8 Recipients of Honorary Degrees, Baldwin Medal, Alumnus Award

Olivia DrakeMay 27, 200712min
Posted 05/27/07
Wesleyan’s 75th Commencement Ceremonies were held on Sunday, May 27.

Wesleyan conferred: 731 bachelor degrees, 25 master of arts degrees, 58 master of arts in liberal studies degrees and 14 Ph.D. degrees.

During that ceremony, the following people received honorary degrees:

Jewel Plummer Cobb is renowned as a teacher, a research biologist, and an advocate for the participation of women and members of minority groups in the sciences. A graduate of Talladega College, she earned her Ph.D. in cell physiology at New York University. Her scientific research has centered on factors influencing the growth, morphology, and genetic expression of normal and neoplastic pigment cells and on the changes produced in vitro by chemotherapeutic agents, by hormones, and by other agents known to disrupt cell division. She taught at NYU, Sarah Lawrence College, and Connecticut College before becoming dean of the college at Connecticut, then dean of Douglass College, and finally president of California State University at Fullerton. Currently president and professor of biological science, emerita, at Fullerton, Dr. Cobb continues to be active in promoting science education programs for minority youth and in promoting the greater representation of women in science. In 1993 the National Science Foundation honored her with a Lifetime Achievement Award for Contributions to the Advancement of Women and Underrepresented Minorities.

Alan M. Dachs ’70, P’98 served 14 years as a member of the Wesleyan University Board of Trustees and eight years as Board chair. In his role as chair of the Board, he led the fundraising for the Wesleyan Campaign, helping the institution to raise a record-breaking $281 million for academic programs and new faculty positions, financial aid, and an ambitious program of campus renewal. Through his close partnership with President Douglas J. Bennet, he helped to guide Wesleyan in its strategic planning and in promoting Wesleyan’s reputation for academic excellence. Mr. Dachs is a staunch advocate for the value of liberal arts education and a tireless proponent of Wesleyan. He was elected trustee emeritus and chair emeritus in 2005 upon his retirement from the Board. Mr. Dachs is a member of the boards of directors of the Bechtel Group and the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation. He currently serves on the boards of The Brookings Institution and The Conference Board and on the Corporation Visiting Committee for the Engineering Systems Division of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He recently was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Mr. Dachs also serves as chair of the University’s Development Committee. He is president and chief executive officer of the Fremont Group, a private investment company based in San Francisco. Mr. Dachs and his wife, Laurie, have four children and two grandchildren. Their son, Eric, is a member of Wesleyan’s Class of 1998.

Rosa DeLauro was elected to Congress from Connecticut’s Third District in 1990 and is currently serving her ninth term. She sits on the House Appropriations and Budget committees. In addition to her work on the full committees, Representative DeLauro chairs the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, which is responsible for funding the Food and Drug Administration and the Food Stamps program. She also sits on the Labor – Health, Human Services – Education and Commerce – Justice – Science Subcommittees. DeLauro has built a reputation as an advocate for economic development, healthcare and education. She has been a strong proponent for student aid, advocating such measures as increasing the size of Pell Grants in order to restore their purchasing power, allowing the consolidation of student loan debt and cutting interest rates to make student borrowing more affordable, and defending against cuts in programs that help to increase students’ access to college , such as Upward Bound and TRIO. A frequent visitor to Wesleyan’s campus and to Middletown, DeLauro has shown herself eager to meet and talk with faculty and students. She has strongly supported Wesleyan’s efforts to establish and fund the Green Street Arts Center. Since she first came to Congress in 1990, DeLauro has put every pay raise she has received toward a scholarship program she founded in memory of her late father. To date, her scholarships have helped 420 students further their educations.

Jim Lehrer (who also gave the principal address at commencement) has anchored The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer on the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) since 1995. Lehrer joined PBS in 1972, teaming with Robert MacNeil in 1973 to cover the Senate Watergate hearings. They began in 1975 what became The MacNeil/Lehrer Report, and, in 1983, The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour, the first 60-minute evening news program on television. Lehrer has been honored with numerous awards for journalism, including a presidential National Humanities Medal in 1999. In the last five presidential elections, he moderated 10 of the nationally televised candidate debates. Lehrer has written 15 novels, his latest, The Franklin Affair, published in April 2005. He also has written two memoirs and three plays. His daughter, Lucy Lehrer, is a member of Wesleyan’s Class of 1985.

Nobutaka Machimura, former Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs, currently serves as a member of the Japanese House of Representatives representing Hokkaido 5th District. As foreign minister of Japan from September 2004 to October 2005, his efforts were directed toward signing a treaty with Russia resolving a border dispute and toward investigating the whereabouts of Japanese hostages who had been kidnapped by North Korean agents during the 1970s and 1980s. Educated in economics at the University of Tokyo, he attended Wesleyan for one year as an exchange student. His career in public service has included appointments to the Japanese Ministry of International Trade and Industry, the National Land Agency, the Japan External Trade Organization, and the Agency of Natural Resources and Energy (from which he retired as director of the planning division for petroleum). He also served as minister of Education, Science, Sports and Culture and director of the National Defense Division of the Policy Research Council. He has been elected to seven terms in the Japanese House of Representatives.

Thomas F. Malone, an environmentalist and expert on sustainability, is University Distinguished Scholar Emeritus at North Carolina State University. He has held a tenured faculty appointment at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has been a senior vice president and director of research for the Travelers Insurances Companies, and has been dean of the Graduate School at the University of Connecticut. A past president of Sigma Xi, the American Geophysical Union, and the American Meteorological Society, he has also been foreign secretary of the National Academy of Sciences and a vice president of the International Council for Science (ICSU). Recent publications have included “Toward a Knowledge Society in the Americas,” “A New Agenda for Science and Technology for the Twenty-First Century,” “Reflections on the Human Prospect,” “Global Change, Science and the Human Prospect,” and, with Gary Yohe, “Knowledge Partnership for a Sustainable, Equitable, and Stable Society.” Professor Malone has long been active in issues that combine economic development and environmental quality. He has participated in two environmental conferences at Wesleyan.

In addition:
Robert G. McKelvey, Wesleyan Class of 1959, and a Rhodes Scholar, received the Raymond E. Baldwin Medal. President of the George McKelvey Company, Inc., an investment and advisory firm, McKelvey also serves as a trustee or director for a number of philanthropic organizations, with his commitment to these organizations, ranging from 10 to 35 years.

McKelvey has a long history of dedicated service to Wesleyan. He has served as an alumni-elected trustee, as a Wesleyan charter trustee, and as vice-chairman of the Board of Trustees. During his tenure he chaired the Development Committee and served on the Facilities and Finance Committees, as well as on the Budget and Portfolio Subcommittees. In 1983, at the request of the Board, he became a director of Zygo Corp., a struggling high tech company in which Wesleyan had a small investment. In 1995, Wesleyan sold that holding as one of the university’s most successful investments ever. In 1996 he was elected trustee emeritus. He continued to serve as a member of the Board’s Portfolio Subcommittee until 2005. From 2000-2004, he was also a member of the Development Committee. He continues to be an active leader of Alpha Delta Phi. Throughout the 1970s, he headed the fraternity’s alumni organization as the chapter converted to coeducational membership. In the 1990s, when the Alpha Delt coed chapters broke with the national to form a coeducational Alpha Delt national, he returned to lead the national organization for its first decade.

Taft Armandroff, Wesleyan Class of 1982, received Wesleyan’s prestigious Distinguished Alumnus Award on May 26. Armandroff is the Director of the W. M. Keck Observatory, leading the organization that operates the world’s two largest optical/infrared telescopes, which are located on the summit of Mauna Kea in Hawaii. Armandroff is a noted research astronomer with a specialty in deciphering the past history of nearby galaxies based on the stars that they contain today and an understanding of how stars evolve. His research has contributed to the recognition that galaxies like the Milky Way have been strongly influenced by past mergers with dwarf galaxies. He is also an expert in astronomical instrumentation, the complex technology that enables astronomers to analyze the faint light from distant stars and galaxies.

To view photos of the recipients, go to :http://www.wesleyan.edu/newsletter/campus/2007/0507commencementphotos.htt.