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Five receive honorary degrees

For immediate release: May 19, 2003
For more information, contact Laura M. Massie at 216-368-4442 or

CLEVELAND—Five people, including Geraldine A. Ferraro—who was the keynote speaker—received honorary degrees from the University during its 2003 commencement convocation. Ferraro was granted an honorary doctor of laws degree from CWRU. Franz Welser-Most, who is completing his first year as music director of the Cleveland Orchestra, received an honorary doctor of humane letters degree, and nationally renowned professors and researchers Bruce Alberts, Richard M. Krause and Richard H. Thaler were given honorary doctor of science degrees. Krause and Thaler are both CWRU alumni.

photo by Susan Griffith
CWRU honorary degree recipients Bruce Alberts, Richard M. Krause, Richard H. Thaler, Franz Welser-Most and Geraldine A. Ferraro with President Edward M. Hundert

Bruce Alberts

Bruce Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences and chair of the National Research Council, the principal operating unit of the National Academies of Sciences (NAS) and Engineering. He holds the bachelor's degree in biochemical sciences and a doctorate in biophysics from Harvard University. He served on the faculty of Princeton University for 10 years before moving in 1976 to the University of California, San Francisco, where he served as professor and chair of the department of biochemistry and biophysics and as American Cancer Society Professor of Biochemistry. He was named president of NAS in 1993. Alberts is a distinguished scientist, recognized for his work in both biochemistry and molecular biology, particularly for his extensive molecular analyses of the protein complexes that allow chromosomes to be replicated. He also is deeply involved in science education and helped create City Science, a program for improving science teaching in San Francisco elementary schools.

Geraldine A. Ferraro

Geraldine Ferraro, an alumna of Fordham University Law School, had served three terms in the Congress as a representative from New York when, in 1984, she burst onto the national scene as the Democratic candidate for vice president, the first woman on a national party ticket. In Congress she had used her committee roles to oppose the economic initiatives of the Reagan administration and, as a member of the Select Committee on Aging, became known as an advocate for the elderly. She also spearheaded efforts to pass the Equal Rights Amendment and sponsored other legislation to end economic and employment discrimination against women. From 1994-1996 she served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission and in 1994 was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame. She is president of G&L Strategies, a consulting firm that advises global organizations, and is a columnist for the New York Times Syndicate and a political analyst for Fox News.

Richard M. Krause

Two years after receiving a medical degree from CWRU, Richard Krause was a member of a research team at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis that received the Albert Lasker Research Group Award for its contribution to the understanding of streptococcal infections and ways of preventing rheumatic heart disease. In that same year, 1954, he joined Rockefeller University, where he rose to the rank of professor, focusing his research on the substances in bacteria that stimulate the body's immune system. During this period he also served for several years on the faculty of Washington University in St. Louis and as a consultant to the World Health Organization. In 1975 he was named director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), where he led the effort to cope with microbial diseases as threats to health. From 1984-1989 he served as dean of the School of Medicine at Emory University and is currently senior scientific adviser to the NIH's Fogarty International Center.

Richard H. Thaler

Since 1995, Richard Thaler has served as the Robert P. Gwinn Professor of Behavioral Science and Economics and director of the Center for Decision Research in the graduate school of business at the University of Chicago. He also is research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and co-director of the Behavioral Economics Project. He had earlier served on the faculties of the University of Rochester and Cornell University. Thaler holds a bachelor's degree from CWRU and a master's degree and doctorate from the University of Rochester. His teaching and research focus on managerial decision-making, and he is the author or co-author of dozens of articles and papers on the topic that have appeared in leading journals. Among the books he has published are Quasi-Rational Economics (Russell Sage Foundation, 1991) and The Winner's Curse: Paradoxes and Anomalies of Economic Life (Free Press, 1991, and Princeton University Press paperback, 1993).

Franz Welser-Most

Austrian-born conductor Franz Welser-Most is completing his first season as music director of The Cleveland Orchestra, CWRU's world-renowned neighbor in University Circle. Welser-Most's rise to international fame began in 1986 when he made his debut with the London Philharmonic, where he later served as music director from 1990-1996. From 1995 to 2002 he served as music director of the Zurich Opera, conducting more than two dozen new productions and leading annual programs of revivals that included operas from the French, German, Italian and Slavic repertoires. Throughout his young career he also has conducted a number of other orchestras and has made many award-winning orchestral recordings. In 1995 Welser-Most was recognized by the Western Law Center for Disability Rights in Los Angeles for his advocacy for people with disabilities and particularly for his support of the Hartheim Institute, a home for the disabled in his hometown of Linz, Austria.





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