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14 honorary degrees awarded

Lisa Gallagher | Friday, April 2, 2004

Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s will honor 14 recipients with honorary degrees this year, University and College officials said.In addition to commencement speaker Alan Page, a justice on the Minnesota Supreme Court, Notre Dame has announced 10 new recipients this year, said Dennis Brown, associate director of news and information. Jose Cabranes, U.S. Court of Appeals judge, Anita de Luna, MCDP, an assistant professor of religious studies at Our Lady of the Lake University, John Hennessey, president of Stanford University, Elaine Kim, professor of Asian American studies at the University of California at Berkeley, Terrence McGlinn, president of All Star Distributing Company and a Notre Dame Board of Trustees member, Jerome Murphy-O’Connor, O.P., professor at the Ecole Biblique et Archeologique Francaise in Jerusalem, Homer Neal, a physicist at the University of Michigan, James Sinegal, president of Costco Wholesale Corporation, Roxanne Spillett, president of Boys and Girls Clubs of America and Peter Tannock, vice chancellor of the University of Notre Dame Australia are this year’s degree recipients. “[Honorary degrees are] a way to recognize the accomplishments of various individuals in all fields of life,” Brown said. “It is a tradition to honor [those people] who have done something of significance in all fields of studies, such as social work, teaching and law.”In contrast, Saint Mary’s will be honoring three, said Melanie McDonald, director of public relations at the College. Saint Mary’s announced their choices for the recipients of the 2004 honorary degrees last week. Paula Downing is a 1971 graduate and superintendent of Benton Harbor public schools, Peggy Hill is a 1961 graduate and is now an established Broadway producer, and Sister Michael Mary Nolan, CSC, is a member of the class of 1964 and social justice attorney in Sao Paolo, Brazil.McDonald said the process begins with the president of the college soliciting names. “Anyone can nominate someone to receive the award as long as they are in some way affiliated with the college,” she added, listing the Board of Trustees, various campus advisory boards and faculty, staff and students as examples. At Notre Dame, Brown said, anyone from current students or faculty and staff members may nominate a person for an honorary degree. Each college within the University can also nominate individuals it feels are deserving of the degree due to their success and accomplishments. University President Father Edward Malloy and several officers then narrow down the nominees and make final selections, which usually include 10 to 12 recipients. “In some cases,” Brown said, “offers [for the honorary degrees] are extended through the following year,” in the event that a recipient cannot make it out for the commencement ceremony, which usually takes place in May. Saint Mary’s, however, has a slightly different process. After nominations, each person’s credentials are verified and then sent to the Academic Affairs Council. This council then reviews the remaining candidates and submits their final list back to the Board of Trustees, who forwards the approved nominees back to the president to make the final cut. “Because it is such a long process, the award is even more of an honor,” McDonald said. Commence-ment ceremonies will take place at Saint Mary’s on Saturday, May 15. Notre Dame’s commencement is Sunday, May 16.