The University Record, November 26, 1997

U-M will award three honorary degrees


By Wono Lee
News and Information Services

The University will award honorary degrees to Gwendolyn Calvert Baker, educator and social activist; Ken Burns, film-maker and historian; and Richard E. Smalley, chemist and Nobel Prize winner, at winter commencement Dec. 14.

The recommendations for honorary degrees were approved by the Regents at their November meeting.

Gwendolyn Calvert Baker recently retired as president and chief executive officer of the U.S. Committee for UNICEF, the social service organization that works for the survival, protection and development of children and women worldwide. Among her noted accomplishments there were inaugurating October as National UNICEF Month and leading Olympic Aid-Atlanta during the Centennial Olympics that raised $2.5 million to provide emergency assistance for children devastated by war. Before joining the committee in 1993, she was national executive director of the YWCA of USA, 198493.

She taught at the School of Education and directed the U-M's affirmative action efforts before being named chief of the Minorities and Women's Research Program at the National Institute of Education in Washington, D.C., in 1978. She was a member of the New York City Board of Education in 198691 and its president in 1990, and she also served as vice president and dean for graduate and children's programs at Bank Street College of Education in New York City.

Ken Burns was the director, producer, co-writer, chief cinematographer, music director and executive producer of the television series "The Civil War," which won more than 40 major film and television awards, including two Emmys and a Peabody. He also produced and directed "Baseball," the most-watched series in public television history.

His other credits include "The Shakers: Hands to Work, Hearts to God," "The Statue of Liberty," "Huey Long," "The Congress: The History and Promise of Representative Government," "Empire of the Air: The Men Who Made Radio," "The West," and his most recent, "Lewis & Clark: The Journey of the Corps of Discovery."

Richard E. Smalley achieved international renown for his discovery and work on the class of all-carbon molecules shaped like spherical cages, also known as "buckyballs" or "fullerenes," for which he received the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1996.

He joined the Rice University faculty in 1976, was named the Gene and Norman Hackerman Professor of Chemistry in 1982 and in 1990 was also named professor of physics and director of the new Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology. He serves on the editorial boards of a number of prestigious journals. He was elected to National Academy of Sciences in 1990.