Johns Hopkins Gazette: May 12, 1997

On Commencement:
University To Honor
Six With Honorary

This year, six distinguished citizens of the world will receive honorary degrees of doctor of humane letters from Johns Hopkins University. Each has contributed to the betterment of their corner of the world, in fields as diverse as music, city government, medicine, philosophy, astrophysics and higher education. They will receive their degrees at the morning commencement ceremony, 9:30 a.m. on May 22, in Gilman Quadrangle.

William Fastie

It's somewhat jarring to look at Bill Fastie's curriculum vitae and read 1933-37, Johns Hopkins University evening college (no degree) and 1937-41, Johns Hopkins graduate school in physics (no degree). This is the Bill Fastie who has taught in the Department of Physics and later the Department of Physics and Astronomy since 1941. The Bill Fastie who made public in 1952 the discovery of a spectrometer small enough and rugged enough to withstand a rocket launch, which in turn launched Hopkins' involvement with space exploration. The Bill Fastie who has become known as the father of the Hopkins space program. Somehow, he never finished the degrees he started here. Until now.

His legacy here takes many forms: he mentored younger scientists on the faculty and produced such projects as the Faint Object Telescope, which gave scientists their first look at the ultraviolet light from a quasar. Now, decades later, the science he fostered flies in the most advanced instruments, and Johns Hopkins is home to the Space Telescope Science Institute. For more on Bill Fastie, point your web browser to:

Saul Aaron Kripke

American logician and philosopher Saul Kripke is one of today's leading thinkers on thought and its manifold relations to the world. His name is attached to objects in several fields of logic from Kripke-Platek axioms in higher recursion theory to the "Brouwer-Kripke scheme" in intuitionistic mathematics. Kripke models for modal logic, a discovery he made in his teen-age years, became part of the standard vocabulary of mathematical logicians after his first article appeared in 1963, when he was just 23 years old. Kripke models and the results that depend upon them are cited today not only in philosophy and logic, but also in linguistics and computer science. In the philosophy of language, his book Naming and Necessity provided crucial components of what has since become the accepted theory of how language relates to the world. And his reading of Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations has fundamentally altered the scholarly perspective on his later work. In fact, his thought and Wittgenstein's on certain central issues have become so fused that many now speak of the "Kripkenstein skeptical paradox."

Kripke has held faculty positions at Rockefeller University, Harvard, Cornell and Princeton, where he is now McCosh Professor of Philosophy. Twice he has been awarded a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship.

Mayor Pasqual Maragall i Mira

Pasqual Maragall is often credited with reviving the city of Barcelona. Elected mayor in 1982 and serving ever since, Maragall led the expansion and revitalization of the metropolitan area of Barcelona, which has become one of Europe's great success stories.

Like Baltimore, the centerpiece of Barcelona's revival could arguably be its port, and in that way, there is perhaps a bit of Baltimore in Barcelona. In 1978, when he was a senior fellow at what was then the Center for Metropolitan Planning and Research (now the Institute for Policy Studies), the idea of Baltimore's Inner Harbor redevelopment was emerging. Maragall took the notion of revitalizing an aging port and applied it to his city. In 1986, Barcelona was selected as host city for the 1992 Summer Olympic Games. Maragall then led the city in an urban development program the likes of which Barcelona had never seen.

Maragall's reputation for honesty and integrity has served him well as he played a key role in setting up Europe's Embassy for Local Democracy, in Sarajevo, when Bosnia was in crisis. And he has been active in several European and United Nations initiatives to address the issue of urban development around the world.

Johnnetta B. Cole

In 1987, Johnnetta Cole became president of Spelman College, the first African American woman to head the historically black college for women. Since then, she has helped lead Spelman into the ranks of America's outstanding colleges. She has initiated programs that more directly connect her students to their community. And faculty exchanges have been established with major research institutions. Under her leadership, the college has attracted increasing numbers of outstanding students; the average SAT scores of incoming freshmen have been among the highest of any historically black college or university in the country. In 1992, Spelman became the first such college to receive a No. 1 ranking in U.S. News and World Report's annual listing of "Best College Buys."

Cole took her doctoral degree in anthropology from Northwestern University. Her two textbooks are used in classrooms throughout the United States. In her most recent book, Conversations, she speaks directly to African American women. To the more than 1,900 women enrolled at Spelman, she is a "surrogate mother."

Andre Watts

Andre Watts is the first African American pianist to achieve international stardom, to sell records and seats in the millions and to headline Lincoln Center's first live televised piano recital. But he's the last person who takes the cultural pioneer role seriously. "I simply don't think in those terms," he told a Washington Post reporter in 1993. What he simply does is play piano. As a young boy he amazed audiences in his hometown of Philadelphia, playing a Hayden concerto. He burst upon the classical music scene in 1963 when Leonard Bernstein chose him--a 16-year-old unknown--to replace the ailing Glenn Gould in performances of Liszt's E-flat Concerto with the New York Philharmonic.

He earned an Artist Diploma at the Peabody Conservatory as a student of Leon Fleisher, while continuing to play with great orchestras all over the world. In 1984, the Peabody Conservatory honored him with its Distinguished Alumni Award. Today, he is known for performances that are stunning examples of commitment, clarity and artistic risk-taking. He has been invited to play for coronations and inaugurals and command performances for royalty, foreign heads of state and presidents at the White House. With all his success, Watts remains involved with social organizations such as Classical Action: Performing Arts Against AIDS, which has brought new funds to AIDS services in communities around the country.

The Right Honorable Lord Butterfield of Stechford

In 1995, a British newspaper wrote: "Sir John Butterfield might seem too substantial a character to be associated with fairy tales, but it would take little imagination to make his life sound like one. It would be the rags to riches story of the scholarship boy from Warwickshire whose father was a petrol pump attendant and who went on to become one of the country's top scientists and the vice chancellor of Cambridge University."

The outstanding star of college rugby, hockey and cricket teams, Lord Butterfield is probably best known as a leading authority on diabetes. A graduate of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine ('51) and Cambridge University, he has served as an educator in Britain, Hong Kong and the United States and has led the work of many national and international medical boards, committees and councils. From 1958 to 1971 he was professor of medicine at Guy's Hospital and Medical School in London, and he was the Regius Professor of Physics at Cambridge, the university's top medical post.

As the British paper recounts: "He is the best advertisement this country has for the unstuffiness of science."

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