June 8, 1995
Vol. 14, No. 19

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    2,175 degrees to be conferred at Convocation

    A total of 2,175 degrees will be conferred upon students, and five world-renowned scholars will receive honorary degrees during Spring Convocation ceremonies on Friday, June 9, and Saturday, June 10, in Rockefeller Memorial Chapel.

    Kenneth Polonsky, Professor in Medicine and Section Chief of Endocrinology, will deliver the Convocation address, "The Use and Misuse of Personal Information in a Technological Age," at each of the four sessions. In addition, University Trustee Joseph Neubauer (M.B.A.'65), chairman and chief executive officer of Aramark Corporation, will speak at Convocation ceremonies for the Graduate School of Business on Friday evening (see Convocation schedule on page 8).

    Graduating seniors Rebecca Feldman, Andrew Spellman and Andrea Wood will deliver remarks at the College session on Saturday.

    Degrees to be conferred include 680 bachelor's degrees, 689 M.B.A.s, 439 master's degrees, 174 J.D.s, 98 M.D.s and 108 Ph.D.s.

    Honorary degrees will be awarded to five of the most distinguished scholars in their fields -- statistician Bradley Efron, linguist Thomas Gamkrelidze, music theorist David Lewin, cluster-science pioneer Richard Smalley and economist Robert Wilson -- at the Friday afternoon session for the graduate divisions, the Pritzker School of Medicine and the Master of Liberal Arts degree recipients.

    Efron, widely regarded as the most original and innovative statistician of his generation, will receive the Doctor of Science degree. He is professor in the department of statistics and the department of health research and policy at Stanford. He will be presented by Peter McCullagh, Professor and Chairman of Statistics.

    Efron is regarded as the inventor of the bootstrap form of computer-intensive re-sampling for solving distributional problems connected with statistical inference, and his article on the topic is among the most influential papers on statistics in the 20th century.

    Gamkrelidze, best known for his contributions to the study of historical linguistics, will receive the Doctor of Humane Letters degree. He is director of the Tsereteli Institute of Oriental Studies of the Academy of Sciences of Georgia and a professor at Tbilisi State University, Republic of Georgia. He will be presented by Howard Aronson, Professor in Slavic Languages & Literatures and Linguistics.

    Together with V.V. Ivanov, Gamkrelidze produced a monumental reanalysis of the Indo-European protolanguage that fundamentally revised the phonological system of the protolanguage and presented a radical new hypothesis on the original homeland of the Indo-Europeans. In addition, he has produced groundbreaking work on the history of the Kartvelian (South Caucasian) language family.

    Lewin, whose work has fundamentally transformed the field of music theory over the past 35 years, will receive the Doctor of Humane Letters degree. Lewin is professor of music at Harvard. He will be presented by Richard Cohn, Associate Professor in Music.

    Lewin's development of transformational networks as models for 20th-century atonal repertories has given scholars a means to explore how atonal composers engage musical time and how their music acquires power to "move" listeners. His work has forged links between the studies of tonal and atonal repertories, of harmony and rhythm, demonstrating the permeability of long-standing boundaries in music theory.

    Smalley, whose research in physical chemistry established the field of cluster science, will receive the Doctor of Science degree. Smalley is the Gene and Norman Hackerman Professor of Chemistry at Rice University. He will be presented by Donald Levy, the Ralph and Mary Otis Isham Professor in the James Franck Institute.

    Most of the techniques used in cluster science -- the study of aggregates of tens to hundreds of atoms or molecules -- had their origins in Smalley's laboratory. His most spectacular and well-known work is the discovery of C60 (popularly known as Buckyball), the first of a new family of carbon compounds. His insight and definitive experiments have been the basis for scientists' current understanding of this third form of carbon.

    Wilson, a pre-eminent economist who has made fundamental contributions to some of the most important areas of economics and decision sciences, will receive the Doctor of Laws degree. Wilson is the Atholl McBean Professor of Economics at Stanford. He will be presented by Nancy Stokey, Professor in Economics.

    Wilson has made significant contributions in the areas of auctions and price formation, the theory of the firm, the behavior of syndicates, game theory, incentive problems and information economics. His work demonstrates the power of abstract economic theory for describing and understanding important real-world phenomena and is considered a model of how economic science can contribute to answering questions about how individual incentives and social institutions interact to form the world we see.