The University Record, March 18, 2002

Gray and Shalala are spring commencement speakers

By Mary Jo Frank
Office of the Vice President for Communications

The regents voted at their March 14 meeting to award four honorary degrees at the University’s spring commencement exercises.

Honorary degrees will be presented to Donald A. Glaser, professor of physics, and of molecular and cell biology in the Division of Neurobiology, Graduate School, University of California–Berkeley, and winner of the 1960 Nobel Prize in physics; William H. Gray III, president and chief executive officer of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) and former U.S. Congressman; John Rich, award-winning television and film director and producer; and Donna E. Shalala, president of the University of Miami and former Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Gray will give the main address at the Spring Commencement April 27, and Shalala will be the main speaker at the University Graduate Exercises April 26.

Gray, who served in the U.S. House of Representatives, 1978 until his appointment to the UNCF in 1991, chaired the Democratic Caucus and served as majority whip. He was the highest-ranking Black to serve in Congress and he played a key role in implementing economic sanctions against South Africa as author of the 1985 and 1986 sanction bills, and served as special adviser to President Clinton on Haiti in 1994. Gray, the first African American to chair the House Budget Committee, was a staunch supporter of education.

Gray earned a B.A. degree from Franklin and Marshall College in 1963, a master’s degree in divinity from Drew Theological Seminary in 1966 and a master’s degree in theology from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1970. He has served as pastor of the 5,000-member Bright Hope Baptist Church in Philadelphia for more than 30 years.

Gray has been a faculty member and professor of history and religion at St. Peter’s College, Jersey City State College, Montclair State College, Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary and Temple University.

As head of UNCF, Gray restructured the organization and relocated its headquarters to northern Virginia to improve efficiency, developed a new technology center to link UNCF offices and member colleges electronically, developed the Frederick D. Patterson Research Institute to compile and analyze data on issues affecting Black students from kindergarten through graduate school, and completed a $280 million capital campaign. Sixty-five thousand students attend UNCF member schools, and more than 300,000 have graduated from its 39 affiliated institutions.

Winner of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Freedom of Worship Medal, Gray was recognized by Ebony magazine as one of the “100 Most Important Blacks in the World in the 20th Century.” Gray will receive the honorary Doctor of Laws degree.

Donna E. Shalala became the fifth president of the University of Miami June 1. She has more than 25 years experience as an accomplished scholar, teacher and administrator. She also is a professor of political science, epidemiology and public health, and education.

Shalala was U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, 1993–2000, the longest tenure in history. She directed the government’s welfare reform process, made health insurance available to an estimated 3.3 million children, raised child immunization rates to the highest levels in U.S. history, directed reforms of the Food and Drug Administration drug approval process and food safety system, and revitalized the National Institutes of Health. She worked to combat fraud in Medicare and to extend the long-term solvency of the health insurance program for seniors, and she instituted major management changes in Social Security. At the end of her service, the Washington Post described her as “one of the most successful government managers in modern times.”

She earned an A.B. degree in history from Western College for Women in Oxford, Ohio, in 1962 and a Ph.D. degree from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University in 1970.

A leading scholar on the political economy of state and local governments, Shalala held tenured professorships at Columbia University, the City University of New York, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and she served as a director and treasurer of the Municipal Assistance Corporation, which helped rescue New York City from near bankruptcy in 1975. Shalala also was Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 1977–80, and president of Hunter College of the City University of New York, 1980–87. As chancellor of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, 1987–93, Shalala led what was then the nation’s largest public research university, raising more than $400 million for its endowment and spearheading a $225 million state-private partnership program to renovate and add to the university’s research facilities. In 1992, she received the National Public Service Award and was recognized by Business Week as one of the top five managers in higher education.

Shalala will receive the honorary Doctor of Laws degree.

Donald Glaser, one of the youngest scientists ever to be awarded a Nobel Prize, invented and developed the bubble chamber, a research instrument used to observe the behavior of subatomic particles, while at the U-M. He was a member of the Department of Physics, 1949–1959. Glaser says the idea for the bubble chamber arose from a systematic study of all the ways that the minuscule energy available in the track of a charged particle could be amplified so that the particle’s path could be photographed.

Glaser, who earned a B.S. degree from the Case Institute of Technology in 1946 and a Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology in 1950, was a visiting professor of physics at Berkeley in 1959 and became a permanent faculty member there in 1960. After receiving the Nobel Prize, Glaser used his knowledge of physics to pursue the field of molecular biology, where he did research on bacterial evolution, regulation of cell growth, and the causes of cancer and genetic mutation. He co-founded the first biotechnology company, thus starting a whole new industry, and has served on various boards of directors, including the biotech companies Cetus and Chiron.

Glaser currently is working on a psychophysical and theoretical study of the human visual system to increase understanding of mechanisms in the brain that allow us to see.

He served on the IBM Science Advisory Board and is a member of the American Physical Society, Royal Society of Science, International Academy of Science and the National Academy of Sciences. In addition to receiving the U-M’s Henry Russel Award in 1955, Glaser has been honored with the Charles Vernon Boys Prize of the Physical Society in London, the American Physical Society Prize, the Case Institute of Technology’s Gold Medal and the American Academy of Achievement’s Golden Plate Award. Glaser will receive an honorary Doctor of Science degree.

John Rich, who studied English literature and theater, and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa honor society at the U-M, earned a B.A. degree in 1948 and M.A. degree in 1949. He has produced or directed more than 30 television shows, including some of the medium’s most culturally influential programs. In the 1950s, during television’s Golden Age, he directed such shows as “Our Miss Brooks,” “I Married Joan,” “Gun-smoke,” “Bonanza,” “Bat Masterson” and “G.E. Theatre.”

Rich directed five feature films: “Boeing-Boeing,” “Easy Come, Easy Go,” “Roustabout,” “The New Interns,” and “Wives and Lovers” before returning to television, where he focused on comedy and social satire. He directed the “Dick Van Dyke Show” for three years during the 1960s and earned an Emmy for comedy direction. Rich went on to direct such popular television programs as “That Girl,” “Gomer Pyle,” “Benson,” “Alice,” “Hogan’s Heroes” and “The Twilight Zone,” as well as pilots for “Gilligan’s Island,” “The Brady Bunch,” “Barney Miller,” “The Jeffersons,” “Maude” and “Newhart.”

Rich is perhaps best known for directing 85 consecutive episodes of “All in the Family,” 1971–75, for which he was named Director of the Year by the Directors’ Guild of America (DGA) and received two Emmy Awards—one for director and one for best producer. His other honors include the Christopher Award for the one-man show “Henry Fonda as Clarence Darrow,” the Environmental Media Award for “MacGyver,” two Golden Globe Awards and the NAACP Image Award.

Rich, who will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree, serves on the LS&A Visiting Committee. He endowed the annual John Rich Professorship in the Institute for the Humanities and received the Sesquicentennial Award.