May 27, 2005 • Volume 13 Number 18
2005 Honorary Degree Recipients
The following are citations for this year's honorary degree recipients:
Romeo Antonius Dallaire: Born in Holland, this Canadian soldier served the cause of peace throughout his 36-year distinguished military career, retiring from the Canadian Armed Forces in 2000 as a lieutenant general. Now a member of the Canadian Senate, he works to develop public understanding of post-traumatic stress disorder and as a special advisor for war-affected children around the world.
In 1993, as commander of the United Nations Observer MissionˇUganda and Rwanda, he found himself powerless in the midst of violence that in 100 days killed 800,000 Rwandans, among them 300,000 children. Overwhelmed by the speed and magnitude of events, the general and his small staff, at considerable personal danger, chose not to remove themselves, but to stay in order to rescue as many Rwandans as possible from certain death. His public witness to the bloodshed and to the unwillingness of the rest of the world to intervene to prevent this tragedy is chronicled in his profoundly sad and moving book, Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda.
We salute his courage and candor and join today in his plea that "this new centuryÍbecome the Century of Humanity, when we as human beings rise above race, creed, color, religion, and national self-interest and put the good of humanity above the good of our own tribe."
Boston College gratefully declares Romeo Antonius Dallaire, soldier and humanitarian, Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.
Sister Janet Eisner, SND: This year celebrating her 25th year as president of Emmanuel College, this Sister of Notre Dame de Namur and Lynn native confidently leads her alma mater into the new millennium with the same energy and enthusiasm that marked the beginning of her presidency in 1979. Spiritual daughter of 19th century French Saint Julie Billiart, who devoted herself to the education of young girls, she is a member of a religious congregation active on five continents. Her tenure as president has been marked by innovation, achievement, and growth. In 1996, she was instrumental in bringing together the six colleges in the Boston's Fenway area into an internationally acclaimed higher education consortium.
In 2001, she urged the admission of men into the undergraduate student body, which resulted in tripling applications and doubling enrollments by 2005. Her service on city, regional, and national organizations has earned her a reputation as one of the most influential women college presidents in the United States. She has ensured that Emmanuel remains steadfastly committed to its Notre Dame and Catholic heritage, and continues to be a dynamic liberal arts learning community shaped by strong ethical values and the Catholic academic tradition.
Boston College salutes the distinguished leader of a sister institution, and declares Sister Janet Eisner Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.
Paul E. Farmer, MD: World renowned as an authority on tuberculosis treatment and control and an attending physician in infectious diseases at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital, he is a founding director of Partners In Health, an international organization providing direct care and undertaking research and advocacy for the world's sick living in poverty. He began a life-long commitment to one of this hemisphere's poorest countries as a student working in the villages of Haiti's Central Plateau where today Partners In Health is the only health provider for more than 340,000 patients each year.
Educated as both a medical anthropologist and physician, he has authored or co-authored 100 scholarly publications, stemming in large part from his clinical and teaching activities in Haiti and Peru. Truly, he is Űa man for others' whom Boston College can urge its graduates to emulate. His inspirational life demonstrates how talent and education, joined with compassion and commitment, can both directly serve the poor and dispossessed and simultaneously become an international force to make the world confront the health care needs of the abandoned and untreated.
A humanitarian who challenges us as members of the human community to recognize and live our obligation to our sick and dying brothers and sisters in all corners of our planet, Boston College gratefully declares Paul Farmer Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.
Norman Christopher Francis: In 1948, a Holy Family nun in New Orleans made a telephone call to a friend at Xavier University, a call that changed a life and a university. She had intervened for one of her students, headed for military service ˇ college had not seemed an option. Her request was granted, and a young man entered Xavier University on a four-year library work scholarship, graduating in 1952.
Today this young man has spent more than a half-century in the service of his alma mater. He began as dean of men in 1955, and in 1968 became the first lay president of America's only historically black and Catholic university. A leader in civil rights, educational, civic, and religious organizations, he is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and holds honorary degrees from 29 colleges and universities. As one of New Orleans first citizens, he is admired for his sharpness of mind, modest demeanor, and unwavering dedication to his university and American higher education. Advisor to five American presidents, he has served as president or chairman of higher education's most important organizations and commissions. During his 37-year presidency, this longest-sitting president in the United States has doubled the enrollment of Xavier, broadened its curriculum, expanded its campus, strengthened its financial base, and established its reputation as a leader in minority education.
Boston College proudly proclaims Norman Christopher Francis, educator and institution builder, Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.
Sean Patrick O'Malley, OFM, Cap: Son of devout Irish Catholic parents and in his earliest years called to the order of 13th century mystic St. Francis of Assisi, he has embraced a life of humility, poverty, and devotion. Professed as a Capuchin Franciscan at 21 and ordained a priest when 26, he earned a doctorate in Spanish and Portuguese literature and taught at the Catholic University of America. His erudition was more than matched by his dedication to the poor, especially the immigrant poor with whom he used his ability to speak six languages in his ministry in our nation's capital and the US Virgin Islands. Called to the service of leadership, he successively served as bishop of St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, of Fall River, Massachusetts, and of Palm Beach, Florida.
On July 1, 2003, he was chosen by Pope John Paul II to be Archbishop of Boston. He was guided by the advice of his Order's founder: "Start by doing what's necessary, then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible." From the beginning his words were simple and direct, warm and empathetic. Known as a holy, caring priest, he chose to reside in the rectory of his Cathedral. While in our midst, he has sought to live St. Francis' prayer: to be an instrument of peace, to sow love where there was hatred, to pardon where there was injury, to bring faith where there was doubt, to find hope in despair, to bring light to darkness, and joy to sadness.
Boston College pledges its support to the shepherd of the Boston Catholic community, and gratefully proclaims The Most Reverend Sean Patrick O'Malley OFM Cap. Doctor of Sacred Theology, honoris causa.
Sara Martinez Tucker: Champion of young Hispanics aspiring to higher education, she left a successful business career to become the president and chief executive officer of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund. The challenge facing her was clear and daunting: The Hispanic population was the largest minority group in the United States, skyrocketing from 22.3 million to 38.8 million in the 1990s; the teenage Hispanic dropout rate at 28 percent was the highest of any ethnic group; only 11 percent earned college degrees.
Convinced that our country could not succeed without an educated Hispanic citizenry and drawing on her experience as the first Hispanic woman to reach AT&T's executive level, she adopted in 1997 the aggressive goal of increasing the number of Hispanic college graduates to 18 percent by 2010. Her approach was businesslike; she sought support by presenting "a great value proposition," urging donors to see Űher kids' not as a charity but as an investment. Her success is clear: the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, which distributed $3 million in 1996, has awarded $25 million in scholarship support in each of the last three years.
Chosen as one of America's Elite Hispanic Women, recipient of Hispanic Magazine's Heritage Achievement Award for Education in 1998, named Hispanic of the Year in 2000, she has firmly established herself as a dedicated, articulate, and effective spokesperson for the Americas' Hispanic citizens. Boston College salutes her commitment, acknowledges her accomplishments, and declares Sara Martinez Tucker Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa. •