Said, Sullivan to be awarded honorary degrees
The University will confer 316 academic degrees as well as two honorary degrees at the 434th convocation ceremony, to be held in Rockefeller Memorial Chapel at 3 p.m. Friday, March 18.
The convocation speaker is Elizabeth Helsinger, Professor in English. The title of her talk is "Outside, Over There."
Honorary degrees will be conferred on Edward Said, the Old Dominion Foundation Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University, and Barry Sullivan, former Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the University of Chicago.
Said, who for the past 30 years has taught English and comparative literature at Columbia, is a leading scholar in the fields of literary and cultural studies. He is the author of 13 books and more than 175 articles. He is perhaps best known for his book "Orientalism" (1978), considered a key text in the area of colonial and post-colonial studies, in which he addresses the development in Western European cultures of ideas and images about the Arab world.
"Said's work created a whole new paradigm for research in the humanities," said W.J.T. Mitchell, the Gaylord Donnelley Distinguished Service Professor in English Language & Literature and editor of Critical Inquiry. "His way of looking at the history of Western civilization and literature in relation to the Third World prompted the academic world to take Third World literature seriously as a powerful cultural presence in the West. He has shown how literature and the arts -- indeed, cultural productions of all sorts -- are central to the ways new nations define themselves."
Said's first major book, "Beginnings" (1975) attempted to resolve the conflict between social and philosophical theory and more traditional scholarship, such as philology and literary history. His later work, including "The World, The Text and the Critic" (1985), has focused on the historical, cultural and institutional life of literary art.
Said has received numerous academic honors and has held positions on the editorial boards of several academic journals, including Critical Inquiry and Diacritics. He received his A.B. in 1957 from Princeton and his A.M in 1960 and his Ph.D. in 1964 from Harvard.
Sullivan, former Chairman of the Board and CEO at First National Bank of Chicago, has had a long and distinguished association with the University since he received his M.B.A. from the Graduate School of Business in 1957. A trustee of the University since 1980, he was Vice Chairman of the Board from 1985 to 1989 and Chairman from 1989 to 1992.
He has been active as a volunteer and fundraiser for the University since the 1960s, serving as a member of the GSB Alumni Council from 1964 to 1972, as a member of the Alumni Cabinet from 1970 to 1973, as a volunteer for the Campaign for Arts & Sciences and as the National Chairman of the University's 1983 capital campaign.
From 1957 until 1980, he worked at Chase Manhattan Bank, becoming Vice President in 1964 and in 1972 becoming the youngest Executive Vice President in the bank's history. In 1980 he became Chairman of the Board and CEO at First National Bank of Chicago.
In 1992, Sullivan returned to his native New York City to become Deputy Mayor for Finance and Economic Development. Recently, he became President and CEO of the New York City Partnership Inc. and the New York Chamber of Commerce Inc.