The University of Chicago News Office
June 8, 2004 Press Contact: Julia Morse
(773) 702-8359

University of Chicago grants degrees in traditional colorful ceremonies

Nearly 3000 undergraduate and graduate students will receive degrees this Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the University of Chicago after hearing speeches by two of the nation’s most eminent scholars.

Political scientist John Mearsheimer, Co-director of the University of Chicago’s Program on International Security Policy, will deliver his speech “The United States and the World in the 21st Century” to the first three sessions of graduating students. Then, on Sunday, Nobel Prize-winning economist Gary Becker will address graduates of the Graduate School of Business on the purpose of educating business leaders.

All of the sessions of the University’s 477th Convocation will be held in the Harper Quadrangle, located just south of 58th Street in the center of the campus. Before the ceremonies, students will assemble at the Henry Crown Field House, University Avenue and 56th Street, for a colorful procession including bagpipes, flags, and a parade of faculty in the academic robes and caps of the world’s great universities.

This year’s graduates include:

  • Augustina Naami. Naami, who will receive a master’s degree from the School of Social Service Administration, is an activist for the rights of disabled people in her native Ghana. She came to SSA on a grant from the Ford Foundation and has been studying facilities for the disabled in this country. Naami hopes to use her Chicago education to improve handicap accessibility in her native Ghana.
  • Dongxu Li. Li is significant because he is the 100th student to receive a Ph.D. under the supervision of Stuart Rice, a National Medal of Science Winner, and a world-renowned chemist at Chicago for over forty years. The 72-year-old Rice has trained graduate students who have taken faculty posts at some of the world’s leading universities, such as Columbia University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Cal Tech, and have gone on to lead some of the world’s leading research laboratories.
  • Joan Miller. After leaving the College just over 20 years ago, and after working in a wide variety of careers, including banking, filmmaking, and health care, Miller decided last year to return to college and complete her degree. She’ll receive an A.B. in International Studies from the College on Saturday.

During this year’s convocations, the University will also confer honorary degrees on the former Chairman of the Board of Trustees as well as on five distinguished scholars.

  • Edgar J. Jannotta, Chairman of the Board from 1999 to 2003, continues to serve the University as Chair of the Chicago Initiative, the University’s $2 billion capital campaign. Jannotta, who will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree, is chairman of William Blair and Company and its executive committee.

These scholars will receive honorary degrees:

  • Elizabeth Blackburn will receive a Doctor of Science degree. Blackburn, professor of biochemistry and biophysics at the University of California, San Francisco, has done revolutionary work on chromosomes.
  • Mogens Trolle Larsen will receive a Doctor of Humane Letters degree. Larsen, professor of Assyriology at the University of Copenhagen, has done path-breaking research on economic and historical dynamics of the ancient Assyrian civilization.
  • Hilary Putnam, will receive a Doctor of Humane Letters degree. Putnam, the Cogan professor emeritus in philosophy at Harvard University, has made vast contributions in symbolic logic and many other areas of philosophy.
  • Gilbert Vassart will receive a Doctor of Science degree. Vassart, professor of medical genetics at the Free University of Brussels, has made ground-breaking discoveries in the use of molecular genetics in endocrinology.
  • Trevor Weekes will receive a Doctor of Science degree. Weekes, senior astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, is creator of a new branch of astronomy and astrophysics that studies high energy gamma rays.
  • Craig Wright will receive a Doctor of Humane Letters degree. Wright, professor of music history at Yale University, has done leading work on the genesis of Renaissance musical style.

The first session, to be held at 9 a.m. Friday, will include the bestowing of degrees on students in the Law School, the Irving B. Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies and the School of Social Service Administration. At 3:30 p.m. Friday, graduate students in the Biological Sciences Division, the Pritzker School of Medicine, the Graham School of General Studies, the Humanities Division, the Physical Sciences Division, the Social Sciences Division and the Divinity School will receive their degrees.

Undergraduates in the College will receive their bachelor’s degrees in a ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday, and students in the Graduate School of Business will receive their degrees at 1 p.m. Sunday.

The convocation speaker at the first three sessions is John J. Mearsheimer, the R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science and the Co-Director of the Program on International Security Policy at the University. Mearsheimer writes extensively about security issues and international politics and has completed three books, including 2001’s The Tragedy of Great Power Politics.

The speaker at the final session is Gary S. Becker, who won the Nobel Memorial Prize for Economic Science in 1992, and is the University Professor of Economics and Sociology at the University. Recognized for his expertise in human capital, economics of the family, and economic analysis of crime, discrimination, and population, Becker will deliver his speech titled “Business Schools Within the Universities: The Right Mix.”

For more information on the University’s Convocation, please visit:
Last modified at 04:18 PM CST on Tuesday, June 08, 2004.

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