Campus News

Bowdoin College to Award Four Honorary Degrees

Story posted May 15, 1999

May 19, 1999, BRUNSWICK, Maine -- Bowdoin College will award four honorary degrees during its 194th Commencement Exercises on Saturday, May 29.

The recipients and their honorary degrees are as follows:

Horst Albach of Berlin, Germany, professor and administrator; professor of corporate policy and management science at Humbolt University and director of the Berlin Science Center; member of the Bowdoin class of 1956; doctor of laws.

Marvin H. Green of St. George, Bermuda, international businessman; chairman of the board of Reeves A/V Systems, Inc. and MSW Travel Group, Inc., as well as the founder and chairman of the investment firm Glendower Ltd.; member of the Bowdoin College class of 1957; doctor of humane letters.

Kaiulani Sewall Lee of New York, actress in theatre, film and television; creator of a play about the life and works of Rachel Carson; native of Maine; doctor of arts.

Cornel West of Cambridge, Mass., philosopher, educator and writer; professor of Afro-American studies at Harvard University, author of 14 books; delivered John Brown Russworm lecture at Bowdoin; doctor of humane letters.

A biography of each honorary degree recipient follows. For more information call Allyson Algeo at 725-3832.


Doctor of Laws

Horst Albach, who is now one of Europe's foremost business specialists, spent the 1952-53 academic year studying at Bowdoin College as a member of the Bowdoin Class of 1956.

Now a professor of corporate policy and management science at Humboldt University and director of the Berlin Science Center, his influence on business and government spans economic, academic and legal worlds.

He was the founder of the German School of Management and is honorary professor of the Koblenz School of Corporate Management. Albach served for many years as a professor at the University of Bonn, where he was dean of the Faculty of Law and Economics in the 1960s and a Senate Member in the 1970s. He is also a past president of the Berlin Academy of Science and Technology. His most recent book is Cultural and Technical Innovation, and he has authored articles on business and economics, as well as an economics text.

Albach earned both his undergraduate and master's degree in 1956 and his doctorate in 1958, all from the University of Cologne, each time graduating summa cum laude. He spent the 1952-53 academic year at Bowdoin under the Bowdoin Plan, a program developed after World War II to bring foreign students to study at Bowdoin. While at Bowdoin, Albach was named a James Bowdoin Scholar. He participated in the glee club and was on the track team. He was also awarded a Fulbright scholarship and won a first-place H. L. Fairbanks Speaking Prize. His ties to Bowdoin and the people of Maine remain strong. Albach is a founding member of the Bowdoin Club of Germany.

Albach has been awarded honorary degrees from the Stockholm School of Economics, the Helsinki School of Economics, the University of Graz in Austria, the University of Kiel, the University of Bielefeld, Universidad Alcala de Henares, and the Technical University of Cohbus.


Doctor of Humane Letters

Marvin Howe Green Jr., of the Bowdoin Class of 1957, excels in international finance. He is chairman of the board of Reeves A/V Systems, Inc. and MSW Travel Group, Inc., as well as the founder and chairman of the investment firm Glendower Ltd.

Green served as the final president of the Bowdoin College Board of Overseers. It was during his tenure as president that the College undertook a reorganization of its bicameral governing boards, which resulted in the formation of a unicameral Board of Trustees in 1996.

Green serves as a director of both Polaris Corporation, an international consulting firm, and LePercq/Ameur, a mutual fund based in Bermuda, where he makes his home. He is the former chairman of Ayer Europe, which consisted of 18 advertising agencies in 10 countries, and also has served as a director of Sierra On-Line, Inc., a computer software company.

In 1959, Green and two partners founded Visualscope, Inc., which later became Reeves Communications Corporation. This integrated entertainment and communication company is engaged in the production of television programs and motion pictures and involved in international direct marketing and publishing. From 1976 to 1983, Reeves was among the fastest growing companies in the United States. In 1985 the company was sold to Thames Television in the U.K.

Green has served as a trustee of the American University of Beirut, the Bermuda Biological Station and the Museum of the Moving Image, and as a director of the Maritime Center of Norwalk, the New England Society, Masterworks Theater, N. W. Ayer and the Shippan Corporation.

Green has a long history of support for Bowdoin College. He served on the National Leadership Gifts Committee during the Campaign for Bowdoin and was a member of the Campaign Planning and Steering Committees for the recent New Century Campaign. In addition, he has been a generous benefactor of the College for many years. Among his gifts to the College have been the funds to establish the Marvin H. Green Jr. Fund, which endows a professorship in film studies, and a gift to renovate Bowdoin's Smith Auditorium, a 210-seat theater used primarily for films and performances.


Doctor of Arts

Actress Kaiulani Sewall Lee's family ties to Maine go back more than 200 years to when the Sewall family first settled along the Kennebec. Although she has lived up and down the East Coast, Lee has spent each summer of her life in what she considers home, the state of Maine. She is named after Princess Kaiulani of Hawaii, whose name was given to the last Yankee Square Rigger built in Bath by Lee's great-great-grandfather, Arthur Sewall. It has been the custom to give the name to one daughter in each generation of the Sewall family, and the name was given to Lee's daughter as well.

A graduate of American University and a student of Lee Strasberg and Sanford Meisner, Lee's training also included five years as the leading actress with the New York City Street Theater. The National Endowment for the Humanities funded the company, which performed across America in major urban ghettos, prisons and migrant camps. It performed throughout Appalachia for the United Mine Workers, along the West Coast for Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers, for sharecroppers in Alabama and Mississippi and on most major Native American reservations. In 1972 the Street Theater was one of five companies from around the world chosen to perform at the Olympic Games in Munich.

Lee has gone on to star in dozens of plays on and off Broadway. She was nominated for a Drama Desk Award on Broadway, and won the Obie Award for an outstanding achievement by an actor Off Broadway. Her extensive work in television has spanned 25 years and has ranged from regular roles on the The Waltons and Another World to guest appearances on The Equalizer and Law and Order. She has appeared in a dozen feature films including The World According to Garp, Cujo, and A Civil Action.

Most recently Lee has worked on two projects that embrace her Maine roots. After months of training with midwives and learning the crafts of spinning and weaving, Lee portrayed Martha Ballard, the eighteenth-century midwife from Hallowell, Maine, in the film version of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book, A Midwife's Tale. This critically acclaimed film was premiered on the American Experience for PBS and is now being screened across the country.

Perhaps the theatrical accomplishment of which Lee is most proud is her one-woman production of A Sense of Wonder. The play is based on the life and works of Rachel Carson. With the help of William Shawn, former editor of The New Yorker, and Paul Brooks, Carson's editor and publisher, Lee drew on all of Carson's published and unpublished works to create a play in defense of the natural world.

A Sense of Wonder has been performed at more than 60 universities and has been the centerpiece of many national conferences on education, the environment and journalism. It has also been presented at the Smithsonian Institution, for the Albert Shweitzer conference at the United Nations, for the Sierra Club's Centennial, and for the Department of Interior's 150th anniversary celebration.

Lee is married to public interest attorney, activist, and author Andrew Kimbrell. They have two children, Kaiulani (the seventh), who is studying at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, and Nicholas, a freshman at Yorktown High School.


Doctor of Humane Letters

Cornel West is a scholar, philosopher and writer who serves as a professor of religion and Afro-American studies at Harvard University. Henry Louis Gates Jr., chairman of Harvard's Department of Afro-American Studies, describes West as "one of America's most important public intellectuals, and a formidable scholar by any measure."

West was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1953. When he was four years old his family settled in a black, blue-collar neighborhood on the outskirts of Sacramento, California. His father was a civilian Air Force administrator, and his mother was an elementary school teacher who would later become a principal. West views the unconditional, unstinting love given to him by his parents as the most fundamental element of his life--supporting his spirit, soothing his soul. After attending public school in Sacramento, West went to Harvard University, where he graduated magna cum laude in 1973, after only three years of study.

Martin Kilson, one of West's professors, recalls him as one of "the most intellectually aggressive and highly cerebral students I have taught in my 30 years here."

West went on to Princeton University, where he received his master's degree in 1975 and his doctorate in 1980. He returned to Princeton in 1987 as a professor of religion and director of the Afro-American studies department. After helping build that department, West returned to Harvard, where he now serves as full professor of Afro-American studies and philosophy of religion. Recently promoted to university professor, a title held by only 14 of Harvard's 2,200 faculty members, he is one of the first black scholars to be appointed to the university's highest faculty post.

West has written numerous articles and 14 books, including The American Evasion of Philosophy, Jews and Blacks, The Future of the Race and Restoring Hope. His book, Race Matters quickly achieved best-seller status and gained the attention of Time and Newsweek, which both ran extensive profile articles on him. He co-wrote The War Against Parents, together with Sylvia Ann Hewlett, with whom he cochairs the National Parenting Association's Task Force on Parent Empowerment. His most recent publication, (written with Roberto Unger), The Future of American Progressivism, teaches how the growing divisions in our society foster the despair and distrust that undermine our democratic process.

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