May 23rd, 2011 | Uncategorized

Didion and Scorsese on official list of honorary degree recipients

According to the program for today’s events, the University will confer the following honorary degrees at this morning’s 310th Commencement:

Doctor of Social Science – Chris Argyris

A professor emeritus at the Harvard Business School and one of the world’s leading thinkers about organizational behavior, Argyris played a key role in the creation of the Yale School of Management. An endowed faculty position, currently held by Provost Peter Salovey, has been established at Yale in his name.

Doctor of Humane Letters – Gro Harlem Brundtland

Brundtland is both the youngest and first woman to serve as prime minister of Norway. Known as the “mother of sustainable development,” she has also been the first female Director-General of the World Health Organization — during her tenure, she advanced the eradication of polio and led the response to the global Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak.

Doctor of Letters – Joan Didion

Didion, a prolific writer renowned for her provocative social commentary, is credited to have pioneered the genre of literary journalism. In honor of her distinguished career, she has received a Gold Medal for Belles Lettres from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a National Book Award for her candid memoir on bereavement “The Year of Magical Thinking,” which was a 2006 finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

Doctor of Engineering and Technology – Douglas Engelbart

A trailblazer in the field of computing, Engelbart is credited with the invention of the computer mouse in 1963. Five years later, he was involved in developing a model that served as the precursor of Internet-based computing and the world’s first personal computer. Engelbart’s career has focused on the role of human/machine interaction in the advancement of knowledge.

Doctor of Humanities – John Heilbron

Heilbron is the vice-chancellor emeritus and professor emeritus of history at the University of California, Berkeley. A historian of science, his scholarship combines his academic expertise in physics and in history. Heilbron has covered topics ranging from the life of Galileo to the relationship between science and Catholic theology in the seventeenth century.

Doctor of Laws – George J. Mitchell

A U.S. Senator for Maine from 1980 till 1995, Mitchell has been instrumental in peace efforts around the world, as a negotiator in the Good Friday peace accord in Northern Ireland or as a Middle East envoy for the Obama administration. He was also a major force behind the enactment of the North American Free Trade Agreement and the reauthorization of the Clean Air Act in 1990. Mitchell was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1999.

Doctor of Music – Youssou N’Dour

N’Dour, an African musician, is widely considered to be Senegal’s foremost cultural icon. A singer, songwriter and composer, his African beats with other musical styles including Cuban samba, hip-hop and jazz. His controversial Islamic music album, “Egypt,” won a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary World Music Album in 2005.

Doctor of Medical Sciences – Sir Richard Peto and Janet Davison Rowley

Peto is currently the co-director of the Clinical Trial Service Unit and Epidemiological Studies Unit at the University of Oxford. He helped demonstrate that persistent cancer smoking consitute the most hazardous cause of cancer. He has also argued the importance of quitting smoking at an early age, contributing to the decrease of mortality from smoking in the United Kingdom, the Unites States and elsewhere.

A professor of medicine at the University of Chicago, Rowley’s work with genes has led to more accurate cancer diagnosis, new possible treatments and a greater understanding behind the causes of the disease. Her research revealed that cancer is a genetic disease. Rowley is also a proponent of stem-cell research, and she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009.

Doctor of Fine Arts – Martin Scorsese

With an acclaimed career that has spanned four decades, Academy Award-winning film director Martin Scorsese has directed over forty motion pictures, including iconic films such as “Taxi Driver” (1976), “Raging Bull” (1980) and “Goodfellas” (1990). Behind the camera, he has been involved in the preservation and support of American and foreign films. Scorsese has been honored with numerous Academy Award nominations for his films, in addition to receiving the American Film Institute Life Achievement Award (1997), the Directors Guild of America Lifetime Achievement Award (2003) and the Cecil B. DeMille Award for Lifetime Achievement (2010).