The University Record, April 15, 1998

U of Capetown's vice chancellor to give commencement address










By Wono Lee
News and Information Services

Four persons--Richard Ford, Mary Lowe Good, Mamphela A. Ramphele and Edward W. Said--will be recommended to receive honorary degrees at Ann Arbor campus commencement exercises May 1-3. Mae Jemison, U-M-Dearborn commencement speaker, will be recommended to receive an honorary degree at Dearborn's commencement May 3.

The Regents will act on the recommendations at their April 21 meeting.

Ramphele will give the main speech at the Spring Commencement for all undergraduates on May 2 in Michigan Stadium. Ann Arbor campus honorary degrees will be conferred at this event.

Ford is a novelist and short story writer. Good is a chemist whose career ranged from academia, to industrial sector and the national government. Ramphele is vice chancellor of the University of Cape Town in South Africa. Said is University Professor and chair of the Doctoral Program in Comparative Literature at Columbia University. Jemison is a medical doctor and former astronaut.

Ford will be the main speaker at the University Graduate Exercises in Hill Auditorium on May 1. Doctoral candidates and Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies master's degree candidates will be honored at the ceremony.

Many schools and colleges also will hold recognition ceremonies for their graduating students. Altogether, some 6,000 students on the Ann Arbor campus expect their degrees this spring.

Ford, who will receive an honorary doctor of humane letters, won in 1996 both the PEN-Faulkner Award for Fiction and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for his novel, Independence Day. He was a member of the Michigan Society of Fellows in 1971-74, a faculty member in 1975-76, and the Avery Hopwood Memorial Lecturer in 1992. He also has taught at Williams College and Princeton and Harvard university, and is a visiting professor at Northwestern University.

Good, who will receive an honorary doctor of engineering degree, taught in the Louisiana State University system for more than 20 years, and then became senior vice president for technology at AlliedSignal. She is a managing member of Venture Capital Investors, LLC. A trusted science adviser to four U.S. presidents, she was undersecretary of technology in the U.S. Department of Commerce in 1993-97. She also served as a member of the National Science Board for 11 years, including as its chair in 1988-91.

Ramphele, who will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree, is a South African university administrator, social anthropologist, social activist and physician. In 1996, she was named vice chancellor of the University of Cape Town (a position equivalent to president in American universities), becoming the first Black woman to head a South African university. She has been an outspoken leader in pre- and post-apartheid efforts to create more democratic and racially representative institutions in South Africa.

Said, who will receive an honorary doctor of humane letters degree, is one of the nation's most influential cultural critics. His writings have appeared in 26 languages. A Palestinian-American, he was born in Jerusalem and received his Ph.D. from Harvard University, where he won the Bowdoin Prize. He joined the Columbia University faculty as an instructor in 1963. Today, he is a University Professor, the highest honor Columbia bestows upon a faculty member, and teaches across the fields of history, music, and literature.

Jemison will receive an honorary doctor of science degree. A medical doctor, Jemison was the first Black woman to go into space. An astronaut for six years, she flew a mission on the Space Shuttle Endeavor in 1992. Before joining NASA, Jemison served in the Peace Corps as a medical officer in Sierra Leone and Liberia.

She entered Stanford University at age 16 and earned a degree in chemical engineering and African and Afro-American studies. She earned her medical degree from Cornell in 1981. She is professor of environmental studies and director of the Jemison Institute for Advancing Technology in Developing Countries at Dartmouth College.