Eleven Granted Honorary Degrees

Two Commencement Week stars, one of America's leading playwrights, the creator of the theory of plate tectonics and Harvard's most prominent 20th-century philosopher will be among the recipients of honorary doctorates awarded during today's Commencement exercises.

Eleven honorary doctorates, lauding luminaries in fields including science, religion, government, music and philosophy, will be conferred by President Neil L. Rudenstine following the awarding of degrees to the College's Class of 1997.

The honorary graduates include chemist Sir Edward P. Abraham (Doctor of Science); Secretary of State and Commencement speaker Madeleine K. Albright (Doctor of Laws); psychology professor Jerome S. Bruner (Doctor of Science); and Christian scholar Sir Henry Chadwick (Doctor of Divinity).

Others to be honored include epidemiologist William H. Foege (Doctor of Science); Class Day speaker and music producer Quincy D. Jones Jr. (Doctor of Music); playwright Arthur Miller (Doctor of Letters); Princeton geophysicist W. Jason Morgan (Doctor of Science); and economist Janet L. Norwood (Doctor of Laws).

Two Harvard professors, Conant University Professor Emeritus John Rawls and Stone-Radcliffe Professor Emerita Emily D.T. Vermeule will also be awarded doctorates.

The honorary graduates were celebrated at a dinner held in their honor last night in Annenberg Hall.

Sir Edward Penley Abraham

Abraham was a Fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford from 1948-80 and Professor of Chemical Pathology from 1964-80. He has been both Emeritus Professor and an Honorary Fellow at Oxford since 1980.

Abraham has been a leader in the field of antibiotics since World War II, when he was part of the Oxford research team that first isolated penicillin. Later, Abraham and his assistant discovered a second group of antibiotics that became as important as penicillin in controlling bacterial infection.

In recognition of his numerous scientific accomplishments and awards, Abraham was knighted in 1980.

Madeleine K. Albright

Albright will receive her honorary degree during this morning's ceremonies and then take the stage again in the afternoon to give the keynote address of the Alumni Exercises.

An expert on the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, she entered government service on the staff of the National Security Council in 1978. In 1993, she was tapped as the U.S.'s permanent representative to the United Nations.

Albright succeeded Warren Christopher to become the first female Secretary of State in January of this year. (See story, page A-5).

Jerome S. Bruner

Bruner has been a leader in the formation of cognitive psychology and has examined extensively the influence of culture on human cognition--how the way we live affects the way we remember and think.

Bruner is currently research professor of psychology and senior research fellow in law at New York University. As Professor of Psychology at Harvard in the 1970s, he helped found the Center for Cognitive Studies. He also helped conceive the Head Start program, aimed at the education of disadvantaged youth.

Having served as Watts Professor of Psychology at Oxford University in England, Bruner is currently research professor of psychology at New York University. He has written books including The Process of Education (1960), On Knowing (1962), Acts of Meaning (1990) and 1996's The Culture of Education.

Sir Henry Chadwick

Chadwick was Regius Professor of Divinity at the University of Cambridge from 1979-83 and now is a Professor Emeritus at that University.

Chadwick's writings include his books: Early Christian Thought and the Classical Tradition (1966) and Heresy and Orthodoxy in the Early Church (1991). He also contributed to the Oxford History of the Classical World (1986).

Chadwick has been instrumental in British theology during the past four decades. He was knighted in 1989.

William Herbert Foege

Foege, a graduate of Harvard's School of Public Health, is the director of the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia.

Foege has been involved with international public health since serving as an epidemic intelligence service officer at the Communicable Disease Center in Atlanta from 1962-64.

Since the 1960s, he has helped the populations of Nigeria, India, Thailand, Zaire and the United States combat communicable disease. Eradicating smallpox and coordinating relief for local populations have been two of his lifelong professional goals.

Quincy D. Jones. Jr.

A composer and producer of music, Jones is a perennial favorite at the Grammy Awards--he has won 26 times out of 77 nominations--and was chosen to give yesterday's Class Day address. (See story, page A-3.)

Jones was born in Chicago and began his professional career as a jazz musician. He branched out into arranging and producing music and in recent years has written scores for 33 motion pictures and worked with stars of popular music such as Frank Sinatra and Michael Jackson.

Arthur Miller

Miller is one of the foremost American playwrights of the 20th century. He is known for his willingness to challenge the status quo, including the political status quo, in his plays.

Miller's plays, including 1947's "All My Sons," 1949's "Death of a Salesman" and 1953's "The Crucible" have become part of the canon of American literature.

"Death of a Salesman" alone won the New York Drama Critics Circle award, the Tony award for best play, the Donaldson award and the Pulitzer Prize in drama in 1949.

William J. Morgan

Morgan helped formulate the theory of plate tectonics, which explains the motion of earth's surface in terms of large, independently-moving plates.

The theory of plate tectonics radically transformed the field of geology by offering new explanations for earthquakes and volcanoes, the development of similar species on different continents and the dynamic nature of the earth's crust.

Morgan was educated at Georgia Institute of Technology and at Princeton. He has taught at Princeton, where he is also Taylor Chair of Geography, since 1966.

Janet L. Norwood

Norwood is an economist and senior fellow at the Urban Institute who served as U.S. Commissioner of Labor Statistics from 1979-91.

Norwood developed the Employment Cost Index and made the Consumer Price Index, a measure of the cost of a representative "basket of goods," into a more accurate indicator. She also chaired the Advisory Council on Unemployment Compensation from 1993-96.

The economist has previously won the Department of Labor's prestigious Arnow Award and the National Public Service Award.

John Rawls

Joining the Harvard Faculty as Professor of Philosophy in 1962, in the early 1970s Rawls wrote A Theory of Justice, considered by some to be the greatest work of political philosophy written in English in the 20th century.

A graduate of Princeton, Rawls taught at Christ Church college, Oxford and Cornell University before coming to Harvard.

A Theory of Justice has inspired criticism and analysis from authorities across the world for its application of philosophical tenets to problems of politics and economics. Rawls' thinking has influenced the modern fields of ethics, law and political science.

Emily D. T. Vermeule

Vermeule, Zemurray Stone-Radcliffe professor emerita at Harvard, is a distinguished classicist and poet.

Vermuele's work has involved Greek archaeology and classical Greek philology. She has translated classical works and has led digs in Cyprus, Turkey, Libya and Greece.

In 1980, the American Philological Association awarded Vermeule the Charles J. Goodwin award for her book Aspects of Death in Early Greek Art and Poetry. Vermuele was the Association's president during 1995.

--David A. Fahrenthold, Melissa Rose Langsam and Barbara E. Martinez contributed to the reporting of this article.