Brown University News Bureau

The Brown University News Bureau

1995-1996 index

Distributed May 16, 1996
Contact: Tracie Sweeney

Commencement 1996

Brown will award nine honorary degrees at Commencement May 27

Brown will award nine honorary degrees at Commencement this year. Recipients are the Aga Khan, Mary Chapin Carpenter '81, Edward D. Eddy, Timothy Forbes '76, Agnes Gund, Arthur Mitchell, Sandra Day O'Connor, Itzhak Perlman and James Wolfensohn. Several recipients will give Commencement Forums Saturday, May 25.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Nine leaders in the fields of the arts, humanities, international development and law will receive honorary degrees from Brown University at Commencement Monday, May 27. Six of the honorees will be speaking on campus during Commencement Weekend. The recipients are:

The Aga Khan, Doctor of Laws (LL.D)

His Highness the Aga Khan is the 49th hereditary imam, or leader, of the 15 million Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims. As imam, he is the interpreter of matters of faith to the Ismailis, who live in some 25 countries. Since becoming imam in July 1957 at the age of 20, the Aga Khan has taken his responsibilities further to include social, economic and cultural development through what is now known as the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN). In recent years, the AKDN has disbursed an annual average of $100 million for non-profit activities. The funds are provided by the imam and the Ismaili community, and international and local donor agencies.

Mary Chapin Carpenter, Doctor of Music (D.Mus.)

Singer-songwriter Mary Chapin Carpenter has won popular and critical acclaim for her music. After graduating from Brown in 1981 with a degree in American civilization, Carpenter returned to her hometown, Washington, D.C., where she quickly became a fixture on the local music scene. In 1987 she released her first album, "Hometown Girl," which enjoyed critical success. Four albums followed, the most recent of which is the Grammy-winning "Stones in the Road." Among her honors are five Grammy Awards and three Country Music Association Awards.

Edward D. Eddy, Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)

As chairman of the Providence Blueprint for Education (PROBE) and president emeritus of the University of Rhode Island, Edward D. Eddy has been a forceful spokesman for education reform in Rhode Island. He has served in higher education for 50 years, most recently as president and university professor at URI from 1983-1991. After retiring from URI, Eddy became chairman of PROBE, a community-based citizen review of the Providence public schools. In 1993, PROBE issued a far-reaching survey that examined the city schools' strengths and weaknesses and made several recommendations for improvements. The following year, Eddy organized the Providence Education Reform Coalition, an assemblage of some 50 community agencies active in school reform.

Timothy C. Forbes, Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)

Timothy C. Forbes, a trustee of Brown University, is chief operating officer of Forbes Inc. and president of American Heritage, the division of Forbes Inc. that publishes award-winning magazines and books on American history and related topics. Since 1986, when Forbes became president, American Heritage Magazine has experienced rapid growth, with circulation more than doubling and advertising more than quadrupling.

After graduating from Brown in 1976 with an A.B. with honors in semiotics, Forbes became an independent film producer and screenwriter. Several of his films on historical subjects and current affairs were broadcast nationally on PBS. His filmed economic history, "Some Call It Greed," won several awards.

Agnes Gund, Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)

Agnes Gund, a trustee of Brown University, has been a guiding force at The Museum of Modern Art since 1967, most recently as MOMA's president. Throughout that time, she has worked to expand the museum's services to a larger, more diverse public. She also has devoted time to public service, particularly in issues surrounding AIDS research, arts programs and education. As president and founder of the Studio in a School Association, an artist-taught program of fine art for children in New York City schools, Gund's work helped earn a New York State Governor's Arts Award for herself and the program.

Arthur Mitchell, Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)

Arthur Mitchell - dancer, choreographer and educator - has been a pivotal figure in the world of dance for more than four decades. In 1955, he debuted with the New York City Ballet, the first black male dancer to become a permanent member of a major American ballet company. In 1969, with Karel Shook, he founded Dance Theater of Harlem. As its president and artistic director, Mitchell ensures the internationally acclaimed company's solid commitment to enrich lives through performances and a wide range of outreach activities. He continues to oversee all facets of the school, teaching the company and conducting master classes and lectures all over the world.

Sandra Day O'Connor, Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)

Sandra Day O'Connor is the U.S. Supreme Court's 102nd justice and its first female member. Before taking her seat on the Supreme Court, O'Connor was an Arizona assistant attorney general from 1965 to 1969, when she was appointed to a vacancy in the Arizona Senate. She subsequently was reelected to two two-year terms. In 1974, she ran successfully for trial judge, a position she held until 1979 when she was appointed to the Arizona Court of Appeals. President Ronald Reagan nominated her to the Supreme Court in 1981. Since that time, she has written scores of opinions for the court. Her votes are generally conservative, but, according to one writer, "she frequently surprises observers with her political independence."

Itzhak Perlman, Doctor of Music (D.Mus.)

Violinist Itzhak Perlman has been hailed as one of the world's finest performers of the major violin repertoire. Stricken with polio at the age of 4, Perlman nevertheless presented his first public concert in Tel Aviv at the age of 10. Following his studies at the Juilliard School with Ivan Galamian and Dorothy DeLay, Perlman won the prestigious Leventritt Prize in 1964. He has since performed with every major orchestra throughout the world, including several history-making tours with the Israel Philharmonic. His recordings regularly appear on best-seller charts and have won 15 Grammy Awards, and he has appeared on television shows as diverse as Sesame Street to Live from Lincoln Center.

James D. Wolfensohn, Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)

James D. Wolfensohn is the ninth president of the World Bank, an international public lending institution that helps developing countries reduce poverty and promote sustainable development. Since becoming president in June 1995, Wolfensohn has traveled to Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Middle East to deepen his understanding of the challenges facing the World Bank and its constituencies. Before joining the World Bank, Wolfensohn was an international investment banker. He has played an important role in the arts through his work with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., and New York's Carnegie Hall.