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Of the seven men and women receiving honorary degrees at Commencement this year, two were Penn alumni. 

Dr. Stanley B. Prusiner, C’64, M’68
   “The sole winner of the 1997 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, you have shaken the very foundations of modern biology with your discovery and characterization of the prion: an entirely new class of proteins that is now generally accepted as the infectious agent in mad-cow disease and in human neurodegenerative diseases such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Your elegant work, once considered highly controversial, is now acclaimed as one of the major biomedical discoveries of the recent past … While the world scientific community has showered its highest honors upon you for your brilliant and innovative research, the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine prides itself on being among the first to recognize your splendid achievements by presenting you with its Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1991, and we are proud to claim you as our own … ” Doctor of Science, honoris causa.

The Honorable Arlin M. Adams, L’47
   “As an eminent jurist and committed citizen-volunteer, you epitomize the ideal Penn alumnus whom Benjamin Franklin characterized as ‘distinguished in Abilities, serviceable in Public Stations, and an ornament to the country’ … You ostensibly retired from the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in 1986, but presidents, governors, legislatures, and courts continue to call on you to handle investigations and arbitrate disputes of the greatest sensitivity and public importance … ” Doctor of Laws, honoris causa. 

Jimmy Carter
   “Throughout your illustrious public life as president and peacemaker, you have epitomized the ideal of selfless service, bringing definition to the phrase ‘natural social worker.’ Whether negotiating cease-fires, monitoring elections in nations in turmoil, or building homes for homeless families in Appalachia and the inner city, you have used your reputation, your stature, and your hands-on leadership to heal division and oppression wherever found … ” Doctor of Laws, honoris causa. 

Dr. Francis S. Collins
   ” … As director of the National Human Genome Research Institute … you have carried the case for genetic research into the national arena, arguing for its enormous significance in relationship to human disease and ultimately to medical intervention … ” Doctor of Science, honoris causa. 

Dr. Frank Moore Cross
   “A world-renowned scholar … at Harvard University and former director of The Harvard Semitic Museum, you have led the way in understanding the origins of the alphabet, interpreting the writings of the ancient Hebrews and Canaanites, tracing the evolution of the text of the Bible, and unlocking the secrets of the greatest manuscript discovery of the twentieth century — the Dead Sea Scrolls … ” Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa. 

Dr. Alan Greenspan
   “As chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System under three presidents, you have been dubbed the second most powerful person in the United States. Throughout your remarkable career as a public servant, you have been extraordinarily successful in managing the nation’s monetary policy … ” Doctor of Laws, honoris causa. 

Jessye Norman
   ” … As one of the world’s reigning vocalists, you have waged your own Norman Conquest from center stage of the world’s greatest opera houses, concert halls, and music festivals, enthralling capacity audiences with your amazing grace, technical artistry, and thrilling power … ” Doctor of Music, honoris causa.

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