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John Harvard's Journal | Commencement 2009

Honoris Causa

July-August 2009

Anthony S. Fauci

Anthony S. Fauci

Photograph by Stu Rosner

 Seven men and three women received honorary degrees at Commencement. Provost Steven E. Hyman introduced the honorands, and President Drew Faust read the citations, in the order below. 

 

Anthony S. Fauci. Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984, he has led the fight against HIV/AIDS. Doctor of Science: At the helm, on the Hill, in the lab, on the ward, a preeminent investigator of human immunology and a tireless leader in striving to conquer the world’s most insidious ills.

 

Photograph by Stu Rosner

Pedro Almodóvar

Pedro Almodóvar. A moviemaker who flouted the taboos of the Franco era, he is acclaimed for Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown and other works. Doctor of Arts: Ingenious man of La Mancha, bold avatar of a new Spain, an auteur, provocateur, and fabulador whose labyrinths of passion excite the imagination and enliven the art of film.

 

Photograph by Stu Rosner

Wendy Doniger

Wendy Doniger ’62, Ph.D. ’68. The Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago, a foremost scholar of Hinduism, she illuminates the myths of many cultures. Doctor of Letters: Freely traversing eras and borders, inventively bridging East and West, she finds in the myths of manifold cultures a microscope and telescope on how we live.

 

Ronald Dworkin ’53, LL.B. ’57. Perhaps the leading philosopher of law, his works range from Taking Rights Seriously and Law’s Empire to Is Democracy Possible Here? Doctor of Laws: Venturesome explorer of law’s empire, learned expounder of equality’s virtue, he draws constitutional meaning from the wellsprings of morality, insisting the law be respectful of all.

 

Robert Langer. MIT Institute Professor, holder of more than 700 issued and pending patents, this biomedical engineer (and amateur magician) has pioneered inventions in drug delivery and tissue engineering. Doctor of Science: Transforming the ways in which drugs are delivered, devising new methods to synthesize tissues, an Edison of biomedicine with a patently magical touch.

 

Sarah Blaffer Hrdy ’68, Ph.D. ’75. Professor emerita of anthropology at the University of California, Davis, she has challenged the tenets of evolutionary biology, reinterpreting our understanding of gender roles and the nature of motherhood. Doctor of Science: Interrogating Darwinian dogma, investigating primates’ ways, an intrepid evolutionist with a revolutionary flair who has introduced us anew to Mother Nature.

 

Wynton Marsalis. Renowned trumpeter, co-founder and artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center, he has also championed his home town, New Orleans, in Hurricane Katrina’s wake. Doctor of Music: Virtuoso and impresario, maestro and messenger, whose golden horn of plenty feeds the soul, lifts the heart, and does the Crescent City proud.

 

Photograph by Stu Rosner

Joan Didion

Joan Didion. A writer of exquisite precision, she has crafted enduring nonfiction from Slouching Towards Bethlehem to The Year of Magical Thinking, five novels, and (with her late husband, John Gregory Dunne) seven screenplays. Doctor of Letters: Coolly laconic, drily ironic, discerning America’s mores and moods, a writer of uncommon keenness and power who pictures the ways in which things fall apart.

 

Photograph by Stu Rosner

Sidney Verba

Sidney Verba ’53. The Pforzheimer University Professor emeritus, a scholar steeped in electoral participation and civic culture, served Harvard as long-time director of the University Library and faculty leader, from implementing the Core curriculum to envisioning calendar reform. Doctor of Laws: Superlative political scientist, savvy university citizen, sage steward of volumes galore, he has shaped our sense of civic culture and gently personified the professorial ideal.


Steven Chu. A Nobel laureate in physics, past director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, he is now the U.S. Secretary of Energy. Doctor of Science: Grand master of atomic cooling, grand marshal against global warming, a lucent laureate whose generative mind now powers the quest for alternative energy.