Honoris Causa

The 2011 honorary-degree recipients. Back row from left: John G.A. Pocock, Provost Steven Hyman, Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee, President Drew Faust, Her Excellency Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, David Satcher, and Plácido Domingo. Front row from left: Dudley Herschbach, Rosalind Krauss, and James R. Houghton. Not pictured: The Honorable Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Six men and three women received honorary degrees at Commencement. Provost Steven E. Hyman introduced the honorands, and President Drew Faust read the citations, concluding with the recipient’s name and degree—except in the case of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, for whom the previous honorand rose to sing a special tribute (view the video at harvardmag.com/placido-domingo). For fuller background on each, see harvardmag.com/2011-honorands.

Photograph by Stu Rosner

Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee

Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee. The inventor of the World Wide Web, now 3Com Founders Professor at MIT. Doctor of Science: Ingenious guru of a global village, to whom the W owes its ubiquity, he has woven from strands of complex code a web that encircles and enlivens our world.



Photography by Stu Rosner

James R. Houghton




James R. Houghton ’58, M.B.A. ’62. Fellow of the Harvard Corporation from 1995, and Senior Fellow from 2002 until his retirement in 2010; former chairman and chief executive officer of Corning Incorporated. Doctor of Laws: A fine fellow fiercely committed to his university’s care, he has helped guide its passage through change and through storm, with deep devotion to possibilities made real and with Harvard’s agenda ever his own.

Photograph by Stu Rosner

Rosalind Krauss

Rosalind E. Krauss, Ph.D. ’69. University Professor at Columbia, a pioneering historian, critic, and theorist of twentieth-century painting, sculpture, and photography. Doctor of Arts: Deflating dogma with keen perspicacity, wrestling new mediums to the mat of specificity, a trenchant theorist of the modern and postmodern who has recast the lens through which we see art.

Photograph by Stu Rosner

David Satcher

David Satcher. Former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Surgeon General of the United States, and assistant secretary of health, known for addressing head-on issues such as smoking, sexual behavior, AIDS, youth
violence, and racial disparities in healthcare. Doctor of Science: To make the greatest difference for those with greatest need, he confronts controversial health concerns with candor and compassion, the public good his primary care.

Photograph by Stu Rosner

Dudley R. Herschbach

Dudley R. Herschbach, Ph.D. ’58, JF ’59. Co-winner of the 1986 Nobel Prize in chemistry, former master of Currier House, and a teacher who combined the sciences with the humanities—making him, in the provost’s phrase, “Harvard’s own literate laureate.” Doctor of Science: Imaginative master of molecular dynamics, whose zeal for discovery feeds his zest for teaching; a scientist and humanist straddling two cultures, he animates the interplay of abacus and rose.

Photograph by Stu Rosner

John G.A. Pocock

John G.A. Pocock. A leading historian of political theory and discourse, known especially for explicating the emergence of the idea of republicanism and for analyzing the work of Edward Gibbon and his contemporaries. Doctor of Laws: Sagely expounding civic humanism, subtly unfolding history’s history, an erudite scholar of political discourse expertly illumining how context colors text.

Photograph by Stu Rosner

Plácido Domingo

Plácido Domingo. The internationally acclaimed singer and conductor, general director of the Los Angeles and Washington National opera companies. Doctor of Music: Incandescent presence on stages worldwide, opening hearts to opera’s grandeur; a tenor for the ages, whose magnificent mellifluence tingles the spine and stirs the soul.

Photograph by Stu Rosner

The Honorable Ruth Bader Ginsburg

The Honorable Ruth Bader Ginsburg, L ’59. The fundamental figure in advancing gender equity in American constitutional law and, since 1993, an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Doctor of Laws: An advocate extraordinaire who propelled the quest for equal justice under law; a judge supreme who lifts the bench with devotion to the dignity of each individual. As Faust concluded this citation, Domingo rose to serenade Ginsburg (a devotee of the art form): “Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Doctor of Laws, come to hear us at the opera, direct from the Supreme Court,” to the opening bars of Verdi’s “Celeste Aida.”

Photograph by Stu Rosner

Her Excellency Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Her Excellency Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, M.P.A. ’71. President of Liberia, and Africa’s first female elected head of state. Doctor of Laws: Her spirit indomitable, her story inspirational, she strives to heal the wounds of war; for a nation long beleaguered, an unblinking beacon of hope.

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