Marsalis, Bienen to receive honorary degrees

Alexandra Finkel

Outgoing Northwestern President Henry Bienen, outgoing Chairman of NU’s Board of Trustees Patrick Ryan and five others will receive honorary degrees at the university’s 151st commencement on June 19, the university announced Wednesday.

Bienen and Ryan both will receive Doctor of Humane Letters degrees to honor their 14 years at NU as president and chairman, respectively.

Associated Student Government Academic Director Muhammad Safdari said Bienen’s honorary degree was an important gesture.

“It’s good to see President Bienen leave Northwestern with the recognition he deserves as the distinguished president of the university,” the Weinberg junior said.

Legendary jazz musician Wynton Marsalis, who will deliver the commencement address, will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Arts degree.

Four other distinguished scholars will receive honorary Doctor of Science degrees:

Columbia University professor Jeanne Brooks-Gunn has written more than 500 publications, four books and 12 edited volumes in the area of childhood development. Her current research focuses on creating and evaluating policies that attempt to enhance the lives of children living in poverty.

Norwegian-American entrepreneur and philanthropist Fred Kavli will also receive an honorary degree. Kavli’s foundation has worked to increase public understanding and support for scientists and their work in the areas of astrophysics, nanoscience and neuroscience.

Prof. H. Eugene Stanley, the director of the Center for Polymer Studies at Boston University, has received six other honorary degrees from universities across the world.

Lonnie G. Thompson, a distinguished professor at Ohio State University’s Department of Geological Sciences, has achieved international acclaim for his research and work with mountain glaciers and ice caps in tropical and sub-tropical sections of the world.

“It’s great that the university is able to recognize eminent scholars and accomplished community members both at Northwestern and at other institutions,” Safdari said.