Campus News

May 17, 2010

Five awarded honorary degrees

(Top row, from left) Jim Wagner, Donald Berwick, James Wolfensohn, Ben Johnson; (Bottom row, from left) Arnold Schwarzenegger, Melissa Fay Greene, and Rev. Joseph Lowery

A civil rights icon, a renowned health care expert, an award-winning writer and a former leader of the World Bank were recognized with honorary degrees during Emory's 165th commencement ceremony May 10.

In addition to keynote speaker California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who received an honorary doctor of laws degree, degree recipients include:

* Donald M. Berwick, president and CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, recently nominated by President Barack Obama to lead the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. He is one of the nation's leading authorities on health care quality and improvement and received a doctor of science degree;

* Award-winning author Melissa Fay Greene, who received a doctor of letters degree;

* Rev. Joseph Lowery, longtime civil rights leader, who received a doctor of divinity degree; and

* Former World Bank president James D. Wolfensohn, chairman of Wolfensohn & Company, LLC, who received a doctor of humane letters degree.

As a global leader in health care, Berwick complements Emory's own accomplishments and steadfast commitment to quality global healthcare.  In 2006, Emory Hospital participated in Berwick's 100,000 Lives Campaign, a nationwide initiative to reduce morbidity and mortality in American health care.  He has worked closely with Emory faculty, the Center for Disease Control, and the Task Force for Child Survival and Development.  He is described by colleagues as a "combination of the very best of science with impeccable integrity and decency."

Green, a Georgia journalist and writer, is the author of the award-winning "Praying for Sheetrock," "The Temple Bombing," "Last Man Out" and "There is No Me Without You." Greene is a regular contributor to The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, The Atlantic and Life, among many others. She has participated in panels on journalism and social justice at Emory, and in 2007, she delivered the Rollins School of Public Health commencement keynote address.

Lowery is referred to as the "Dean of the Civil Rights Movement." Lowery shares Emory's United Methodist roots and traditions and has spent most of his life applying United Methodist teachings and values to fight for racial justice and human rights.  He upholds all of the ideals Emory is committed to through the university's Race & Difference Initiative. He bridges the past to the present, embraces new approaches and seeks to pass the torch to the next generation. In 2006, Emory's Manuscript and Rare Book Library acquired the Southern Christian Leadership Conference papers, which includes Lowery's SCLC papers.

Schwarzenegger, a world-famous athlete and actor serving his second term as governor of California, was honored as a public servant, environmentalist and philanthropist. “Your service on behalf of inner-city school children mirrors Emory’s own commitment to community building and education. Your deep involvement in Special Olympics echoes Emory’s own long engagement with Georgia Special Olympics. Your leadership of California to the vanguard of mitigating global warming and environmental degradation places you in solidarity with Emory’s own initiatives toward sustainability and a green campus,” said President Jim Wagner in conferring Schwarzenegger’s doctor of laws degree.

Wolfensohn has strongly supported The Carter Center's Global Development Initiative on identifying practical ways to bridge the gap between the rich and poor to promote development of the poorest nations. This partnership model of development focused on assisting governments, the private sector, civil society and international donors in devising country-owned strategies for sustainable development and democracy, and resulted in the Center implementing on-the-ground work in four partner countries: Albania, Guyana, Mali and Mozambique.  Many of these same approaches are evident at Emory's Institute of Developing Nations.  During his tenure, the World Bank became the largest external financier of primary education, basic health, HIV/AIDS programs, the environment and biodiversity. Wolfensohn's work exemplifies the Goizueta Business School's mission of creating business leaders who lead with vision, values and ethics.

Honorary degrees are given for achievements of the highest distinction in a field of learning, the arts, the professions, or public service, especially those achievements that showcase or contribute to the life of the mind and human spirit.

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