The Johns Hopkins Gazette: May 24, 1999
May 24, 1999
VOL. 28, NO. 36


Commencement Ceremonies This Week: Five to Receive Honorary Degrees from University

Johns Hopkins Gazette Online Edition

The university will present honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degrees at this year's commencement exercises to the following people.

Mary Ellen Avery

Mary Ellen Avery, whose research has focused on premature birth and the lung development and respiratory problems of the newborn, is one of the world's leading pioneers in the field of neonatology. Her landmark research is the foundation for today's treatment and prevention of respiratory distress syndrome of the newborn.

A Johns Hopkins alumna and former faculty member, she became, in 1974, the first woman to head a major department at Harvard Medical School. At Harvard, she founded the Division of Newborn Medicine, which has trained a generation of specialists in neonatology and today cares for approximately 15,500 newborns a year. For her work she has received numerous awards, including the Trudeau Medal of the American Thoracic Society and the National Medal of Science presented in 1991 by President George Bush.

Finn M. W. Caspersen

Finn Caspersen has influenced and advanced the mission of Johns Hopkins as chairman of the Hodson Trust, whose generous grants over more than four decades have steadily increased under his guidance. His commitment to investing in exceptional individuals is reflected not only in the trust's philanthropy but also in his success in creating a caring corporate culture at the highly profitable Beneficial Corporation, of which he was chairman and CEO.

Hodson scholarships have attracted to the Homewood schools some of the nation's most outstanding undergraduates, and Hodson grants have enabled senior researchers and young investigators to pursue creative research initiatives at the Oncology Center. The trust has helped to underwrite scores of imaginative projects by winners of the Provost's Undergraduate Research Awards; innovative applications of information technology in the Milton S. Eisenhower Library; and the creation of the Johns Hopkins crew team. Hodson support has also played a key role in enabling the School of Continuing Studies to prepare future leaders and practitioners in education, particularly in the field of learning disabilities.

A. James Clark

Jim Clark's goal was to study architecture at an Ivy League university, but limited finances led him to a state school to pursue an engineering degree. So instead of designing buildings, he became one of the nation's foremost builders of them. Clark Enterprises is now one of the country's largest general contracting firms, with annual revenues in excess of $1 billion. The company has built many landmark projects, including two wings of the National Museum of Natural History, Oriole Park at Camden Yards and the World Bank headquarters. Currently, Clark Enterprises is constructing the Bunting Blaustein Building, a new cancer research center on the medical campus.

Clark's stellar record of public service and philanthropy, particularly related to higher education, has been visibly recognized. The engineering school at his alma mater, the University of Maryland, College Park, bears his name. And at Johns Hopkins, his recent $10 million gift will enable the university to build Clark Hall, housing leading-edge biomedical engineering research and instruction, on the Homewood campus.

The Rev. Clyde Shallenberger

Clyde Shallenberger began his service to the Johns Hopkins community in 1963, when he arrived as director of The Johns Hopkins Hospital's Chaplaincy Center, a pastoral care service that for many patients would become as important as the expert medical care they would receive.

During his 30 years of service, he was there for thousands of patients, supporting them at times of personal crisis and providing a gentle, guiding hand through the storms of disease, sickness and injury. Along the way, he ensured that the caregivers also had someone to turn to for comfort and support, and many faculty, administrators and staff did turn to him, often.

James A. Van Allen

Whenever we look at animated weather maps, hear satellite broadcasts or get news of NASA's latest sojourns, we can tip our hats to James Van Allen's lifetime devotion to space science, technology and education.

In 1939, Van Allen set up work in a converted garage that became the first home of the Applied Physics Laboratory. His design for a rugged vacuum tube, out of which 80 million devices were produced during World War II, helped turn that war's tide of battle. During the 1950s, he built a consensus for the International Geophysical Year, stimulating the flowering of artificial satellites, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and a half century of efflorescent space science. The Van Allen radiation belt, named in his honor, is only one example of the mark he has left on the world.