John Harvard's Journal | Commencement 2015
Six men and four women received honorary degrees at Commencement. University provost Alan M. Garber introduced the honorands in the following order, and President Drew Faust read the citations, concluding with the recipient’s name and degree. For fuller background on each honorand, see harvardmag.com/honorands-15.
Wallace S. Broecker. Newbury professor of geology at Columbia, popularly credited with coining the term “global warming.” Doctor of Science: Prescient Poseidon of geoscience, fathoming the depths and currents of climate change, he has peered far into our planet’s past and compelled our concern for its future.
Robert M. Axelrod. A University of Michigan political scientist, acclaimed for interdisciplinary work on the evolution of cooperation. Doctor of Laws: Impelled by the perils of nuclear war, intrigued by biology’s complex puzzles, a paramount scholar of cooperation and modeling and a model of scholarly cooperation.
Linda B. Buck. Co-winner of the 2004 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for the discovery of odorant receptors and the organization of the olfactory system. Doctor of Science: Aficionada of olfaction, pioneer in the perception of common and uncommon scents; her research on receptors has revolutionized what science knows of the nose.
Svetlana Leontief Alpers ’57, Ph.D. ’65. Professor of history of art emerita at the University of California, Berkeley. Doctor of Arts: Connoisseur of the craft of informed looking, transformative force in the history of art, she posits that pictures need eyes, not words, and spurs us to see the familiar anew.
Peter Salovey. President of Yale University; Argyris professor of psychology, and co-developer of the “emotional intelligence” framework. Doctor of Laws: Superlative psychologist and Bulldog in chief, who likes his Veritas with a dash of Lux; a warm and wise Eli of high E.I., whose world, like his grass, is ever blue.
Bryan Stevenson, J.D.-M.B.A. ’85. Public-interest lawyer, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative. Doctor of Laws: His deep conviction that justice must be done has undone convictions of the wrongly accused; tireless, dauntless, his eyes on the prize, he presses on, the upward way, to point us toward a higher ground.
Patricia A. Graham. Warren professor of the history of American education and dean of Harvard Graduate School of Education emerita. Doctor of Laws: How schooling can foster both knowledge and virtue has set the syllabus for her singular life; an adroit leader and trusty trustee, she has not just illuminated history but made it.
Denis Mukwege. Founder and medical director of Panzi Hospital in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a leader in treating women victimized by wartime rape and in campaigning against sexual violence. Doctor of Science: An incarnation of courage and compassion giving succor to his country’s women of valor; for him, it is always a time to heal and a time to build up, a time to love and a time for peace.
Renée Fleming. Internationally renowned opera soprano. Doctor of Music: Consummate Contessa, soprano sublime, exalting her art for exultant audiences, renowned for her arias but not for her airs; when her voice soars, our hearts sing.
Deval L. Patrick ’78, J.D. ’82. Former two-term governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Doctor of Laws: Exemplar and exponent of the American dream, embracing commonwealth as a lived ideal, he has worn his excellency with humility and grace, while kindling in others a reason to believe.