Campus News

Bowdoin to Award Five Honorary Degrees at 199th Commencement May 29

Story posted March 12, 2004

Bowdoin College will award five honorary degrees at its 199th Commencement exercises Saturday, May 29. The ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. on the campus quad in front of the Walker Art Building.

Honorary degrees will be awarded to:

Eavan Boland, Irish poet and Bella Mabury and Eloise Mabury Knapp Professor in Humanities and Melvin and Bill Lane Professor in Humanities (director of the creative writing program) at Stanford University: Honorary Doctor of Letters Degree.

Richard Goldstone, former South African Constitutional Court Justice and champion of international justice and human rights: Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree.

Shulamit Ran, composer, pianist, educator, and 1991 Pulitzer Prize winner for music: Honorary Doctor of Music Degree.

Dorothy Schwartz, executive director of the Maine Humanities Council and education advocate: Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degree.

Torsten N. Wiesel, president emeritus of The Rockefeller University and Nobel Prize winner in medicine: Honorary Doctor of Science Degree.

For the first time, a series of special events with the Honorands will be held during Commencement weekend.

On Friday, May 28, Wiesel and Goldstone will lead a discussion of international human rights issues beginning at 2:30 p.m. in Kresge Auditorium.

Baccalaureate will be held in Morrell Gymnasium at 4 p.m., Friday, May 28. Eavan Boland will give the principal address. The ceremony will also include a performance of Shulamit Ran's Soliloquy, one of the composer's best-known works.

Schwartz will speak later on Friday at a small dinner for the Honorands (by invitation only).

Biographical information on each Honorand follows. For more information call Sue Danforth, (207) 725-3832.

Eavan Boland, Honorary Doctor of Letters Degree
A native of Ireland and author of 16 books, Eavan Boland has been described as Ireland's preeminent female poet. She earned her B.A. from Trinity College in Dublin in 1966, and received the Irish Arts Macaulay Fellowship in 1967. Coming from a poetic and literary tradition in which women are often passive subjects and symbols of the oppression of the Irish, Boland has given active voice to women through her writings. Her books of poetry include Against Love Poems (2001), The Lost Land (1998), An Origin Like Water: Collected Poems 1967-1987 (1996), In a Time of Violence (1994), Outside History: Selected Poems 1980-1990 (1990), The Journey and Other Poems (1986), Night Feed (1982), and In Her Own Image (1980). In addition to her books of poetry, Boland is also the author of Object Lessons: The Life of the Woman and the Poet in Our Time (1995), a volume of prose, and is co-editor with Mark Strand of The Making of a Poem: A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms (2000). Forthcoming in September 2004 is After Every War: Translations of German Women Poets. Boland is the recipient of the John Frederick Nims Award (2002), the International Poetry Centre Award (1997), the Lannan Award for Poetry and the Ireland-American Literature Award (both 1994), three Pushcart Prizes (1988, 1992, 1996), three Poetry Book Society Choices (1986, 1990, 1994), and the 1983 Award of the Irish-American Cultural Foundation, among many other honors. She is a member of the Irish Academy of Letters, and has lectured at a number of American colleges and universities (including Bowdoin). She is presently Bella Mabury and Eloise Mabury Knapp Professor in Humanities and Melvin and Bill Lane Professor in Humanities (director of the creative writing program) at Stanford University.

Richard Goldstone, Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree
Former South African Constitutional Court Justice Richard Goldstone is a champion of international justice and human rights, and is the world's first international war crimes prosecutor. He earned his law degree from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1962, then practiced as an advocate at the Johannesburg Bar. He was appointed senior counsel in 1976, became judge of the Transvaal Supreme Court in 1980, and in 1989 was appointed judge of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court. He served as a justice of the South African Constitutional Court from 1994 to 2003. A longtime opponent of apartheid in South Africa, Justice Goldstone served as chair of the Commission of Inquiry Regarding the Prevention of Public Violence and Intimidation in South Africa, which became known as the Goldstone Commission. He served as the chief prosecutor of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, chaired a group of international experts that drafted a Declaration of Human Duties and Responsibilities for the director general of UNESCO, and chaired the international independent inquiry on Kosovo. In December 2001 he was appointed co-chair of the International Task Force on Terrorism established by the International Bar Association. He is a member of the Board of Human Rights Watch, director of the American Arbitration Association, and author of On Humanity, a memoir of his efforts on behalf of human rights. He is presently a visiting professor at New York University Law School, and in the fall will be visiting professor at Fordham Law School.

Shulamit Ran, Honorary Doctor of Music Degree
Composer, pianist, and outstanding educator Shulamit Ran, winner of the 1991 Pulitzer Prize for the work Symphony, began composing songs to Hebrew poetry at the age of seven in her native Israel. By nine she was studying composition and piano with some of Israel's most noted musicians, and within several years was having her early works performed by professional musicians and orchestras. She continued her piano and composition studies in the U.S. on scholarships from the Mannes College of Music in New York and the America Israel Cultural Foundation. In 1973 she joined the faculty of the University of Chicago, where she is now the William H. Colvin Professor in the department of music. Ran has been awarded most major honors given to composers in the U.S., including two fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, grants and commissions from the Koussevitzky Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Fromm Music Foundation, Chamber Music America, the American Academy and Institute for Arts and Letters, first prize in the Kennedy Center-Friedheim Awards competition for orchestral music, and many more. Her music has been performed by leading orchestras including the Chicago Symphony under both Daniel Barenboim and Pierre Boulez, the Cleveland Orchestra under Christoph Von Dohnanyi, the Philadelphia Orchestra under Gary Bertini, the Israel Philharmonic under Zubin Mehta, and the New York Philharmonic. From 1990-97 she was composer-in-residence with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and from 1994-97 she was composer-in-residence with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, where her residency culminated in the much-acclaimed premiere of her first opera Between Two Worlds (The Dybbuk) . She is an elected member of both the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Science.

Dorothy Schwartz, Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degree
Dorothy Schwartz, executive director of the Maine Humanities Council, has been a strong advocate for education in the broadest and most democratic sense, as a teacher, college professor, printmaker and graphic artist, advisor to state government, and administrator. A graduate of Smith College, where she earned her A.B. and M.A.T., Schwartz has served on many state committees and task forces in Maine, and since 1985 has led the Maine Humanities Council, the state's affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Under her direction, the Council has become a national leader in innovative and effective programming to unlock the doors that had blocked people from the worlds of words, ideas, art, and their own rich cultural heritage. In May 2003, under her leadership, the Council dedicated the Harriet P. Henry Center for the Book, one of only seven such centers nationwide. She has maintained her standing as an artist in her own right, with group shows and one-person exhibitions in Portland, Lewiston, and Damariscotta, Maine, San Diego, Calif., and Florence, Mass., at Bowdoin, Bates, and Bennington colleges, and as part of a traveling international show of hand-printed books. She serves on the Governor's Task Force on the Creative Economy, the State Task Force on Cultural Tourism, the Maine Women's Forum, Maine State Task Force on Early Education, and the advisory committee for the Lila-Wallace Reader's Digest Foundation grant to the Maine Community Foundation. Schwartz received the 2001 Distinguished Achievement Award from the University of Southern Maine and the 2003 Deborah Morton Award from the University of New England. She has taught at Bowdoin, Bates, and the University of Maine. She is married to Professor of Music Emeritus Elliott Schwartz.

Torsten N. Wiesel, Honorary Doctor of Science Degree
Torsten N. Wiesel is president emeritus of The Rockefeller University. He earned his M.D. from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1954. His interest in understanding the pathways of the brain led him to the United States in 1955 to study neurophysiology at Johns Hopkins University and later Harvard Medical School, where he became chair of the department of neurobiology. In 1981 while at Harvard Wiesel received the Nobel Prize in medicine for his long-term research on how the brain processes visual information so that a person is able to see. In 1983 he went to The Rockefeller University as Vincent and Brooke Astor Professor, and established a new laboratory of neurobiology. He was elected president of The Rockefeller University in 1991, where he undertook the expansion of science programs and sought funding for the university's educational and research activities. Wiesel stepped down in 1998. Since 1994 he has served as chair of the National Academy of Science's Committee on Human Rights, and in 1997 he became chair of the Human Rights Watch, Arms Division. Among his many other current activities, he serves on the board of directors of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research, the international advisory board for the Institute of Neuroscience of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the international council for Graduate Research University in Okinawa, and the scientific advisory board of the European Brain Research Institute. He is chairman of the board of governors of the New York Academy of Sciences, the scientific advisory committee of the National Institute of Biological Sciences, and the international scientific council of the Israeli-Palestinian Science Organization. Wiesel spoke at Bowdoin's Common Hour as part of the celebration for the inauguration of President Barry Mills as the College's 14th president.

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