College to say 'hey' to seven honorary degree recipients

by Astrid Bradley | 6/9/07 10:24pm

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Judith Rodin

Judith Rodin, president of the Rockefeller Foundation, will receive a Doctor of Science at the ceremony. The Rockefeller Foundation is a philanthropic organization dedicated to finding the root causes of the world's most serious problems.

Rodin became the first female president of an Ivy League institution when she was appointed president of the University of Pennsylvania in 1994. Rodin is credited with doubling the university's research funding, tripling the size of its endowment and improving the surrounding campus through an award winning neighborhood renewal program during her decade as president of UPenn. A graduate of UPenn, Rodin also received a Ph.D. at Columbia University. After teaching at New York University, she joined the Yale University faculty where she served for 22 years, ultimately being appointed to Provost. Rodin also served on President Bill Clinton's Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology.

Willie Howard Mays, Jr. was ranked the second greatest baseball player of the 20th century by The Sporting News. Dubbed 'The Say Hey Kid," Mays was named Most Valuable Player twice and won the Gold Glove Award 12 times over his 22 seasons in the Major Leages. He was feared for both his bat and his glove -- ranking fourth all-time in home runs with 660 and having recorded 7,095 putouts in the field, which still stands as the record for an outfielder, even thirty year's after his retirement from the game. In the 1954 World Series Mays made one of the most memorable plays in baseball history that is commonly referred to as "the catch."

Mays began his big league career in 1950 with the New York Giants during their second season of racial integration. Mays helped the Giants to secure the National League pennant and garnered the title of Rookie of the Year, 20 home runs and batted in 68 runs.

After retirement, Mays began to serve as part of the Giants' management. He is currently still serving in that capacity, as special assistant to the president and as a spokesperson for Healthspring. Mays will receive a Doctor of Humane Letters at the ceremony.

Receiving the same degree is W. Richard West Jr., director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian. West is also vice chair of the American Association of Museums/International Council of Museums, a citizen of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma and a Peace Chief of the Southern Cheyenne. As director of the National Museum of American Indian, an institution dedicated to the living cultures of Native People of the Western Hemisphere, West has raised more than $100 million in non-federal funds.

The son of American Indian master artist, the late Walter Richard West Sr., West has served as general and special counsel to various tribes and organizations, in line with his personal commitment to working with a variety of legal, educational and cultural issues dealing with Native Americans.

West received a master's degree in American history from Harvard University in 1968 after graduating Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Redlands in California. A graduate of Stanford University Law School, West also served as an editor of the Stanford Law Review.

John A. Rich '80, Chair of Health Management and Policy at the Drexel University School of Public Health and the Director of Drexel's Center for Academic Public Health Practice, will receive a Doctor of Science at the ceremony. Rich is known for his work in addressing the health care needs of black males in urban settings -- one of the nation's most underserved populations -- having established programs such as Young Men's Health Clinic at the Boston Medical Center which he founded in 1993. In 2006, Rich received a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship for his work in such areas.

After graduating from Dartmouth, Rich received his M.D. from Duke University Medical School followed by a Masters in Public Health from the Harvard School of Public Health. In 1997, he was appointed as an associate professor of medicine at the Boston University School of Medicine and became the medical director of the Boston Public Health Commission, the subsequent year.

Conductor Erich Kunzel '57 will be awarded a Doctor of Arts at the ceremony. One of the most recorded "pops" conductors, Kunzel began his career in "classical crossover" music in 1965, after being invited to conduct a pops concert by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Kunzel served as the orchestra's principle conductor until 1977. He made his debut conducting the Santa Fe Opera Company in 1957 and has studied with French conductor Pierre Monteux. Dubbed "Prince of Pops" by the Chicago tribune, he has a catalog of 83 recordings with the Cincinnati Pops and at one point held the title of Billboard Magazine's Classical Crossover Artist of the Year for four consecutive years. Kunzel guest conducts symphonies all around the world, with more than 100 performances each with Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Boston Pops.

In 1994 Kunzel received Dartmouth's Presidential Medal for Outstanding Leadership and Achievement and in 2006 he was a recipient of the U.S. government's highest honor for artists and art patrons: the National Medal of Arts.

Poet Mary Oliver will also receive an honorary degree. She is the author of over 25 books and a recipient of several awards and honors including the 1984 Pulitzer Prize and the 1992 National Book Award. Oliver's most recent publications include "Thirst" a book of poetry and "Long Life: Essays and Other Writings," a collection of prose. In April 2006 Beacon Press released "At Blackwater Pond," a CD of her reading her work. Oliver has two additional books scheduled for release by Beacon.

She attended Ohio State University and then the all-female Vassar College. She has taught at a number of universities, including Case Western Reserve, Bucknell, Sweet Briar College, the University of Cincinnati and Bennington College. Oliver will receive a Doctor of Letters.

Henry Paulson, Jr. '68, who will deliver the commencement speech to graduates will be awarded a Doctor of Laws at the ceremony. Paulson currently serves as the 74th secretary of the Treasury.

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