Find Events Find People Find Jobs Find Sites Find Help Index


March 18, 2002

Alfred Uhry named 2002 commencement speaker

By Michael Terrazas


Alfred Uhry, Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning playwright and a 1954 graduate of Druid Hills High School, will deliver the main address at this year’s Commencement exercises, to be held May 13.

Best known for the Academy Award-winning screenplay for the 1989 film Driving Miss Daisy, which he adapted from his play of the same name, Uhry donated his papers to Woodruff Library’s Special Collections in 1999. He also has been working with the Playwriting Center at Theater Emory since 1996.

Other Uhry works include The Robber Bridegroom (1975); the screenplay for Mystic Pizza (1988); the Tony Award-winning The Last Night of Ballyhoo (1996), commissioned for the Cultural Olympiad of the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta; and the 1999 Tony Award winner Parade, based on the lynching of Atlanta’s Leo Frank.

As is the custom with Emory’s Commencement speakers, Uhry also will receive an honorary degree from the University. Other 2002 honorary degree recipients include:

Benoit Mandelbrot. Professor of mathematical sciences at Yale University, Mandelbrot is an international prize-winning mathematician and physicist whose “fractal sets” have influenced disciplines from ecology to music to statistical mechanics. Among his many awards include the Field Medal, which is often called the Nobel Prize for mathematics. A broadly educated and cultured man, Mandelbrot also is an opera buff and wine expert.

Mamphela Ramphele. Managing director of the World Bank since 2000, Ramphele is former vice chancellor (president) of the University of Cape Town, the first black woman to hold such a post at a South African university. She earned a medical degree at University of Natal in 1972 and also holds a doctorate in social anthropology from the University of Cape Town. Ramp-hele has lectured at Emory previously on race and gender issues.

Hugh Thompson and Larry Colburn. Together with the late Glenn Andreotta, Thompson and Colburn risked their lives on March 16, 1968, to save Vietnamese civilians at My Lai who were being slaughtered by U.S. Army forces, operating under orders to kill everyone in the village. Thompson and his helicopter crew confronted Lt. William Calley and airlifted the surviving villagers away from the danger.