News at Princeton

Friday, Nov. 21, 2014

Web Stories

Princeton awards five honorary degrees

Princeton University awarded honorary degrees during Commencement exercises June 3 to five distinguished individuals for their contributions to humanitarian efforts, music and entertainment, political theory, science and medicine, literature and higher learning.

Princeton President Shirley M. Tilghman awarded degrees to Quincy Jones, an inspirational creative artist and entertainment industry executive; George Kateb, an influential political theorist and Princeton's William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Politics Emeritus; Mary-Claire King, a pioneering geneticist whose work extends to human rights; Haruki Murakami, a celebrated and innovative author; and John Waterbury, a university president and Princeton's William Stewart Tod Professor of Politics and International Affairs Emeritus.

Honorary degree recipients are elected by Princeton's Board of Trustees. A trustee committee, which includes faculty and students, solicits nominations from the entire University.

The following is biographical information on the recipients and the official citations.

Quincy Jones, Doctor of Music

The creative career of Quincy Jones spans more than 60 years and includes many roles, most notably as musician, composer, producer, arranger and conductor. Musical since childhood, Jones' young adulthood connected him to key individuals who helped to shape his future. As a teenager in Seattle he played trumpet in a small band led by Ray Charles; he left the Berklee College of Music in Boston to tour with Lionel Hampton; and he learned composition from Nadia Boulanger in Paris. During the 1950s, Jones began arranging and recording music, making records for artists such as Dizzy Gillespie, Frank Sinatra and Sarah Vaughan. He also started composing film music, and in 1965 Jones left Mercury Records for Hollywood. Since then, he has scored music for 33 major motion pictures, as well as numerous television shows. Over the years, Jones has won 27 Grammy awards, seven Oscar nominations and an Emmy.

In the 1980s, Jones' impact on popular culture was historic on a global scale when he produced Michael Jackson's "Thriller," the best-selling album in recording industry history, and the benefit song "We Are the World," which became the best-selling single of all time. Consistently, Jones has brought diverse musical talents together, such as through his landmark 1989 album "Back on the Block," and his 1995 recording "Q's Jook Joint." Jones also is known for his humanitarian efforts, particularly through his Quincy Jones Foundation, which works to foster global dialogue and to help children around the world. In reaching out to those in need, Jones has partnered with various entities and individuals, such as with UNICEF to address health care in Cambodia, and with Bono of U2 on the global charity project Live 8.

A musical, cinematic and entertainment pioneer, he transformed the landscape of 20th-century popular culture. As a composer, arranger, record producer, conductor and instrumentalist, he has innovated, translated and fused together the sonic fabric of our times. Moving effortlessly and boldly across genres, carrying us from jazz blue notes and an Afro-Latin bossa nova beat through the soul pop "Thriller" revolution of the 1980s and '90s, he has opened up our musical world and provided the soundtrack for an integrated universe born out of the Civil Rights era. Powered by a wide-roving artistic vision that extends into film, television and beyond, his entrepreneurial spirit continues to shape how we hear, see and experience the 21st century.

George Kateb, Doctor of Humane Letters

George Kateb is the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Politics Emeritus at Princeton. An influential political theorist with an international reputation, he is a champion of democratic individuality and a critic of its many challengers. He is the author of "Utopia and Its Enemies" (1963); "Political Theory; Its Nature and Uses" (1968); "Hannah Arendt: Politics, Conscience, Evil" (1984); "The Inner Ocean: Individualism and Democratic Culture" (1992); "Emerson and Self-Reliance" (1994); and "Patriotism and Other Mistakes" (2006).

Kateb came to Princeton in 1987 after 30 years on the faculty at Amherst College. At Princeton, he was a dynamic lecturer and a legendary adviser of graduate students. He served as director of the Program in Political Philosophy and was a member of the executive committee of the University Center for Human Values, of which he also served as director. In 1997, he was awarded Princeton's Behrman Award for Distinguished Achievement in the Humanities. He retired from the faculty in 2002. Kateb has been president of the New England Political Science Association and vice president of the American Society of Political and Legal Philosophy. He was elected to membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has served on the editorial boards of the leading journals in his field.

The foremost American theorist of democratic individuality, he writes in the tradition of Emerson, Thoreau and Whitman. A voice for a spirited and self-critical democratic liberalism, he is a defender of the dignity of the human person, a celebrant of democratic self-expression, a critic of convention and complacency. In brilliant lectures and intense seminars, he taught political theory by example, criticizing his own ideas as rigorously as those of the great writers of the canon. And while living the values of an Emersonian individualist, he has been a University citizen of the highest order.

Mary-Claire King, Doctor of Science

Mary-Claire King is the American Cancer Society Professor in the departments of medicine and genome sciences at the University of Washington School of Medicine. Her pioneering work has brought molecular genetics to several fields of medicine and has extended it into the sphere of human rights. In 1990, King demonstrated that a single gene was responsible for a large number of familial breast and ovarian cancer cases, a discovery that opened up new approaches to the diagnosis and treatment of these cancers as well as research into other illnesses. Her research at Washington, where she moved in 1995 after 19 years on the faculty at the University of California-Berkeley, focuses on inherited breast and ovarian cancer, inherited deafness and, most recently, the genetics of schizophrenia.

When she was a doctoral student at Berkeley, King broke new ground as a geneticist by showing that the DNA of human beings and chimpanzees is 99 percent identical. She developed, introduced and implemented DNA testing technology to make it possible to reunite with their families the orphaned and stolen children of the "disappeared" dissidents who had been murdered by the Argentinian dictatorship. As an educator, King teaches courses in human and molecular genetics and travels frequently for the American Cancer Society. Among her many awards are the Clowes Award for Basic Research, the Brinker Award for Breast Cancer Research, the International Genetics Prize, the Dr. A.H. Heineken Prize for Medicine, the Gruber Prize in Genetics, the Weizmann Award for Women and Science and the Medal of Honor for Clinical Research from the American Cancer Society.

Her groundbreaking research reveals family ties -- to other species, with whom we have a high degree of genetic similarity; to our mothers, from whom some of us will inherit a genetic predisposition for breast cancer; to children and grandchildren, who can be returned to us after the dislocations of war or violence or natural catastrophe. Her work helps us understand who we are at a fundamental, genetic level and how we may be able to escape or overcome the harmful effects of genetic links to cancer or deafness or schizophrenia. Social activism is built into her DNA, and by example she shows us the good we can do if we realize our full and highest human potential.

Haruki Murakami, Doctor of Letters

Haruki Murakami was born in Kyoto, Japan, in 1949, and his writing is read around the world in more than 40 languages. Best known as a fiction writer with a taste for the surreal, Murakami is also a highly regarded essayist and translator. After studying theater arts at Waseda University in Tokyo, Murakami owned a jazz bar in Japan's capital for seven years before publishing his first novel, "Hear the Wind Sing," which won the Gunzou Literature Prize for budding writers in 1979. It was followed by "Pinball, 1973" and "A Wild Sheep Chase," the latter of which won the Noma Literary Prize for New Writers and established Murakami's literary career. In 1987, "Norwegian Wood" became a best-seller in Japan.

Starting in 1991 Murakami and his wife, Yoko, spent four years in the United States, where he was a visiting lecturer at Princeton. In that time, he wrote "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle" (1994), which won the distinguished Yomiuri Literary Prize. In 1995, after the Kobe earthquake and the poison gas attack in the Tokyo subway, Murakami returned to Japan and wrote about these events. "The Place That Was Promised," a nonfiction book based on interviews with the gas attack victims, won the Kuwabara Takeo Academic Award and became the basis for the English edition "Underground," published in 2000. Murakami's literary honors also include the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award, the Franz Kafka Prize and the Asahi Prize. The English translation of Murakami's most recent work, a memoir titled "What I Talk About When I Talk About Running," will appear later this summer.

His literary spiderwebs remind us that, though we may not be fully aware of it, something profoundly disturbing lies at the heart of what we take for everyday reality. With his surreal imagination grounded in down-to-earth experience, his novels, short stories, essays and even his memoir juxtapose the uncanny with the ordinary to capture the loneliness and uncertainty at the heart of modern life. His protagonists may be disaffected young Japanese men and women, but their experience of ennui and loss, and their search for love and certainty, speak to us all. Amid the alienation, flickers of hopefulness spring from seemingly random human interactions and connections, reminding us that the race is well worth running.

John Waterbury, Doctor of Laws

Since 1998, John Waterbury has led the American University of Beirut (AUB) as its first president since 1984 to reside in Beirut. This academic year is his last as AUB's 14th president. During his tenure, Waterbury has sought to restore the university, which was chartered in 1863, to its long-standing reputation as an institution of higher learning with the highest international standards. Among many achievements under his leadership, AUB has completed a campus master plan as well as a five-year fundraising campaign, and has deepened and expanded academic opportunities. During his tenure, AUB reinstituted programs that had been interrupted during the Lebanese civil war, launched seven new doctoral programs and added several new academic and medical research institutes.

Before joining AUB, Waterbury was, for nearly 20 years, on the faculty at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, becoming the William Stewart Tod Professor of Politics and International Affairs in 1985. He is an expert on the political economy of developing countries with a special focus on the Middle East and the author of many books. While at Princeton, he was also director of the Center for International Studies and editor of the academic journal World Politics from 1992 to 1998. He is a member of Princeton's class of 1961.

Scholar, professor and lifetime student of the Middle East, he graced the classrooms of Princeton University, served as president of the American University of Beirut and provided insight into the political economy of developing nations during a career spanning 40 years. Braving the upheavals of a country in turmoil, defying the opponents of peace by living in Lebanon and continuing the scholarship for which he is world-renowned, he led his university to new heights of academic excellence and restored it to sound financial footing. Through his scholarship and his personal example, he has been an eloquent advocate for improved understanding between the Middle East and the West, helping each to recognize shared aspirations and a common humanity.

Back To Top