Citations Honor Recipients' Accomplishments


The honorary degree recipients - with the exception of Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, who was unable to attend Commencement - posed with University President William P. Leahy, SJ, prior to the ceremony. From left: John McNeice Jr., Janet Reno, Fr. Leahy, Bernice Johnson Reagon and Peter Dervan. (Photo by Gary Gilbert)

Reprinted below are the full texts of the honorary degree citations presented at Commencement.

Janet Reno
Locales of your pre-professional education include the chemistry laboratories at Cornell University and the Everglades of your native Florida. As one of 16 women graduated in a Harvard Law School class of 500 and a young would-be associate, you were undaunted by a leading Miami law firm's rejection, which was overturned 14 years later when you were named a partner in that firm. Appointed by Governor Reubin Askew in 1978 as State Attorney for Dade County and first woman to head a Florida county prosecutor's office, you were returned to that office in four subsequent elections and to a fifth term unopposed. Now 78th Attorney General of the United States and the first woman to hold that Presidential Cabinet post, you bring a wealth of experience and accomplishment to bear as our nation's chief law enforcement officer. In witness of her admiration for your pioneering careers in law and the public service, pursued with unyielding integrity and dedication, Boston College respectfully declares you Doctor of Laws.


Peter B. Dervan
Bren Professor of Chemistry of the Divison of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at the California Institute of Technology; member of the National Academy of Sciences and Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; recipient of prestigious national and international awards, honors and appointments, you have earned esteem among your peers for the breadth and creativity of your pioneering work to analyze and unlock the mysteries of DNA-binding molecules. While you have distinguished yourself in the academy with research at the interface of chemistry and biology that has moved modern bio-organic chemistry in a new direction, you have garnered the equally impressive reputation of master teacher and the mentor to a new generation of leading scientists. As you mark the 30th anniversary of your graduation, Boston College rejoices in honoring a son who carried her ideal of the constant pursuit of excellence to the scientific frontier and proudly declares you Doctor of Science.


Roger Cardinal Etchegaray
As a young priest and private secretary to the Bishop of your home diocese of Bayonne, France, you began to employ gifts and hone skills which would serve you well as you served your Church in a steady progression of ecclesiastical offices, first in the diocese, later at the national and continental level, and ultimately in the Roman Curia. Named a Cardinal by Pope John Paul II in 1979 and called to Rome in 1984 from your See as Cardinal Archbishop of Marseilles to the presidencies of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum," you are the Vatican's key envoy for peace, the executive director of the Church's charitable and aid services, and president of the Holy Father's Central Committee for the Jubilee of the Year 2000. With deep regard and fraternal affection for a member of the College of Cardinals who both symbolizes and discharges the commitment of the Catholic Church to the ringing message of the Sermon on the Mount, Boston College respectfully confers upon you the degree of Doctor of Laws.


John A. McNeice Jr.
Faith and education, pillars you acknowledge as the chief supports of your rise to the chairmanship of The Colonial Group and renown as a principled leader in the financial industry, figure prominently in your other illustrious career in the voluntary sector. Yours is a remarkable history of constant, generous giving of time, talent, counsel and means to an extraordinary number of volunteer organizations. In the service of such worthy causes as the spiritual and intellectual growth of young people, improvement in the quality and delivery of health care, medical research and ethics, peace and justice, you enrich the spiritual endowments of Boston College and Boston College High School as a splendid example of a true "man for others." Echoing the assertion of the Book of Proverbs that "The path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day," Boston College honors the brilliant life's journey of an esteemed loyal son, happily proclaiming you Doctor of Business Adm inistration.


Bernice Johnson Reagon
Freedom singer who discovered song as a language in the civil rights movement; founder of the renowned female a cappella ensemble, Sweet Honey in the Rock; director of the Program in Black American Culture at the National Museum of American History, who provided content and masterly direction when the Smithsonian Institution began a new commitment to African-American history; principal scholar and conceptual producer of "Wade in the Water: African-American Sacred Music Traditions," a 26-part landmark National Public Radio series that received the 1994 Peabody Award for Significant and Meritorious Achievement in Broadcasting; Distinguished Professor of History at American University and Curator Emeritus at the Smithsonian Institution, you have devoted your life to the preservation of a glorious oral culture. Applauding the bravura performance of a diva who has researched, taught, illuminated and lived music history, Boston College voices an approving "Amen" and joyfully declares you Doctor of Humane Letters.

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