The University of Pennsylvania Will Award Honorary Degrees to Five at May 17 Commencement

Monday, April 5, 1999

PHILADELPHIA --- The University of Pennsylvania will confer honorary degrees on five men and women at the 243rd Commencement on Monday, May 17, according to University President Judith Rodin.

The Honorable Robert E. Rubin, who will deliver the commencement address, will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree, honoris causa, for "redefining the role of the Secretary of the Treasury, blending economics and diplomacy to affect change in world markets. His is a portfolio without geographic boundaries and his impact is felt around the world as he balances the economic and financial needs and interests of a global economy."

Four other honorary degrees will be awarded:

  • Dr. Isabella Lugoski Karle, Head of the X-ray Diffraction Section, Laboratory for the Structure of Matter, Naval Research Laboratory; whose seminal contribution to X-ray crystal structure determinations and peptide conformational analyses "has changed the world of crystallography." She established the experimental procedures used worldwide for molecular structure analysis using electron and X-ray diffraction techniques, "and her work has had impact on the fields of chemistry, biology and medicine." Her structure determinations provide the basic information for computer databases for molecular modeling and molecular mechanics programs. Dr. Karle will receive the Doctor of Science, honoris causa.
  • Billie Jean King, Director and co-founder of World Team Tennis; who dominated the world of professional tennis, winning 20 Wimbledon Championships, 13 U.S. Open Championships, the French Open Championship, the Australian Open Championship and 20 Virginia Slims singles titles. She was ranked No. 1 player in the world seven times between 1966 and 1974 and founded both the Women's Tennis Association and the Women's Sports Foundation. Ms. King's "drive and determination transformed women tennis" into a major professional sport.. Her leadership was vital to the drive for equal prize money and treatment and "was instrumental in breaking down barriers for women in tennis, and for changing the perception of women in sport." Ms. King will receive the Doctor of Laws degree, honoris causa.
  • Dr. Gerda Lerner, Robinson-Edwards Professor of History Emerita at the University of Wisconsin-Madison; whose life's work "includes pathbreaking scholarship as a founder of the field of women's history, establishing at Sarah Lawrence College the country's first graduate program in women's history, and as a founder of the field of African-American women's history, building the premier Ph.D. program in African-American Women's History at the University if Wisconsin." She also was a founding member of the National Organization for Women. Dr. Lerner will receive the Doctor of Humane Letters degree, honoris causa.
  • Dr. Earl Reece Stadtman, Chief, Section on Enzymes, Laboratory of Biochemistry, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health; who is recognized "as a pioneer in the field of enzyme regulation." His work led to more recent investigations in the basic biology of aging, including studies of the role of oxygen radicals and the mechanisms of repair in damaged cells. He has shaped the careers of many eminent scientists, including Nobel laureates Michael S. Brown and Stanley N. Prusiner. Dr. Stadtman will receive the honorary Doctor of Science degree, honoris causa.¬†