President Richard Brodhead announced Thursday that Duke will award five honorary degrees at this year's commencement ceremony.
The recipients are epidemiologist and global health pioneer Dr. William Foege; Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; journalist and TV talk show host Charlie Rose, Trinity ’64 and Law ‘68; former U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey; and mathematician Srinivasa Varadhan.
"As we celebrate the achievements of our graduates, Duke also has a tradition of conferring a small number of honorary degrees at commencement," Brodhead said in a press release Thursday. "These degrees honor individuals who have made outstanding contributions in diverse fields. We lift them up as inspiring examples of how today’s graduates might use their talent and education to make their own contributions to the world.”
Foege, who was the director of the Center for Disease Control from 1977 to 1983, developed a vaccination strategy to help eradicate smallpox in Nigeria in the 1970s. He is currently a senior fellow at The Carter Center, a human rights nonprofit founded by former US President Jimmy Carter.
The first woman and African-American to be president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Lavizzo-Mourey specializes in geriatrics. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has assets of $10 billion and works to improve health care for Americans. Lavizzo-Mourey is a former professor of medicine and health care systems at the University of Pennsylvania as well as the past director of its Institute on Aging.
Rose is the anchor and executive editor of his nightly eponymous news show, "Charlie Rose," in addition to his roles as a co-anchor of "CBS This Morning" and a correspondent on "60 Minutes." He won an Emmy Award and Peabody Prize in 2013 for his interview with Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.
Trethewey won the Pulitzer Prize for one of her four books of poetry, "Native Guard." A professor of English and creative writing at Emory University, she taught documentary poetry at Duke and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from 2005 to 2006.
Varadhan is a professor of mathematics and Frank J. Gould professor of science at New York University's Courant Institute. In 2010, he received the National Medal of Science from President Barack Obama.
Commencement will be held May 15 in Wallace Wade Stadium and will feature an address from men’s basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski.
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