College awards honorary degrees to seven at ceremony

by Karen Rose | 6/9/96 5:00am

David Halberstam is not the only one who will be given an honorary degree at today's ceremony.

Seven other people, from a teacher and a coach to three scientists, will receive the same distinction.

Honorary doctor of letters degrees will be conferred to Halberstam, as well as sociologist and author Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright David Mamet and educator Deborah Meier.

Former Dartmouth football coach Bob Blackman will be awarded the honorary doctor of laws degree. Nobel Prize winner Sidney Altman and conservationist George Woodwell '50 will both receive honorary doctor of science degrees.

Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot

Lawrence-Lightfoot, a sociologist at Harvard, will be presented a doctor of letters degree.

Lawrence-Lightfoot is the recepient of numerous awards for her writing.

She was awarded the American Educational Research Association's 1984 Outstanding Book Award for The Good High School: Portraits of Character (1983). Her book Balm in Gilead: Journey of a Healer (1988) received the Christopher Award for its "literary merit and humanitarian achievement."

Lawrence-Lightfoot was awarded a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship in 1984 and Harvard's George Ledlie Prize in 1993 to recognize her research for making "the most valuable contribution to science and the benefit of mankind."

She has received over a dozen honorary degrees by colleges and universities throughout the nation and the Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot Chair at Swarthmore College bears her name.

Lawrence-Lightfoot is also the author of Worlds Apart: Relationships Between Families and Schools (1978), Beyond Bias: Perspectives on Classrooms (1979, with Jean Carew) and I've Known Rivers: Lives of Loss and Liberation (1994).

David Mamet

Mamet will be awarded a doctor of laws degree in honor of his career as an essayist, playwright and director.

His writing covers a broad spectrum ranging from plays, to children's books to essays. He is also the author of a screenplay adaptation which was nominated for an Academy Award.

Mamet was honored with the Outer Critics Circle Award in 1978 in recognition for his contribution to American Theater.

His 20 plays include American Buffalo, the Water Engine, Speed the plow, Glengarry Glen Ross, and his most recent, Death Defying Acts.

He received both the Circle Award and a Pulitzer Prize in Drama for Glengarry Glen Ross.

Mamet's name is also included in the credits of the following classic movies: The Postman Always Rings Twice, The Verdict, The Untouchables and Hoffa.

His directing career includes films such as House of Games, Things Change, Homicide and Oleanna.

Sidney Altman

Molecular biologist Altman will receive one of this year's two doctor of science honorary degrees.

His research on the structure and function of genetic material won him the Nobel Peace Prize in chemistry in 1989, which he shares with Thomas R. Cech from the University of Colorado for their discovery that RNA is not a passive carrier of genetic information, but is actively involved in chemical reactions.

Altman has had a very distinguished career as a molecular biologist which included a Damon Runyan Cancer Research Fellowship at Harvard and visiting research fellowship in the laboratory of Nobel Prize-winner Francis H.C. Crick, who with James Watson discovered the double helical structure of DNA.

After working with Crick at Cambridge University, Altman joined the faculty of Yale University in 1981. His positions at Yale included chairman of the biology department from 1983-85 and dean of the college from 1985-89.

Altman's distinguished career brought him to Dartmouth in 1992 as a Montgomery Fellow.

Deborah Meier

Meier will receive an honorary degree for her work in founding innovative public schools across the nation.

She has worked primarily with disadvantaged and inner-city children in creating what she describes as "terrifically exciting" schools which emphasize more intimate classes and facilities as well as a more diverse curriculum and strong involvement of parents in their children's education.

Meier has established her three elementary schools and one high school in New York City, a prime location for her work with inner-city children.

She was awarded a Mac Arthur Fellowship in 1987 for her work as an educator.

Her work, in collaboration with Theodore Sizer, director of the Brown University Annenberg Institute for School Reform, culminated in a $500 million pledge for the reform of New York City public schools from philanthropist Walter Annesberg in 1993.

Robert Blackman

Blackman, a football coach in the hall of fame, will be awarded the doctor of laws degree at this year's Commencement.

Blackman led Big Green Football through an amazing 104 wins over a six year period starting in 1955.

Under his leadership, Big Green Football was undefeated in 1962, 1965 and 1970. The teams of the two latter years were awarded the Lambert Trophy, recognizing them as the best major college team in the east.

In 1970, Big Green Football was considered by many to be at its all time best, and never again was an Ivy League team to match its top-15 national ranking.

Blackman's coaching career is marked by numerous honors and distinctions, including the Football Writer's "citation of honor" in 1984 recognizing his contributions to college athletics and football.

In 1987 he was elected to the National Football Foundation College Hall of Fame. He was also selected as the recipient of American Football Coaches Association's Amos Alonzo Stagg Award in 1991.

Blackman's career in coaching began at the high school and junior college level. He moved on to the University of Denver before coming to Dartmouth.

George M. Woodwell '50

Woodwell will be awarded the doctor of science degree in recognition of his work as a conservationist.

His career is marked with such milestones. Woodwell is the founder and President of Woods Hole Research Center in Woods Hole Massachusetts, and a founding trustee of the environmental defense fund, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the World Resources Institute.

Woodwell was also the former chairman of the World Wildlife Fund. His early career also includes a position as senior ecologist at the Brookhaven National Laboratory and faculty appointments at the University of Maine and Yale University.

His research focuses on such topics as the impact of radiation on plant life, the effects of DDT pollutants, and his most famous work on the role of tropical rain forests in the global economy.

Advertise your student group in The Dartmouth for free!