At the university-wide commencement ceremony on May 24, President William R. Brody will confer the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters on four distinguished individuals, all of whom have long-standing ties to Johns Hopkins.
Karen Padgett Davis, president, the Commonwealth Fund, a foundation devoted to independent research on health and social policy issues. Former chair of the Department of Health Policy and Management at the School of Public Health (now the Bloomberg School of Public Health), Davis is a world-respected researcher on issues of health services and health policy.
Citation to be read by Alfred Sommer, dean of the Bloomberg School of Public Health:
In the debate on health care, you give a voice to populations that often are not heard: the elderly, the poor, the chronically ill. Your scholarly analysis and your articulate compassion for the most vulnerable have helped shape national health policy.
You served in the Carter administration as a deputy assistant secretary in the Department of Health, Education and Welfare and as the first woman to head a U.S. Public Health Service agency. You came to the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health in 1981; two years later, you became chair of the Department of Health Policy and Management. You and the gifted faculty you developed earned global acclaim for studies of health care access, cost and effectiveness.
In 1992, you joined the Commonwealth Fund, a foundation devoted to independent research on health and social policy issues. First as executive vice president and now as president, you have promoted the common good and sought ways to help us live healthy and productive lives, giving special attention to those--here and around the world--with serious, neglected problems.
Throughout your career, your scholarship and leadership have been widely admired, as has your eloquence on issues of passionate concern to you.
Karen Padgett Davis, for tremendous contributions to health services research and the health policy debate, The Johns Hopkins University is proud to confer upon you the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.
Alfred E. Mann, inventor, entrepreneur and chairman of a number of biomedical device companies. Chairman of the Alfred E. Mann Foundation and of the Alfred E. Mann Institute for Biomedical Engineering at the University of Southern California, both devoted to the development of advanced medical products, Mann leads companies that have collaborated with Johns Hopkins researchers for decades.
Citation to be read by Ilene Busch-Vishniac, dean of the Whiting School of Engineering:
Your skills as an entrepreneur were apparent early. As a schoolboy, you sold lemonade, magazines and silver jewelry fashioned from melted flatware. These ventures set the stage for a long, stellar career as an inventor and owner of high-tech businesses that have produced important devices for medical, space and military applications. In recent years, seeking to bridge the gap between academic research and the marketplace, you have generously supported university-related biomedical programs.
Trained as a physicist at UCLA, you launched your first company in 1956 to provide equipment for missile systems. Soon, another of your companies began supplying solar electric systems for space vehicles. One of your early customers was the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory. In the late 1960s, you collaborated with APL in the development of a long-lasting, rechargeable pacemaker.
More recently, your companies have produced insulin pumps for diabetics and cochlear implants for people with impaired hearing. One company is working now with the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine to produce devices to restore vision to the blind. Here, as you have throughout your distinguished career, you have used technology to address human needs and aspirations.
Alfred E. Mann, for distinguished achievement as an inventor, entrepreneur and philanthropist, The Johns Hopkins University is proud to confer upon you the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.
Maclyn McCarty, retired vice president and physician-in-chief at Rockefeller Institute and co-discoverer of the role of DNA in the transmission of hereditary information. Winner of the 1994 Albert Lasker Award for Special Achievement in Medical Science, McCarty is a 1937 graduate of the School of Medicine and a former intern and resident at the hospital.
Citation to be read by Richard E. McCarty, the James B. Knapp Dean of the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences and son of the recipient:
It is in the nature of science that the most revolutionary discoveries eventually become the stuff of high school textbooks. So, today, even ninth-grade biology students know that genes are made of DNA.
Just six decades ago, however, absolutely no one knew that. In fact, scientists rejected out of hand the notion that a molecule as simple as DNA could transmit hereditary information from generation to generation.
Brilliant experiments conducted by you and colleagues Oswald Avery and Colin MacLeod demonstrated that the conventional wisdom was wrong. Your team overcame the skeptics; you forged a new scientific consensus. From that consensus came the era of molecular genetics and discoveries with astonishing implications for our understanding of the genome and for diagnosis and treatment of disease. A Nobel Prize-winner called your finding "the pivotal discovery of 20th-century biology."
At the time, you were only a half-dozen years removed from your medical degree and residency at Johns Hopkins. You were only beginning your formidable contributions to science and medicine. Your later career included long service as vice president and physician-in-chief at Rockefeller Institute. It also included the 1994 Albert Lasker Award for Special Achievement in Medical Science, one of the most prestigious in American medicine.
Maclyn McCarty, alumnus, physician, scientist, pioneer, The Johns Hopkins University is proud to confer upon you the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.
Arnall Patz, professor of ophthalmology at the School of Medicine and director emeritus of the Wilmer Eye Institute. A leading eye researcher, Patz won the Albert Lasker Medical Research Award in 1956 for his discovery that a widely accepted oxygen therapy for premature infants caused blindness.
Citation to be read by Edward D. Miller, the Frances Watt Baker, M.D., and Lenox D. Baker Jr., M.D., Dean of the Medical Faculty and chief executive officer of Johns Hopkins Medicine:
At about the time that poet Dylan Thomas was urging us to "rage, rage against the dying of the light," you were just beginning a career dedicated to preserving the light of vision.
Then a medical resident at D.C. General Hospital, you feared that an epidemic of blindness might be linked to the practice of exposing premature infants to high levels of oxygen. Conventional wisdom held that practice to be a lifesaving technique.
Despite resistance and even hostility, you conducted a clinical trial that proved the link, stopping the practice and saving the vision of countless infants. For that work, you received one of medicine's most prestigious prizes, the Albert Lasker Research Award. You were just 36, and your long and fruitful battle against the dying of the light had only started.
Later, at Johns Hopkins, you helped develop one of the first lasers used in the treatment of degenerative eye conditions. You were a leader in research into visual problems caused by abnormal growth of blood vessels in the eye, helping pave the way for many new treatments. You became director of the Wilmer Eye Institute in 1979, holding that post for 10 years.
Arnall Patz, for preserving the sight of thousands, for your inspiration and leadership to fellow professionals and for your guidance and encouragement of residents and medical students, The Johns Hopkins University is proud to confer upon you the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.