from PRINCETON UNIVERSITY
Princeton awards five honorary degrees
PRINCETON, N.J. -- Princeton University awarded honorary degrees today to five distinguished individuals for their contributions in the fields of education, science, international and human rights law and the humanities at the 256th Commencement.
Princeton University President Shirley M. Tilghman awarded degrees to Natalie Zemon Davis, historian and professor emeritus of Princeton; South African Constitutional Court Justice Richard J. Goldstone, human rights and international lawyer; Claude M. Steele, social scientist and Stanford University professor; Joan Argetsinger Steitz, scientist and Yale University professor; and Harvard University President Lawrence H. Summers.
Honorary degree recipients are elected by Princeton's Board of Trustees. A trustee committee solicits nomination from the entire University.
The following is biographical information on the recipients and the official citations.
Natalie Zemon Davis, Doctor of Humane Letters
Supremely gifted, she has made giving a way of life. She gives of herself to students, colleagues, friends, readers and viewers in the vast public touched by her words and moved by her spirit. She has made “the gift” a subject of study along with such an array of other themes that her scholarship extends across the full range of the human arts and sciences. Not content to write about women on the margins, she has guided them to the center of university life; and she has enriched the university by opening it up to talent and ideas beyond the confines of disciplines and conventions.
Richard J. Goldstone, Doctor of Laws
In the face of the horrific injustices throughout the world, he has devoted his life to justice, freedom and peace. In his home of South Africa, his jurisprudence smoothed the transition from apartheid to democracy and vigilantly safeguarded the free country’s young constitution. Although much of the world closed its eyes to the genocide in Rwanda and Bosnia, he reminded us that a political leader who seeks to destroy an entire people must be held accountable. A tireless advocate for humanity and human rights, he holds the rank of supreme judge on the court of our highest aspirations.
Claude M. Steele, Doctor of Humane Letters
In masterful lectures and eloquent prose, he lays bare the experience of finding oneself on the wrong side of cultural stereotypes. His penetrating analysis reveals the burden borne by African-American students and by women who seek to excel in domains in which society questions their abilities and encumbers them with negative expectations. Through rigorous experiments elegant in their simplicity, with extraordinary insight and clarity, he enables us to see through the eyes of others, and points the way to the creation of educational environments in which all students can achieve and flourish.
Joan Argetsinger Steitz, Doctor of Science
Through her precise experiments, she discovered the biochemical mechanisms that allow the cell to make sense from nonsense in the genome, cutting and pasting segments to form a working blueprint for the proteins in the living cell. Where the resources of the laboratory have proved inadequate to nature’s subtlety, she has shown how to reason back from the body’s autoimmune responses to reveal the intricate machinery of biological information processing. In achieving distinction at a time when few women were accepted in her field, she has opened the door for other women to follow her into the front ranks of research and teaching in the sciences.
Lawrence H. Summers, Doctor of Laws
As a public servant, most notably as Secretary of the Treasury,
he was a steward of our nation’s economic well-being. He presided
over a period of prosperity marked by an increase in productivity, an
increase in employment, and a decrease in our national debt. As president
of our pre-eminent sister institution on the Charles, he is now entrusted
with assets more valued than gold—students and scholars who will
help shape the world’s future. Whether as steward of our financial
or of our intellectual resources, he is ever guided by the pursuit of