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ND will award 13 honorary degrees at commencement

Kate Antonacci | Thursday, April 21, 2005

Thirteen honorary degrees will be awarded at Notre Dame’s May 15 commencement ceremony, University officials announced Wednesday. Among the recipients will be baseball legend Hank Aaron and former papal candidate Cardinal Francis Arinze.

In addition to commencement speaker Vartan Gregorian, president of the Carnegie Corporation, Notre Dame will honor distinguished figures – three women and 10 men – for their contributions in fields ranging from business, law and science to medicine, sports and entertainment, said Dennis Brown, associate director of news and information.

Honorary degrees are ways of recognizing and honoring the accomplishments of various individuals. Students, faculty and staff members are all allowed to nominate a person for an honorary degree.

“Each of the colleges submits recommendations for honorary degree recipients, and other suggestions can be submitted by anyone within the campus community,” Brown said.

University President Father Edward Malloy and several officers then narrow down the group of nominees. They make the final decisions, which usually consists of 10 to 12 individuals who do not necessarily need a connection to the University, Brown said.

Aaron, the all-time leader for career runs in Major League Baseball who was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1982, will receive a doctorate of laws.

Arinze, a Nigerian who was considered a strong papal candidate before Pope Benedict XVI was selected Tuesday and has been instrumental in promoting inter-religious dialogue, will also receive a doctorate of laws.

Dr. Benjamin Carson, one of the top brain surgeons in the world known for successfully separating Siamese twins joined at the back of the head in 1987, will receive a doctorate of science.

Judge Robert Carter, a U.S. District Court judge for the Southern District of New York known for his involvement in the civil rights movement, will receive a doctorate of laws.

Robert Conway, class of 1966, a senior director at Goldman Sachs who also serves on Notre Dame’s Board of Trustees, will receive a doctorate of laws.

Jack Greenberg, a well-known lawyer who was active in the civil rights movement and has argued 40 cases before the Supreme Court, including Brown v. Board of Education, will receive a doctorate of laws.

Joseph Keller, a well-known mathematician who has contributed significantly to the world of engineering and science, will receive a doctorate of science.

Sonia Manzano, a writer, producer and actress who played Maria on “Sesame Street” for over 30 years, will receive a doctorate of laws.

James Morris, executive director of the United Nations World Food Program, the world’s largest food aid organization, will receive a doctorate of laws.

Anne Mulcahy, the CEO and chair of the board of Xerox, will receive a doctor of laws.

Steven Sample, president of the University of Southern California and well-known electrical engineer, will receive a doctorate of engineering.

1979 graduate Dr. Carol Lally Shields, associate director of oncology at Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia who captained the Notre Dame women’s basketball team three times, will receive a doctorate of science.

Dr. Joseph Walther, a decorated U.S. Army Air Force surgeon in World War II who founded the non-profit research organization Walther Cancer Institute of Indianapolis, will receive a doctorate of science.

In addition to the 13 honorary degrees, nearly 1,850 undergraduate degrees and over 550 advanced graduate degrees will be conferred at the 160th commencement ceremony in the Joyce Center.