Summer 1999 Emory Magazine

Commencement 1999

"May we here today be exhilarated"

Five Receive Honorary Degrees
154th Commencement Facts

Student Awards
Brittain Award: Cameron N. Welborn '99L
McMullan Award: Brant D. Brown '99C

Ones to Watch
Brian M. Oubre'99C
Katrina R. Samuels '99C
Stephanie M. Denton '99C

Kenya K. Hansford '99B
Jason R. Howard '99B

Oxford College Commencement
Millennial musings
"You have given us yourself"

Five Receive Honorary Degrees

1999 honorary degree recipients included Leontine T. C. Kelly,
Robert B. Reich, Wan-Sang Han, Norman E. Borlaug, and Charles R. Yates

Norman E. Borlaug
In 1970, Norman E. Borlaug received the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in India and Pakistan to promote a "green revolution" in agriculture. Borlaug is credited with helping to develop high-yield, low-pesticide dwarf wheat, which supplies basic sustenance to a large portion of the world's population.

Since 1985, he has been director of The Carter Center's Sasakawa-Global 2000 program to increase crop yields and advise on policies for the transportation, preservation, and distribution of food in Africa. He has taught at the University of Minnesota and Cornell University, and at Emory as an adjunct professor.

The Atlantic Monthly wrote in January 1997: "Perhaps more than anyone else, Borlaug is responsible for the fact that throughout the postwar era, except in sub-Saharan Africa, global food production has expanded faster than the human population, averting the mass starvations that were widely predicted."

Eminent Agronomist, Green Revolutionary: Seeking new alliances between nature and human ingenuity, you have saved, by some estimates, one billion people from death by famine. Devoting your life to work in developing lands, you have struggled against tradition, bureaucracy, self-interest of comfortable critics, and apathy of the affluent and well-fed, while calling our attention to starving continents. Your quiet but heroic passion has benefited natural as well as human ecology, slowing deforestation and diminishing use of pesticides. Not content to feed an exploding population, you also raise a cautionary voice about its limits. Now, at an age when others have long retired, you continue in the idealistic but pragmatic effort to rescue Africa from human misery. For your vision, persistence, and use of science for humanitarian ends, we bestow on you the degree of Doctor of Science, honoris causa.


Wan-Sang Han '67PhD
Scholar and Korean public figure Wan-Sang Han is president of Korea National Open University, a distance-learning institution he established in 1994.

Han holds a B.A. and M.A. in sociology from Seoul University and a Ph.D. in sociology from Emory University. In 1970, he became associate professor at Seoul University and full professor in 1984.

A brave and courageous dissident in his native land, Han fought for democratic change at a time when his country's government was still authoritarian. In 1981, then-Emory University President James T. Laney brought Han to Emory as a visiting professor, in part to ensure Han's personal safety. Han went on to serve as deputy prime minister and as the minister of the unification of the Republic of Korea in 1993.

Son of Emory, Statesman, Scholar: Leaving your homeland as a young man, you journeyed in the steps of your great countryman of a century ago, Yun Ch'i-Ho, and like him found your way to Methodist Emory. Compiling a brilliant academic record, you returned, like Yun, to serve your nation as educator, cabinet member, and ardent freedom-lover. Imprisoned for your efforts to help establish a firmer footing for democracy in Korea, you bear testimony to the price paid by scholarship and truth in the face of authoritarianism. Now turning your energy and mind to a different but no less challenging frontier, you demonstrate the potential for opening society further by the wedded power of technology and information. You add luster to the unique and long-distinguished roll of Korean graduates of Emory. It is thus with pride and historical recollection that we bestow on you the degree of Doctor of Letters, honoris causa.


Leontine T. C. Kelly
Leontine T. C. Kelly, the first African-American woman to be elected to the episcopacy of the United Methodist Church, was also without precedent in being elected from a jurisdiction outside the one in which she lived.

Kelly was born in Washington, D.C., to a prominent Methodist minister father and a mother who was an outspoken advocate for women and the African-American community. After receiving a B.A. from Virginia Union University in 1960, she taught public school for eight years before beginning a second career in ministry.

While serving the Galilee Church in the Virginia Annual Conference, she was ordained a deacon by Bishop William R. Cannon in 1972. Kelly served in the San Francisco area from 1984 until her retirement in 1992. She holds an M.Div. from Union Theological Seminary.

Teacher, Pastoral Leader, Bishop: Reared in a parsonage as a preacher's kid, you vowed never to marry a minister but found yourself surprised by the call to become one. Trained as a teacher, you instruct us in unraveling the perplexities of human community. Courageously you made a second career in middle age, bringing to the work of the church critical wisdom, winning humor, undaunted faithfulness. You have opened important dialogues on critical issues--violence, poverty, racism, sexuality, illiteracy--building bridges between those with power and those without. Your strong prophetic life inspires young people to serve, women to minister, the powerless to claim their authority, and schools and universities to see more clearly the way to moral leadership. For your deep faith, commitment to others, and determination to live with mind, heart, and eyes wide open, we bestow on you the degree of Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa.


Robert B. Reich
Secretary of Labor during the first Clinton administration, Robert B. Reich is University Professor and Maurice B. Hexter Professor of Social and Economic Policy at Brandeis University.

A strong proponent for American workers, Reich led the implementation of the Family and Medical Leave Act, as well as the U.S. Department of Labor's crack-down on unsafe work sites and fraudulent purveyors of pensions and health insurance.

He is the author of seven books, including Locked in the Cabinet, as well as more than two hundred articles on the global economy, the changing nature of work, and the importance of human capital. He holds bachelor's and master's degrees from Dartmouth College, a master's degree from Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, and a J.D. from Yale University.

Trenchant Observer of America's Political Economy: With wit, hard work, and acute intelligence, you have crafted a thirty-year career traversing the boundary between academe and government. By your presence in each of these spheres, you have restored to both a measure of their former honor as the pinnacles of service to the common good. You hold steadily before us the laudable conviction that worth has moral as well as economic weight, and that the human spirit will labor to accomplish the good to which it is permitted to aspire. You remind us of the implicit social compact on which America was built--the agreement that those who need each other must also look after each other. For your keen analysis, clear voice, and courage in holding high standards aloft, we gratefully bestow on you the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.


Charles R. Yates
Atlantan Charles R. Yates retired from a successful business career in 1973, only to take up a second career as a volunteer in the arts and humanities. He was president of the Atlanta Arts Alliance, which later became the Woodruff Arts Center. For twenty years, he has led the program for the Robert T. Jones Jr. Scholarship, one of Emory's most highly prized and eagerly sought honors.

In 1966, Yates recruited Robert Shaw to be conductor and choral leader of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. The two were golfing friends and remained close until Shaw's death in 1999. A passionate golfer since the age of five, when he tagged along with the great Bobby Jones '29L, Yates won the 1938 British Amateur. He is a 1935 graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Civic Leader, Patron of the Arts, Adopted Son of Emory: Drawing on lifelong friendships forged in fairways and on greens, you have helped Emory and the University of Saint Andrews establish more enduring and satisfying links. Aided by your inspiration and wisdom, the Bobby Jones Scholarships have taken their place as Emory's preeminent international program for students. For three decades the guiding spirit in the arts community of Atlanta, you have left your stamp on three great institutions--helping to build the High Museum, to endow the Woodruff Arts Center, and to lift the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra to international acclaim. Your role in revitalizing the East Lake neighborhood will live in Atlanta history. Acknowledging your origins as a Yellow Jacket, applauding your Masterful pursuit of a green jacket, we humbly bestow on you the gold and royal blue of Emory, with the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.

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