Three women and eight men received honorary degrees at Harvard’s 349th Commencement. In order of presentation, the honorands were:
Maclyn McCarty, Rockefeller professor emeritus, Rockefeller University. He and his colleagues conducted the landmark research that led to the demonstration that DNA is the substance that transmits hereditary information. Doctor of science: Progenitor of a transforming principle of science, laboratory leader in the battle against deadly disease, through ingenious experiments he has shown us the stuff that genes are made of.
Constance Baker Motley, senior judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. A leading figure in the civil-rights movement and in the federal judiciary, she litigated major cases for the NAACP, including Brown v. Board of Education. Doctor of laws: Pioneer in law and public service, she has championed the rights of people long oppressed and ably led one of our nation’s greatest courts with constancy in pursuit of equal justice.
Andrew S. Grove, chairman and former CEO of Intel Corporation. A Holocaust survivor who emigrated to the United States in 1956, Grove was a founder of Intel and a formulator of its microchip technology. Known for his exacting management skills, he helped define the culture of the digital age. Doctor of laws: Rigorous and farsighted master of the microchip, surviving adversity and driving innovation, he has rendered Silicon Valley a singularly fertile grove.
Kenzaburo Oe is considered by many the finest writer in Japan today. In his stories, “life and myth condense to form a disconcerting picture of the human predicament,” said the Swedish Academy in awarding him a Nobel Prize in 1994. Doctor of letters: Seeking the transcendental through the personal and the mythical, he plumbs the darkness of human existence, a?rming in a voice all his own the dignity of each individual.
Nicholaas Bloembergen, Gade University Professor emeritus. Born in Holland, Bloembergen read quantum theory while he hid from the Nazis and ate tulip bulbs “to fill my stomach.” At Harvard for four decades, he trained many of today’s leading physicists. A Nobel laureate, he is known for his contributions in nuclear magnetic resonance, lasers, and spectroscopy. Doctor of science: Phenomenal physicist, magnetic mentor, resonant voice for research, whose laserlike brilliance has cast waves of energy and light across modern science.
Judith Coleman Richards Hope, J.D. ’64, senior counsel and a longtime partner in Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker. The first woman elected a Fellow of Harvard College (the Harvard Corporation), she served 11 years before stepping down this spring. Doctor of laws: Distinguished advocate and devoted alumna, steadfast public servant and energetic entrepreneur, she has opened doors and minds through her perspicacious fellowship.
Noam Chomsky, Jf ’ 55, Institute Professor at MIT, is widely regarded as the father of modern linguistics. He developed a pioneering approach to our understanding of language and of the ways in which the mind generates and comprehends the complex structures that we call sentences. Doctor of laws: Generative and transformative thinker, exploring mysteries of language and mind, he reinvents our understanding of how we come to speak, and so of who we are.
Frank O. Gehry, Ds ’57, design principal of Frank O. Gehry & Associates. When Gehry was a boy, his grandmother each Thursday brought home a live carp, which lived in the bathtub until rendered into the Saturday-night gefilte fish. In time, the form of a twisting fish became a favorite motif in the architect’s dynamic buildings. Doctor of arts: Adventurous creator of a new aesthetic, reveling in the chaotic vitality of our urban life, he sculpts buildings that shimmer, sail, swoop, and soar, unleashing the power of architecture as art.
Seiji Ozawa, music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. In his more than a quarter century with the BSO, he has promoted new music, furthered musical education, and taken the orchestra’s music to audiences around the world. Doctor of music: Dynamic and buoyant maestro of Boston’s beloved orchestra, with all the world his stage, he fills the air and stirs the soul with a wave of his baton.
Katherine Bogdanovich Loker, a philanthropist, is the daughter of a Yugoslav émigré who established StarKist. A sprinter in her youth, she narrowly missed qualifying for the Olympics. In partnership with her late husband, Donald P. Loker ’25, she became increasingly interested in philanthropy. She led efforts to recrown Memorial Hall with the resplendent tower shown on the cover of this magazine, one of her many benefactions to Harvard. Doctor of humane letters: Creating a commons for students, envisioning a haven for readers, rebuilding the capstone of a campus landmark, she lifts our sights skyward with energetic aspiration and towering generosity.
Amartya Sen, Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, and Harvard’s Lamont University Professor emeritus. A 1998 Nobel laureate in economics, Sen is renowned for work on social choice, inequality, and famine. Doctor of laws: With paramount concern for the world’s impoverished, he infuses economics with a passion for fairness, his vision of freedom and humane development pointing the way toward a better life for all.