Four honorary degrees at commencement

April 13, 1998

Four honorary degrees at commencement

ANN ARBOR—Four persons—Richard Ford, Mary Lowe Good, Mamphela A. Ramphele and Edward W. Said—will be recommended to receive honorary degrees at the University of Michigan’s commencement exercises May 1-3. The U-M Board of Regents will act on the recommendations at its April 21 meeting.

Ford is a novelist and short story writer; Good is a chemist whose career ranged from academia, to industrial sector and the national government; Ramphele (pronounced ram-Fay-lay) is vice chancellor of the University of Cape Town in South Africa; and Said is University Professor and chair of the Doctoral Program in Comparative Literature at Columbia University.

Ramphele will give the main speech at the Spring Commencement for all undergraduates on May 2 in Michigan Stadium. Honorary degrees will be conferred at this event.

Ford will be the main speaker at the University Graduate Exercises in Hill Auditorium on May 1. Doctoral candidates and Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies master’s degree candidates will be honored at the ceremony.

The U-M’s schools and colleges also will hold their own recognition ceremonies for their graduating students. Altogether, some 6,000 students on the Ann Arbor campus expect their degrees this spring.

Richard Ford, who will receive an honorary doctor of humane letters from U-M, won in 1996 both the PEN-Faulkner Award for Fiction and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for his novel, “Independence Day.” He was a member of the Michigan Society of Fellows in 1971-74, a faculty member in 1975-76, and the Avery Hopwood Memorial Lecturer in 1992 at the U-M. He also taught at Williams college, Princeton University, Harvard University, and is now a visiting professor at Northwestern University. Mary Lowe Good, who will receive an honorary doctor of engineering degree from U-M, taught in the Louisiana State University system for more than 20 years, and then became senior vice president for technology at AlliedSignal. She now is a managing member of Venture Capital Investors, LLC. A trusted science adviser to four U.S. presidents, she was undersecretary of technology in the U.S. Department of Commerce in 1993-97. She also served as a member of the National Science Board for 11 years, including as its chair in 1988-91. Mamphela Ramphele, who will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree from U-M, is a South African university administrator, social anthropologist, social activist and physician. In 1996 she was named vice chancellor of the University of Cape Town (a position equivalent to president in American universities), becoming the first Black woman to head a South African university. She has been an outspoken leader in pre- and post-apartheid efforts to create more democratic and racially representative institutions in South Africa. Edward Said, who will receive an honorary doctor of humane letters degree from U-M, is one of the nation’s most influential cultural critics. His writings have appeared in 26 languages. A Palestinian-American, he was born in Jerusalem and received his Ph.D. degree from Harvard University where he won the Bowdoin Prize. He joined the Columbia University faculty as an instructor in 1963. Today, he is a University Professor, the highest honor Columbia bestows upon a faculty member, and teaches across the fields of history, music, and literature.

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