Commencement in spite of COVID

Recipients of teaching prizes

Carolyn Roberts, assistant professor of history of science and of medicine, and of African American studies: the Sidonie Miskimin Clauss Prize for teaching excellence in the humanities.

Simon Mochrie, professor of physics: the Dylan Hixon ’88 Prize for teaching excellence in the natural sciences.

Erik Harms, associate professor of anthropology and Southeast Asia studies: the Lex Hixon ’63 Prize for teaching excellence in the social sciences.

Beth Anne Bennett ’91, ’97PhD, lecturer of mechanical engineering and materials science, and patrick devlin, assistant professor of mathematics: the Richard H. Brodhead ’68 Prize for teaching excellence by non-ladder faculty.

Stephen Stearns ’67, Edward P. Bass Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology: the Harwood F. Byrnes/Richard B. Sewall Teaching Prize, for a faculty member who “over a long period of service has inspired a great number of students and consistently fostered the learning process both inside and outside the classroom.”

Recipients of honorary degrees

Ava Duvernay, pathbreaking filmmaker, creator, and critic, who portrays “the richness and variety of human experience from all angles,” brings new stories into focus, and amplifies “voices we need to hear”: Doctor of Fine Arts.

Daniel Todd Gilbert, social psychologist, “fearless investigator, generous teacher,” who applies “the fruits of research to our search for happiness”—exploring memory, imagination, and emotion to help us “look more clearly to the future”: Doctor of Social Science.

Dolores C. Huerta, civil rights advocate, labor leader, community organizer, who has “united people in pursuit of justice” and shown us that “yes, we can change the world”: Doctor of Laws.

Robert Farris Thompson ’55, ’65PhD, the Colonel John Trumbull Professor Emeritus of the History of Art, a “scholar of improvisation, connoisseur of cool,” whose work “celebrates the sights, sounds, and towering achievements of the Black Atlantic”: Doctor of Humanities.

Donald R. Hopkins, one of the foremost experts in disease eradication, a “courageous and brilliant warrior against disease,” who has “purged ancient plagues and delivered healing to millions”: Doctor of Medical Sciences.

Stephen Colbert, “modern day jester,” acclaimed comedian, writer, and talk show host, whose “satires and setups have shaped our culture and our politics,” and turned our attention to urgent issues: Doctor of Humane Letters.

Judy Blume, gifted storyteller, for whom “nothing is off-limits and no taboo is too great,” whose honest voice champions “the freedom to imagine, while encouraging us to love ourselves”: Doctor of Letters.

Nergis Mavalvala, award-winning physicist and pioneer in the detection of gravitational waves and quantum measurement science, an “intrepid explorer” whose work “shifts paradigms and opens new windows onto the universe”: Doctor of Science.

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, revered Jewish thought leader, who championed “dialogue over division,” who “called us to work together to fulfill our responsibilities and heal the world” and “dedicated his life to serving others”: Doctor of Divinity (posthumously).

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