"The Long Walk" Begins For Class of 1999
President Tom Tritton addressed the audience of students, family, and friends by quoting Nelson Mandela. "After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can rest only for a moment, for with freedom comes responsibilities. And I dare not linger, for my long walk has just begun."Three honorary degree recipients offered advice to the graduates about accepting new responsibilities and enjoying their "long walk."Fay Ajzenberg-Selove, who was awarded an honorary doctor of science degree, reminded the graduates of the truly important things in life. She urged the class of 1999 to choose a career in which they feel passionate about their work and then "go for it"; to take pleasure in good friends and search for someone to share their life; and to do unto others as they would have others do unto them.Ajzenberg-Selove has taught at many institutions, including the University of Pennsylvania where she was the second female ever appointed professor at the university's School of Arts and Sciences. She brought about many historic academic and professional changes for all succeeding women physicists. In 1971, she organized the first session of the American Physical Society meeting to deal with women in physics and became a founding member of the Society's Committee on Women in Physics, marking the beginning of the women's movement in the Society. She produced a series of papers entitled, Energy Levels of Light Nuclei, on the experimental properties of the light nuclei. A member of the Haverford College faculty from 1957 to 1970, she wrote an autobiography, A Matter of Choices: Memoirs of a Female Physicist. While Ajzenberg-Selove applauded the accomplishments of the graduating class, Randall Kennedy, who received an honorary doctor of laws, recognized the contributions and sacrifices of the graduates' parents. A professor at Harvard Law School who writes about African-American issues for many publications, Kennedy lauded the "tremendous amount of responsibility they take on...the emotion that goes with standing behind a young person, contributing, leading that person along the right path."After clerking for Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, he became a member of the American Law Institute, the Massachusetts Board of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws and the Bar of the District of Columbia. He is a faculty advisor to the Harvard College Charles Hamilton Houston Black Pre-Law Society and is on the editorial board of The Nation and The American Prospect and is editor of Reconstruction, a journal dedicated to African-American affairs.The third individual who received an honorary doctor of letters was Daniel Schorr, the award-winning broadcaster and senior news analyst for National Public Radio. Schorr warned the graduates against "celebritihood" and the "world of fantasy, sound bites, spin control and perception." He noted that celebrity is transient, "an unreal thing that will disappear with the morning dew," and that the graduates should reject it. "Fame is what others confer on you if you really do something great, especially something great for humanity," he said.During his half-century career in broadcasting, Schorr received numerous awards for his journalistic excellence and his defense of the First Amendment. As CBS chief Watergate correspondent, he won three Emmy Awards but discovered his own name on President Nixon's "enemies list," evidence that Nixon had ordered an FBI investigation of him. In 1979 Ted Turner enlisted Schorr to help create the Cable News Network. He served as CNN's senior Washington correspondent until 1985. He currently interprets national and international events on NPR's "Weekend Edition Saturday" and "Sunday" and "All Things Considered."