomics, molecular immunology and biotechnology. Among his numerous honors and achievements, Hood was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2007, has received 14 patents and co-founded 11 companies including Amgen, Darwin and MacroGenics.

Doctor of Fine Arts: Bill T. Jones

An eminent choreographer and dancer, Jones has been choreographing and performing innovative modern dance since 1973. His work explores themes such as mortality, sexuality and racism through movement and emphasizes the diversity of bodies and personalities by utilizing dancers of differing backgrounds and body types. Among his more famous works is Last Supper at Uncle Tom’s Cabin / The Promised Land, which he created in 1990 and tells the slave story of Harriet Beecher Stowe while addressing modern questions about faith and religion. He has won numerous awards for his work including the Harlem Renaissance Award (2005) and the Samuel H. Scripps American Dance Festival Award (2005).

Doctor of Fine Arts: Richard Serra GRD ’64

One of the world’s most preeminent sculptors, Serra’s approach to the art form has revolutionized the way sculpture is experienced. His early works were born of the Minimalist movement and were distinguished by their geometric repetition, industrial materials and neutral surfaces.  However, later in his career his reinterpreted his works’ minimalist attributes and directed his focus towards the process of making art. At Yale, he completed his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in fine arts and spent a year in Paris on a Yale traveling fellowship. Museums that have collected Serra’s work include the Guggenheim Museums in New York and Bilbao, Spain, London’s Tate Gallery and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Doctor of Letters: John McPhee

The Pulitzer Prize winning writer and author of 27 books, McPhee is regarded as a pioneer in the field of narrative nonfiction. Currently, he is a staff writer for The New Yorker, a publication for which he began writing in 1965. Since then, he has contributed over 80 pieces to the magazine. A self-described “working journalist,” he aims to make his work informative and accessible to casual readers and scholars alike. In addition to the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction, which he won in 1999, McPhee has garnered many honors including the Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1977) and the Gold Medal from the Academy of Natural Sciences (2005).

Doctor of Social Science: Thomas Schelling

A Nobel Prize winner in economics for his work on the application of game theory, Schelling has taught at Harvard, Yale and the University of Maryland. In the early days of his career, after receiving his Ph.D. in economics in 1951, he worked for several years in Europe on the Marshall Plan, which was a U.S. initiative to help rebuild Europe after World War II. Then, as a faculty member at Harvard, he published The Strategy of Conflict which was followed by Strategy and Arms Control in 1960 and 1961, works which established him as a leading voice in debate concerning arms control. In 2005 he received the Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel.