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Hammonds to Receive Honorary Degree from Bates

By Stephanie B. Garlock, Crimson Staff Writer

Three days after the Harvard class of 2011 receives their diplomas, Dean of the College Evelynn M. Hammonds will get a degree of her own.

Bates College in Lewiston, Maine will award Hammonds an honorary degree on May 29 for her work researching the relationship between medicine and race.

“Dean Hammonds exemplifies a range of the values that Bates embraces in its mission statement: engaging the transformative power of our differences, cultivating intellectual discovery and informed civic action,” Bates College President Elaine Tuttle Hansen said in a statement.

At its 145th commencement exercises, Bates will also honor pianist Frank Glazer—an artist-in-residence and lecturer at Bates—and inventor Robert S. Langer—a professor at MIT. The three honorees will speak at the ceremony.

According to the Bates press release, Hammonds is being recognized for her work as a “leading scholar in the field of the intersection of medicine and race.”

Hammonds said that the history of Bates College and its relationship to issues of diversity is particularly important to her.

“I’m honored to be selected by Bates College to speak at their 145th commencement,” Hammonds said. “As a female historian of race in America, I am particularly proud to receive an honorary degree from an institution that, as early as 1855, was educating men and women of all races and creeds on an equal basis.”

Examining issues of race and diversity has been a central theme in Hammonds’ career.

Hammonds is a professor of History of Science and African and African American Studies. This fall, she taught a freshman seminar on “The Concept of Race in Science and Medicine in the United States.”

Before coming to Harvard, Hammonds was a founding director of the Center for the Study of Diversity in Science, Technology, and Medicine at MIT.

Later, Hammonds served as Harvard’s first Senior Vice Provost for Faculty Development and Diversity before ultimately assuming her position as Dean of Harvard College.

Hammonds also holds an honorary doctor of humane letters from Spelman College, where she studied as an undergraduate.

—Staff writer Stephanie B. Garlock can be reached at sgarlock@college.harvard.edu.

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