Nov. 7, 1996
Vol. 16, No. 5

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    Gray, two alumni honored at convocation

    Former President awarded honorary degree The success of the Campaign for the Next Century was celebrated at a special convocation on Oct. 26, during which former President Hanna Gray was awarded an honorary degree and two graduates of the College, Lindy Bergman and Max Palevsky, received the University of Chicago Medal for their devotion to the institution.

    The convocation, which included an address by Nobel laureate Gary Becker, University Professor in Economics, was part of a day-long campaign celebration. The five-year campaign, which ended June 30, raised $676 million, surpassing its goal by $26 million. The campaign's initial goal of $500 million was raised to $650 million in February 1995. (See special supplement in this issue.)

    Gray, the Harry Pratt Judson Distinguished Service Professor in History and in the College, served from 1978 to 1993 as the 10th president of the University. During her tenure she left an indelible legacy at the University, from her guidance of graduate education reform and the creation of the Science Quadrangle -- framed by Crerar Library, Kersten Physics Teaching Center and the Biological Sciences Learning Center and Jules F. Knapp Medical Research Building -- to the centennial celebration and the launching of the Campaign for the Next Century.

    Gray is also known for her teaching and in June received the Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching.

    In addition to her contributions to the University, Gray is a prominent national spokesperson on behalf of private independent higher education. She has received numerous honors and awards for these efforts, including the Medal of Liberty in 1986, the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1991 and the National Endowment for the Humanities' Charles Frankel Prize in 1993.

    Gray had been serving as provost and acting president of Yale when she was chosen to become president of the University of Chicago. She also has taught at Bryn Mawr, Harvard and Northwestern, where she was Dean of Arts and Sciences. Before moving to Northwestern, Gray taught at Chicago for 12 years. She received her B.A. degree from Bryn Mawr in 1950 and her Ph.D. from Harvard in 1957.

    "She is an extraordinary leader, a distinguished public servant, a legendary teacher and a devoted scholar," said Richard Saller, Dean of the Division of the Social Sciences, whose remarks preceded the honorary-degree presentation. "Her passion for teaching in the classroom translated itself into a commitment to communicate with others, at other educational institutions, in government and private corporations, about the mission of a great research university -- and why it is so essential."

    The University of Chicago Medal, conferred upon Lindy Bergman and Max Palevsky, recognizes distinguished service to the University over an extended period of time. The award is among the highest honors the University can bestow. Since its establishment in 1976, it has been awarded to only seven other individuals.

    Bergman, a 1935 graduate of the Laboratory Schools and a 1939 graduate of the College, for decades has been a dedicated supporter of the University and the Hospitals. She established the Bergman Gallery, home to the Renaissance Society, in Cobb Hall and led the successful effort to place artwork throughout the corridors of the Hospitals.

    She is a Life Trustee of the Medical Center and Chicago Lying-In Hospital, Vice Chair of the Billings Society and a member of four University advisory boards and two visiting committees.

    Over the years, Bergman and her husband, University Trustee Edwin Bergman (now deceased), supported their many interests in the University in creative and generous ways, including the endowment of the Edwin A. and Betty L. Bergman Distinguished Service Professorship and the Edwin A. Bergman Scholarship in the College. During the Campaign for the Next Century, she has continued that long-term commitment by endowing the Bergman Family Eye Center.

    "The legacy that she and Ed created, and that she continues to create, will last for many generations," said Trustee Andrew Rosenfield (J.D.'78) in presenting Bergman at the convocation.

    Max Palevsky, who received both his Ph.B. and his S.B. from the University in 1948, has been involved with the University since arriving on campus as a young Army officer to study meteorology during World War II.

    "Max Palevsky has said that his whole life has been shaped by the time he spent as a College student at the University of Chicago," said Life Trustee William Graham (S.B.'32, J.D.'36) in introducing Palevsky at the convocation. "His love of learning and his commitment to the student experience at Chicago have in turn shaped his service to Chicago, profoundly affecting the University he loves so deeply."

    Most recently, a $5 million gift from Ellen and Max Palevsky to the Campaign for the Next Century has created an endowment that will be used to enhance faculty excellence.

    Palevsky has long supported the University in ways that reflect his wide-ranging intellectual interests and his desire to enhance the quality of student life. His best-known gift created the Max Palevsky Cinema in Ida Noyes Hall, which has made his name familiar to students across campus.

    He served as a University Trustee from 1972 to 1982 and has also served on the Visiting Committee to the Library and as a member of the Citizen's Board.