February 17, 2011
An innovative sculptor, a modern day philosopher, the nation's top security adviser and one of the foremost experts on depression will be recognized with honorary degrees during Emory's 166th Commencement ceremony May 9.
Keynote speaker Janet Napolitano, former governor of Arizona and current U.S. Homeland Security Secretary, will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree. In addition to Napolitano, the three other recipients being honored include:
• Depression expert William R. Beardslee, who will receive an honorary doctor of science degree;
• World-renowned philosopher Martha Nussbaum, who will receive an honorary doctor of humane letters degree; and
• Sculptor and landscape artist George Trakas, who will receive an honorary doctor of humane letters.
Beardslee has produced groundbreaking research on the protective effects of self-understanding in helping young people and adults to cope with adversity, and has studied self-understanding in civil rights workers, survivors of cancer, and children of parents with affective and depressive disorders.
He is director of the Baer Prevention Initiatives, chairman emeritus of the Department of Psychiatry at Children's Hospital in Boston, and the Gardner/Monks Professor of Child Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He also is a senior scientist at the Judge Baker Children's Center in Boston. He has collaborated with Emory faculty in his research, and his father, William A. Beardslee, was a longtime religion professor at Emory.
He is the author of more than 175 articles and chapters and two books, including "The Way Out Must Lead In: Life Histories in the Civil Rights Movement," a story of what enables civil rights workers to endure, and "Out of the Darkened Room: Protecting the Children and Strengthening the Family When a Parent Is Depressed," a book about how parents and caregivers can help families overcome the effects of depression.
Nussbaum is one of the world's most renowned contemporary philosophers and public scholars. She specializes in moral and political philosophy and ethics, as well as ancient Greek and Roman philosophy. She is the Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of Chicago, and holds appointments in the philosophy department, law school and divinity school there.
She is the author of "The Fragility of Goodness: Luck and Ethics in Greek Tragedy and Philosophy," which addresses questions about the meaning and vulnerability of life and luck. She also has contributed important scholarship in the areas of feminism, international policy, global justice, animal rights and the humanities.
Her other books include "Cultivating Humanity: A Classic Defense of Reform in Liberal Education," "Liberty of Conscience: In Defense of America's Tradition of Religious Equality," "Hiding from Humanity: Disgust, Shame and the Law" and "From Disgust to Humanity: Sexual Orientation and Constitutional Law," among others.
Trakas is an internationally recognized sculptor and environmental artist. A native of Quebec, Canada, Trakas is among the leading artists of his generation working in the landscape.
Widely acclaimed for numerous projects in North America and Western Europe during the past 30 years, Trakas' installations typically incorporate a functional response to a particular site or environment. Recent major works include "Beacon Pointʼ" along the Hudson River in Beacon, N.Y., "Quai des Trois Dents" in Parc du Pilat in Loire, France, and
"Waterfront Nature Walk" in Brooklyn, N.Y.
In much of his work, Trakas recycles local materials and incorporates them into the finished site, providing a strong sense of the character of the original place. Emory is home to one his works, 1979's "Source Route," nestled in a ravine behind the Carlos Museum on campus. Trakas will spend a week on the Emory campus in April to revisit this work with students and faculty.
President Jim Wagner will preside over the Commencement ceremony for about 3,600 graduates.