Office of Communications
22 Chambers St.
Princeton, New Jersey 08542
Telephone 609-258-3601; Fax 609-258-1301

For immediate release: June 1, 2004
Media contact: Eric Quiñones, (609) 258-5748, quinones@princeton.edu

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, arts and humanities, philanthropy and civil rights.

Princeton President Shirley M. Tilghman awarded degrees to Edward Cone, Princeton professor emeritus of music; Pablo Eisenberg, advocate for philanthropic change and social justice; Charles Kao, pioneer of fiber optical research; Nannerl Keohane, president of Duke University; and Robert Moses, educator and civil rights leader.

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.

Edward T. Cone, Doctor of Humane Letters

Edward Cone, a concert pianist, composer and author, joined Princeton's Department of Music as a faculty member in 1947. He taught music theory, history and composition until transferring to emeritus status in 1985. From 1979 until 1985, he also held the position of Andrew D. White Professor-at-Large at Cornell University. Cone's scholarship covers a wide historical range and addresses questions about musical form and aesthetic perception and the relationship of composition to performance. He has composed numerous musical pieces, including a symphony and works for piano, voice, chorus, orchestra and chamber combinations. Cone is an undergraduate and graduate alumnus of Princeton.

Ideal embodiment of composer, performer, teacher and scholar, he has enriched the Princeton community and the wider world of musical thought for seven decades. The knowing beauty of his compositions, the graceful power of his piano playing and the inviting elegance of his critical essays teach us to think well of music's place in human affairs. If his genial voice remains the melody so many of us hear when we ponder music, his unceasing devotion to Princeton is a harmony that makes us all sound better.

Pablo Eisenberg, Doctor of Laws

For 23 years, Eisenberg served as executive director of the Center for Community Change, one of the nation's most innovative and progressive advocacy organizations, working closely with low-income constituencies and organizing for social justice and civic engagement. He has been a senior fellow at the Center for the Study of Voluntary Organizations and Service at Georgetown University since 1999. A graduate of Princeton, Eisenberg was a nationally ranked tennis champion and competed at Wimbledon. His work has been recognized by numerous awards, including Outstanding Achievement in Public Service Award from the Alliance for Justice, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Society of Fundraising Executives and the John Gardner Leadership Award sponsored by Independent Sector.

After the towers of Princeton, the spires of Oxford and centre court at Wimbledon, he could have settled into a life of privilege. Instead, he chose an unsettled, and unsettling, life, battling in the trenches for social justice and community change, and challenging the privileged and the powerful to make sustainable investments in the underprivileged and the powerless. He has prepared low-income communities to take action for positive change and has prodded high-income individuals and charitable foundations not to slip into encumbered complacency. Armed with intellectual energy and a persuasive persistence, he has demonstrated to leaders in the nonprofit world that giving funds to those who work at the grass roots is as important as getting funds from those who play on the grass courts.

Charles Kuen Kao, Doctor of Science

Charles Kao is internationally known for his pioneering work in fiber optical research and the development of optical fiber transmission systems, which now serve as the backbone of all major communication routes in the world. Research he conducted during the 1960s at ITT Corp. produced 29 patented discoveries. He served as vice-chancellor (president) of the Chinese University of Hong Kong from 1987 to 1996 and is currently chairman and CEO of ITx Services. Kao's work has been recognized by numerous professional awards, including the Charles Stark Draper Prize of the National Academy of Engineering, the Japan Prize (the country's equivalent of the Nobel Prize), a Marconi International Fellowship and the Alexander Graham Bell Medal of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

He has been called the "father of fiber optics" -- the discovery that put "instant" into instant messenger, "electronic" into electronic commerce, "cell" into cell phone and "world" into the World Wide Web. His seminal research fueled the information revolution by demonstrating that optical signals over gossamer-thin glass filaments can transport unprecedented volumes of data with mercurial swiftness and unimaginable clarity. In the laboratory, the classroom and a university president's office, he has led a determined and farsighted search, not only for more and faster information, but for knowledge, and for the application of knowledge to make the world a better, and a better connected, place.

Nannerl O. Keohane, Doctor of Laws

After a decade in office, Nannerl Keohane will step down this June as president of Duke University. She is Duke's first woman president and one of the first women to lead a major U.S. research university. Keohane has launched major programs in fields ranging from genomics to ethics, established the Duke University Health System and pursued ambitious programs to improve student life and enhance diversity. A political scientist, she served as president of Wellesley College, her alma mater, for 12 years and taught at Swarthmore College, the University of Pennsylvania and Stanford University. Keohane was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in 1995 and won the Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement in 1998.

Named for Mozart's sister, she took center stage first at her alma mater, Wellesley, then at Duke, becoming one of the first women to assume the lead role in a major research university. A political scientist by training and a humanist by disposition, she is an adept listener, an adroit leader and a passionate advocate for human rights and equal opportunity. Following in the footsteps of her favorite philosophers, she is a modern Aristotle who values shared deliberation and a 21st century Rousseau who blends divergent perspectives into a common good. Like her beloved basketball teams, she is consistently on target, agile, disciplined and powered by a firm commitment to excellence. We, her admiring fans, applaud her many contributions to the vitality of American higher education.

Robert P. Moses, Doctor of Laws

Robert Moses left his teaching position at Horace Mann School in New York City in 1961 to join the civil rights movement in Mississippi. He was one of the leaders behind the Mississippi Summer Project of 1964 to register black voters and protest racial discrimination. After working for the Ministry of Education in Tanzania, he returned to teaching and developed the concept and curriculum for the Algebra Project, which has helped tens of thousands of students in urban and rural school districts develop essential mathematical skills. Moses' work has been recognized by numerous awards, including the Heinz Award for the Human Condition, the Nation/Puffin Prize for Creative Citizenship and the James Conant Bryant Award from the Education Commission of the States.

Algebra is a mathematical term with roots in the Arabic word for "reuniting broken parts." His Algebra Project is a national network of urban and rural schools that has its roots in the same struggle against segregation and for opportunity and equality that led him to Mississippi in the 1960s to bring the disenfranchised into the body politic by ensuring their right to vote. With the same courage, determination and effective organizing that made him a leader in the civil rights movement, he now mobilizes students, parents, teachers and community leaders in a quiet revolution that provides disadvantaged youngsters with the mathematics literacy they need to participate fully in today's society. His goal is to provide all citizens with the tools they need for effective citizenship, knowing that the whole that draws on the skills and talents of all citizens will be greater than the sum of unfairly unequal parts.

back  |  top