The University Record, November 26, 1996
Four will receive honorary degrees at December commencement
Four persons---Robert Altman, filmmaker; Sandra Day O'Connor, justice of the U.S. Supreme Court; John H. Pickering, lawyer; and Vera Rubin, astronomer---will receive honorary degrees from the University at the winter commencement Dec. 15.
Altman, who will receive an honorary doctor of fine arts degree, is often described as a maverick film director. His films include M*A*S*H, McCabe and Mrs. Miller, Nashville, A Wedding, Three Women and The Player. He directed The Rake's Progress by Stravinsky in the Power Center Series of the School of Music opera theater several years ago (repeated, with U-M students, at the Opera d'Lille, France).
O'Connor, associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court since 1981, held her first public office as an assistant attorney general in Arizona (1965-69) and became a state senator (1969-75), serving as majority leader in 1973-74. She also served as a judge of the Maricopa County Superior Court (1975-79) and the Arizona Court of Appeals (1979-81). She will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree from the University.
Pickering, who will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree, is senior counsel to the Washington, D.C., law firm of Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering which he helped found in 1962. He began a private practice in New York City in 1940 and served as law clerk to Justice Frank Murphy of the U.S. Supreme Court 1941-43. He has been in private practice in the District of Columbia since 1946 and has been active in a number of civic and professional organizations.
Rubin, who has worked at the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism, Carnegie Institution in Washington, D.C., since 1965, is in large part responsible for the discovery of flat rotation curves of galaxies, which are the best evidence for the existence of "dark matter" in the universe. She was the first woman ever permitted to observe at the Palomar Observatory. She has been a member of the National Academy of Sciences since 1972. She will receive an honorary doctor of science degree.