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John Harvard's Journal

Commencement Day, 1996 Medical Dean
Money Maven Hail, Fellow!
New Pathway Extended Seeger of Truth
Heard at Harvard The Undergraduate
Crimson on the Tube Sports
Phillips Brooks House The University

Commencement Day Articles
Duck Story · The Day Itself · Honoris Causa · Let There Be Awe
"Gone Outta Here" · Learning On Line · Commencement Confetti · The Return of the Obstinate

Honoris Causa
Seven men and four women received honorary degrees at Harvard's 345th Commencement. In order of presentation, the honorands were:

Natalie Zemon Davis, A.M. '50, Lea professor of history at Princeton University. Doctor of laws: A social historian whose robust research, inventive writing, and imaginative teaching recapture the élan vital of ordinary mortals in centuries past.

Harold Amos, Ph.D. '52, Presley professor of microbiology and molecular genetics emeritus. Doctor of science: A master of molecular science, unstinting in service to his University and his nation; his wisdom, guidance, and warmth of heart have inspired countless colleagues and students.

Judith Jamison

Judith A. Jamison, artistic director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Doctor of arts: A regal figure in an age-old art form that is ever new: her lively steps are revelations; her dancing spirit lifts our own.

William T. Coleman Jr., J.D. '43, civil-rights lawyer, former U.S. Secretary of Transportation and Harvard Overseer. Doctor of laws: A civic leader of broad scope and rare distinction: a valued voice of reason in the corridors of power; an ardent advocate for equality in the halls of justice.

Charles Slichter '45, Ph.D. '49, Center for Advanced Study professor of physics and chemistry at the University of Illinois and former Senior Fellow of the Harvard Corporation. Doctor of laws: An eminent physicist, revered teacher, and sage counselor who delights in his tasks; to the governance of this University he has brought humane reflection, scientific precision, and familial devotion.

French historian François Furet, Gruner Distinguished Service professor at the University of Chicago. Doctor of laws: Erudite, engaging, prolific, he has transformed our conception of epic moments in human history, and illuminated the development of modern democratic thought.

Maya Lin

Architect and sculptor Maya Lin, Ds '83. Doctor of arts: An artist of resourcefulness and grace: poignant in remembrance of a nation's anguish, eloquent in synthesis of sculpture and design.

Walter Annenberg

Walter H. Annenberg, publisher, philanthropist, former ambassador to the Court of St. James. Doctor of laws: An astute and farsighted leader in American communications, a diplomat of skill, judgment, and flair; now a modern Maecenas, unsurpassed in his philanthropic commitment to opportunity and excellence in education.

Oseola McCarty

Oseola McCarty, a philanthropist who gave her life savings from washing and ironing, some $150,000, to the University of Southern Mississippi. Doctor of humane letters: Selfless, steadfast, strong; a radiant reminder of Saint Paul's assurance that the Lord loves a cheerful giver.


Nigerian author Chinua Achebe, Stevenson professor at Bard College. Doctor of letters: A teller of tales enthralling in their simplicity and compelling in their power; within his homeland and around the world, his words have moved millions.

Harold Varmus, M.D., A.M. '62, Nobel laureate and director of the National Institutes of Health. Doctor of science: A literate laureate whose research has deepened our understanding of genetics and disease; a brilliant and energetic marshal in the campaign for better human health.

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