February 11, 2011

Good Morning:

I am pleased to share with you our honorary degree recipients for Commencement 2011.

This year's recipients have made extraordinary, lifelong contributions to science, communications, civic engagement and the arts, traveling paths that have led through Harvard, Wellesley, Brandeis, Oxford, Cambridge and Motown. They include:

Walter Gilbert, a molecular biologist who won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry (along with Paul Berg and Frederick Sanger) for his development of a method to determine the sequence of nucleotide links in DNA and RNA. This breakthrough would later aid him in his role as a critical member of the Human Genome Project.

Thomas Friedman, best-selling author, reporter, New York Times columnist and three-time Pulitzer Prize winner, who will also deliver the keynote address at Commencement.

Cokie Roberts, an award-winning journalist and bestselling author who serves as a contributing senior news analyst for NPR and ABC News. A native New Orleanian with strong Tulane connections through her parents Lindy and Hale Boggs, Cokie has been named “one of the 50 greatest women in the history of live broadcasting” and a “Living Legend” by the Library of Congress.

Stevie Wonder, one of the world’s most popular musicians with nearly 50 Top 40 hits and more than 30 No. 1 hits. Stevie is also a civil rights activist and supports numerous causes, especially those focused on people with disabilities. This, along with his famine relief efforts in Africa and advocacy for ending apartheid in South Africa, have led to his designation as a U.N. Messenger of Peace.

At past Commencements we have gotten Ellen to dance, the Marsalis family to perform and Anderson Cooper to crack jokes. Can we convince Stevie to perform a song or two? You will have to attend Commencement to find out.

Have a great weekend,


Office of the President Emeritus, 1555 Poydras St, Suite 700, New Orleans, LA 70112 504-274-3638