Lehigh President Alice P. Gast and the university’s Board of Trustees have announced the recipients of honorary degrees at the 2013 commencement exercises May 20.
In addition to an honorary Doctor of Pedagogy degree awarded to commencement speaker and scientist Bill Nye, the following individuals will be honored:
- Mildred Dresselhaus, Institute Professor of Electrical Engineering and Physics at MIT and 1990 U.S. National Medal of Science recipient, will receive the honorary Doctor of Science.
- James Carroll, a Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence at Suffolk University, an author and a columnist for the Boston Globe, will receive the honorary Doctor of Letters.
- Attorney James R. Tanenbaum ‘70, a corporate and securities lawyer and former chair of Lehigh’s Board of Trustees, will receive the honorary Doctor of Laws.
Carroll will also deliver the Baccalaureate address on Sunday, May 19, in Packer Memorial Church.
“Wonderful role models”
Gast said the university bestows honorary degrees to a select few individuals who “serve as inspirations and role models for our students, faculty and staff.
“We look for integrity, intelligence and distinction in our recipients,” she said. “We are privileged to have the opportunity to bring such a wonderful group of honorees to our commencement ceremony this year.”
Keith Gardiner, professor of industrial and systems engineering and head of the Honorary Degree Committee, said the degree recipients “represent a broad spectrum of competencies comprising wonderful models for the Class of 2013.”
Nye will receive his honorary doctorate for his dedication to educating the public about science. Dresselhaus will be honored for her “exemplary activities with the National Academy of Engineering and numerous professional bodies,” Gardiner said. Carroll will be cited for his “plentiful literary output and philosophical contributions” and Tanenbaum for leadership in securities law, for numerous publications and for service to his alma mater.
Illuminating carbon’s electronic properties
Dresselhaus, the co-author of four books on carbon science, directed the Office of Science in the U.S. Department of Energy in 2000-2001 and has received 30 honorary doctorates. She has also served as president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, treasurer of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, president of the American Physical Society, and chair of the Governing Board of the American Institute of Physics.
Her research has advanced understanding of the electronic properties of novel forms of carbon, including nanostructures such as fullerenes, carbon nanotubes, porous carbons, activated carbons and carbon aerogels. She has also studied the electronic properties of other nanostructures, such as bismuth nanowires, and their use in low-dimensional thermoelectricity.
Dresselhaus received the National Medal of Science for her work on the electronic properties of materials and for expanding women’s opportunities in science and engineering. Her other awards include the Enrico Fermi Award from the U.S. government; the Kavli Prize from Norway; the Heinz Award for Technology, the Economy and Employment; the Oersted Medal; and the American Chemical Society Award for Encouraging Women into Careers in the Chemical Sciences.
She is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, the Engineering Sciences Section of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Philosophical Society, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Physical Society, IEEE, the Materials Research Society, the Society of Women Engineers, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Carbon Society.
After receiving her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, Dresselhaus spent two years at Cornell University before joining the staff of Lincoln Laboratories. She became a visiting professor of electrical engineering at MIT in 1967, professor of physics in 1983 and Institute Professor in 1985.
A prolific writer of fiction and nonfiction
Carroll is the author of 10 novels and seven works of non-fiction, including Jerusalem, Jerusalem: How the Ancient City Ignited Our Modern World. He published his first novel, Madonna Red, in 1976. Subsequent novels include the New York Times bestsellers Mortal Friends, Family Trade and Prince of Peace.
His novels The City Below and Secret Father were named Notable Books of the Year by The New York Times, and his essays have appeared in numerous publications. His op-ed page column has run weekly in the Boston Globe since 1992 and also appears in the International Herald Tribune.
Carroll’s memoir, An American Requiem: God, My Father, and the War that Came Between Us, received the 1996 National Book Award in nonfiction. Constantine’s Sword: The Church and the Jews: A History was honored by the Los Angeles Times and the Christian Science Monitor, was named a Notable Book of the Year by The New York Times, and won the Melcher Book Award, the James Parks Morton Interfaith Award and National Jewish Book Award in History.
His eleventh novel, The Sack of Rome, will be published in 2014.
Carroll has served as a Shorenstein Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, a Fellow at the Center for the Study of Values in Public Life at the Harvard Divinity School, a Richman Visiting Professor at Brandeis University, the McDonald Chair at Emory University and a trustee of the Boston Public Library. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
He attended Georgetown University, received his B.A. and M.A. from St. Paul’s College and was ordained to the Catholic priesthood in 1969. He served five years as Catholic chaplain at Boston University, then left the priesthood to become a writer.
An expertise in securities
Tanenbaum is a corporate and securities lawyer and a partner of Morrison & Foerster LLP, one of the world’s largest international law firms. He chairs the firm’s Global Capital Markets practice and is recognized for innovation in structuring complex domestic and international capital market transactions and for developing widely used hybrid techniques for the placement and distribution of securities.
Tanenbaum regularly contributes articles and chapters to law and business books and journals. He is a frequent speaker on capital markets topics at the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA), and at law schools in the United States and abroad.
In 1997, Tanenbaum joined Lehigh’s Board of Trustees. He served as chairman from 2002 to 2007. Under his leadership, the university launched the Shine Forever Campaign and made campus improvements that included the return to a more pedestrian campus and the renovation of venerable buildings such as Linderman Library.
With his wife, Elizabeth Scofield, former managing director of the Zoellner Arts Center, Tanenbaum established the Scholarship for Peace and Democracy in the Middle East at Lehigh. The couple have supported many Lehigh projects, including the A. Haigh Cundey Varsity House, the football coach endowment fund and the Zoellner Arts Center.
Tanenbaum earned a B.A. in political science from Lehigh, an M.A. from Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and a Juris Doctor from the University of Pennsylvania. He is a member of the New York State and American Bar Associations.