Rampant Speculation Continues Over Choices for Honoraries
Despite confirmation by embassy officials that President Secretse Khama of Botswana will receive an honorary degree from Harvard at tomorrow's Commencement exercises, the identities of the other degree recipients remain a topic of heated speculation.
Exiled Soviet novelist Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who will deliver the Commencement address tomorrow afternoon, is more than likely to pick up one of the special sheepskins--although traditionally the names of degree recipients are kept secret until they step up to the podium to receive their awards.
Preparations for Commencement have been marked by unusually tight security precautions this year, leading many observers to suspect that Khama will be joined by another world leader--possibly president of a key U.S. ally--on the dais Thursday.
At least one of the honoraries usually goes to a prominent figure in the arts. Dancer Martha Graham and pianist Arthur Rubinstein seem like good bets to pick up parchments.
Members of the academic community should also fare well at the ceremony. Psychologist Erik H. Erikson looks like a sure winner, and no one should be surprised if classicist John H. Finley '25, Eliot Professor of Greek Literature Emeritus, gets the call.
One of the awards often goes to an alumnus who has been active in fundraising for Harvard. Gerald Weinstock '39, volunteer national chairman of the University's fundraising committee for its Judaic Studies Center, heads the possibilities on the "generosity list."
F. Skiddy Von Stade '38?
By tradition, recipients of honoraries must appear in person to receive their degrees. That requirement prevented then-President Harry S Truman, who preferred the June mugginess of Washington to the swelter of Cambridge, from picking up one of the sheepskins in the late '40s, and also kept General of the Army Douglas MacArthur degree-less during the Korean War.
Gerry Cheevers? Jerry Lewis? Jerry Ford?
It should also keep Seiji Ozawa, conductor of the Boston Symphony, from collecting one of the prestigious degrees. Ozawa and the rest of the orchestra are currently touring the People's Republic of China.
Cher? Sonny? J.B. Ames?
Politicians also manage to draw some attention at the ceremony. Former Texas Gov. John B. Connally has been hanging around Harvard a lot lately, but appears less likely to cop an honorary than either Washington Gov. Dixie Lee Ray or Connecticut Gov. Ella T. Grasso.
Sam Ervin? Merv Griffin? Billy Carter?
Yesterday's Phi Beta Kappa orator, microbiologist Rene Dubos, might well be named along with the others. So might retiring Divinity School Dean Krister Stendahl.
President Carter is not expected to break his busy schedule to fly up to Cambridge tomorrow.