Honoris Causa

Four men and two women received honorary degrees on May 25. Provost Alan M. Garber introduced the honorands in the following order, and President Lawrence S. Bacow read the citations. Learn more about each at harvardmag.com/honorands-23.


Adm. Michael G. Mullen
Photograph by Jim Harrison

Adm. Michael G. Mullen, Ret., the seventeenth Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, serving under both Presidents George H. W. Bush and Barack Obama. He is perhaps best known to the public for his role in supporting repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy that barred gays and lesbians from openly serving in the military. Doctor of Laws. An admirable admiral adroit and adaptable in advancing America’s interests abroad; buoyed by faith in his forces’ devotion, through turbulent waters he anchors a way.


Jennifer A. Doudna
Photograph by Jim Harrison

Jennifer A. Doudna, Ph.D. ’89, who shared the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for developing the powerful gene-editing tool CRISPR/Cas9. The technique is now widely used in biological research, accelerating the discovery of cures for diseases, enhancing agriculture, and holding forth the promise of treating inherited illnesses. Doctor of Science. Deft in devising molecular scissors, percipient in parsing palindromic repeats, an edifying editor of the letters of life, whose scientific insights couldn’t be crisper.


Hugo Morales
Photograph by Jim Harrison

Hugo Morales ’72, J.D. ’75, a native of Oaxaca, Mexico, who grew up in California, he founded Radio Bilingüe in 1976. The nation’s only public Spanish-language radio network, it offers music, cultural and informational programs, and news to audiences across the United States, Mexico, and Puerto Rico. Doctor of Humane Letters. An impassioned pathbreaker in public media, creating new spaces for voices unheard; he awakens the airwaves to inform and inspire, making service to others his station in life.


David Levering Lewis
Photograph by Jim Harrison

David Levering Lewis, a historian of the French Third Republic and twentieth-century America and civil rights, best known for his work on civil rights pioneer W.E.B. Du Bois, A.B. 1890, Ph.D. ’95. The two volumes of Lewis’s biography each won the Pulitzer Prize. Doctor of Laws. A premier painter of portraits of progress, capacious in intellect, perspicacious in insight; his sagacious scholarship and elegant prose illumine the contours of consequential lives.


Katalin Karikó
Photograph by Jim Harrison

Katalin Karikó, a Hungarian-born biochemist who overcame obstacles in education and her academic work, led fundamental research on messenger RNA that underpinned the successful vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna—and thereby saved millions of lives during the pandemic. Doctor of Science. A catalytic agent in the quest to conquer COVID, a paragon of perseverance in the face of doubt, a resolute investigator whose transformative research royally deserves our Crimson corona.


Thomas J. Hanks
Photograph by Jim Harrison

Thomas J. Hanks, widely known for comedic roles in Splash, Big, and A League of Their Own, has won Academy Awards for best actor for his dramatic performances in Philadelphia and Forrest Gump. His other credits range from Sleepless in Seattle and You’ve Got Mail to Apollo 13 and voicing Woody in Toy Story. He has won multiple Emmy Awards for producing limited series and television movies such as Band of Brothers and John Adams. Doctor of Arts. Wilson’s bestie, Buzz’s buddy, Ryan’s savior, America’s dad; with wit and grace, grit and gumption, his performances tap the heart and soul and show us why in Tom we trust.

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