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ND, SMC to award honorary degrees

Observer Staff Report | Wednesday, April 17, 2013


Commencement speaker Cardinal Timothy Dolan will receive one of six honorary degrees awarded at Notre Dame’s commencement ceremony May 19, according to a University press release.


Dolan, archbishop of New York and president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree, the release stated.


Gu Binglin, president of Tshingua University in Beijing, will receive a doctor of science at the ceremony, according to the release. Binglin has led the field of condensed matter physics and computational materials science. He has taught physics and researched at Tshingua, after stints in the Chinese Academy of Sciences, as dean of Tshingua’s Graduate School, and as vice president of Tshingua.


Sister Antona Ebo will receive a doctor of laws at the ceremony, according to the release. Ebo has worked as an activist for human rights, marching with Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Selma, Ala., and Montgomery, Ala. Ebo was also the first black woman religious to lead a hospital. She later served as president of the National Black Sisters’ Conference.


Marilynne Robinson will receive a doctor of human letters for her work as an author, the release stated. She won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for her novel “Gilead,” among other prestigious awards.  Her novels, books, essays and articles have earned her a reputation for “rigorous reasoning and a salient moral vision, often drawing from biblical narrative,” the release stated.


Morton Schapiro will receive a doctor of laws for his work as an expert on the economics of higher education and college finances and affordability, according to the release. Schapiro is currently serving as the 16th president of Northwestern University. He began his career as a faculty member at Williams College in Massachusetts in 1980 and left in 1991 for the University of Southern California, where he taught and served in administrative posts, the release stated. 


Kenneth Stinson, a 1964 Notre Dame graduate, parent and member of the board of trustees, will receive a doctor of laws, according to the release. Stinson is chairman emeritus of Peter Kiewit Sons Inc., a large construction firm, the release stated. He earned his graduate degree from Stanford University before serving three years in Vietnam with the U.S. Navy Civil Engineering Corps.


Saint Mary’s College’s commencement speaker, Kyle Zimmer, and Jennifer Mathile Prikkel will receive the two honorary degrees awarded at the College’s May 18 commencement ceremony, according to a press release issued March 22. 


Zimmer will receive a doctor of humanities for her work as president and CEO of First Book, a non-profit that provides new books to children in need, the release stated. Zimmer was named president in 1995 and under her leadership, “First Book has distributed more than 100 million books to children in thousands of communities in the United States,” the release stated. 


Prikkel will receive a doctor of humanities at the ceremony, according to the release. She served on the College’s Board of Trustees from 2002 to 2011, and in 2003 she founded the Spes Unica Award for women attending Saint Mary’s, according to the release. She is also founder and president of Bridging Hope Farms in Dayton, Ohio.