1 9 9 8

Four receive honorary degrees


His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, is the exiled spiritual leader of six million Tibetans, who believe him to be the fourteenth earthly incarnation of the Buddhist deity of compassion and mercy.

In 1989, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace for his policies of nonviolence and his peaceful struggle for Tibet's liberation.

Born in 1935 in northeastern Tibet, Tenzin Gyatso was recognized at age two as the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama. His Holiness assumed political power in 1950. He went to Beijing in 1954 and participated in peace talks with Mao Tse-Tung and other Chinese leaders. After Chinese troops suppressed the Tibetan national uprising in Lhasa in 1959, the Dalai Lama was forced into exile. Since then, he has lived in Dharamsala, India, the seat of the Tibetan government-in-exile.

In 1987, he proposed the Five Point Peace Plan as a solution to the deteriorating conditions in Tibet. His vision is to make Tibet "a peace zone in the heart of Asia where all beings can exist in harmony, and where the environment is protected and can flourish for generations to come."

Tenzin Gyatso, which means Ocean of Wisdom: Descending from the Lion's Throne, you walk among your people embodying compassion, reviving hope. We wish for you the view of apricot trees flowering on the road from the Potala to the Norbulingka. Awake, alert, mind ranging far in disciplined curiosity, you build a bridge between East and West for the sake of all who seek enlightenment. A butter lamp we light in veneration. Your principled refusal of the world's too-easy reliance on violence, confrontation, and demand points the path from the wildness of the human heart to the peace of the Tsangpo River flowing through the Land of Snows. The humility and mindfulness of your visage frame a Buddha's smile, tracing bemused and gentle kindness. Pragmatism melds the courage of eagle, the mildness of dove. As we mark, by your visit, the historic affiliation of our two great institutions, Emory and Drepung Loseling, we praise your example while bestowing on you the degree of Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa.


Distinguished biologist Bruce Alberts has made major contributions in the study of DNA replication and science education. He wrote the leading textbook in cell biology, The Molecular Biology of the Cell.

A biochemistry professor at the University of California at San Francisco and president of the National Academy of Sciences since 1993, Alberts has taken the lead in establishing outreach programs in elementary and secondary schools. His Health Education Partnership program, which links scientists with students, has served as one of the models for Emory's own Elementary Science Education Partners program.

Molecular Biologist, Teacher Alike of Students and Bureaucrats: Despite the blandishments of San Francisco and a tenured post at the laboratory bench and classroom lectern, you accepted the calling of your national colleagues and became an impassioned advocate of the scientific common good. Your important research into DNA replication and your principal authorship of the leading textbook in cell biology distinguish you among science educators. Yet your greatest legacy will be your vision of a generation whose minds were quickened to discovery by the skillful pairing of scientist and teacher working to make learning count. Inspired by your leadership, we proclaim the success of wedding wonder and work at an early age, and we gratefully bestow on you the degree of Doctor of Science, honoris causa.


Phyllis Kravitch, a member of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, is the first woman appointed to a federal judgeship in the Southeast and the third woman in the country appointed as a U. S. Circuit judge.

Born in Savannah, Kravitch has spent much of her life breaking gender barriers. In 1975, she was elected the first woman president of the Savannah Bar Association, and in 1976, she was elected the first woman Superior Court judge in Georgia. Prior to her appointment to the federal bench, Kravitch was active in establishing a shelter for battered women and a rape crisis center in Savannah, and she assisted the Georgia General Assembly in revising family and child-abuse laws.

Daughter of Savannah, Barrier-Breaker, Eminent Jurist: From your father's courageous example you learned first-hand the selflessness required by law's imperious calling. With intellectual vitality and personal probity, you have listened with compassion to the voices of litigants and have rendered judgments crafted with heart from deep scholarship by the fine razor's edge of your mind. You transmuted your personal experience of the leaden, dragging weight of discrimination into golden wisdom to mentor clerks who now teach in the nation's law schools. Always you have visibly demonstrated the honor and dignity inherent in the law, reminding us that the struggle for right must be won daily in numberless small encounters. For your rare and laudable constitutional virtue, we humbly bestow on you the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.


Governor Zell Miller has garnered recognition for Georgia through his education initiatives-from voluntary preschool to the HOPE scholarship. As lieutenant governor, he pioneered Georgia's first statewide kindergarten program. As chair of the National Conference of Lieutenant Governors, he emphasized education and the need for states to be more aggressive in educational reform.

Throughout his career, Miller has formed close associations with Emory. After graduating from Young Harris College, he attended Emory College for two quarters. He also has taught classes in Emory's history and political science departments. His strong budgetary support of the Georgia Research Alliance, which comprises Emory and five other universities, has helped attract eminent scientists and millions of dollars in research funding to Emory.

After completing his second term as governor in 1999, Miller will join the Emory faculty as Presidential Distinguished Fellow in History and Politics.

Son of Georgia's Mountains, Deft Legislator, Exemplary Governor: Born to educators, imbued with the ethos of a college campus, you have made education the hallmark of your career. Elected to the Georgia Senate while still a faculty member, you have shown public service and teaching to be synonymous. Instructing, inquiring, debating, and lecturing-speaking from an expansive heart and a sharply honed mind-you have led by all the skills at a master teacher's command. Your legacy stands unmatched: statewide kindergarten and prekindergarten, the Georgia Research Alliance, a stronger statewide system of higher education, and the pioneering HOPE Scholarship have transformed young lives and attest to your commitment, foresight, and sagacity. As you prepare to embrace private life for the first time in forty years, entering Emory's halls as Professor Miller, we salute you with deep appreciation and respect and bestow on you the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.

Return to main story

Return to Summer 1998 contents page

Return to Emory Magazine home page

Return to Emory University homepage