MIDDLEBURY, Vt.-Actor and activist Christopher Reeve, who is best known for his lead role in the 1978 motion picture “Superman,” and his wife Dana Morosini Reeve, a memberof the Middlebury College class of 1984, will co-deliver the commencement address at Middlebury’s graduation ceremony on Sunday, May 23. Each of them will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree. Reeve’s wife is also an actress and an activist, as well as a singer. The College will award honorary degrees to eight other distinguished individuals as well.
Paralyzed from the neck down in an equestrian competition in 1995, Reeve became an advocate for those suffering from spinal cord injuries and other disabilities. Since 1999, he has served as the chairman of the board of the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation (CRPF), and is also a volunteer for a number of other organizations, including the National Organization on Disability (NOD), which he serves as vice chairman.
Middlebury College President John M. McCardell Jr. said in an interview with The Middlebury Campus, the student newspaper, “I am delighted that Christopher Reeve and Dana Morosini Reeve will be our commencement co-speakers. Their message will undoubtedly be uplifting, and their example is inspiring.”
Reeve’s film credits also include the “Superman” sequels, “Deathtrap,” “The Bostonians,” and the Oscar-nominated “The Remains of the Day.” Since his injury, Reeve has continued to work in his field. He made his directorial debut in April 1997 with HBO’s “In the Gloaming,” which was nominated for five Emmys and won six Cable Ace Awards. Reeve also starred in an updated version of the classic Hitchcock thriller “Rear Window,” for which he won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries. He served as executive producer of the film as well. He is the author of “Still Me” (Random House, 1998), which spent 11 weeks on the New York Times best-seller list, and “Nothing is Impossible: Reflections on a New Life” (Random House, 2002).
At Middlebury, Dana Morosini Reeve majored in English and took a number of theatre courses before graduating cum laude. Her theatre credits include the starring role in the New Jersey Shakespeare Festival’s recent rendition of “The Crucible,” as well as a leading role in the Broadway comedy “More to Love.” On television, she has guest starred on “Law and Order” and “All My Children,” and played recurring roles on the CBS drama “Feds” and the HBO series “Oz.” She also appeared in the HBO films “Above Suspicion” and “Someone Had to Be Benny.” Like her husband, she is an advocate for increases in medical research funding, and for the rights of the disabled. She serves on the boards of several organizations, including the CRPF.
The College also will present honorary degrees to eight other distinguished individuals, including Arthur B. Cohn, who will receive a Doctor of Science degree. Since 1984, Cohn has been the executive director and co-founder of the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum in Vergennes. In this position, he has worked to document the lake’s history through the discovery and preservation of numerous artifacts, including Benedict Arnold’s Revolutionary War gunboat “Spitfire,” found in 1997. A professional diver, Cohn is an adjunct assistant professor at the University of Vermont and Texas A&M University, an advisor to Vermont Senators Patrick Leahy and James Jeffords on matters involving cultural resources and the lake, and the author of several books, including “Lake Champlain’s Sailing Canal Boats,” published last year by the museum. He is also a member of the board of the Council of American Maritime Museums.
Kenneth R. Feinberg will receive a Doctor of Laws degree. One of the nation’s leading experts in mediation and alternative dispute resolution, he is currently the special master of the federal September 11 Victim Compensation Fund. Granted full power by Congress to repay the families of victims, Feinberg administers all aspects of the fund, including evaluating applications and determining appropriate compensation. The managing partner and founder of the law firm The Feinberg Group, he has served as mediator and arbitrator in thousands of disputes involving matters such as Agent Orange and asbestos personal injury litigation. Feinberg, who has taught at Georgetown University Law Center and a number of other law schools, is the father of Andrew P. Feinberg, a member of the Middlebury College class of 2004.
The College will award Claire W. Gargalli with a Doctor of Humane Letters degree. A 1964 graduate of Middlebury, she was a trustee of the College from 1988-2002 and the chair of the board of trustees from 1995-1999. Gargalli is currently a trustee emeritus of both Middlebury and Carnegie Mellon University. She is also a member of the board of directors of a number of companies, including Houston-based Baker Hughes, an oil field service company, and a member of the advisory boards of several organizations, such as The Heart Center at the University of Virginia. A former banking executive, she most recently worked for Diversified Search Companies, a Philadelphia-based executive search firm where she served as vice chairman and partner from 1990-1998.
Marcia Kraft Goin will receive a Doctor of Science degree. A member of the Middlebury College class of 1954, Goin earned her medical degree from the Yale University School of Medicine. She also holds a doctorate from the Southern California Psychoanalytic Institute. Goin is a professor of clinical psychiatry at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, where she is the director of residency training in the adult psychiatric outpatient department. She is also the president of the American Psychiatric Association, the oldest medical specialty organization, which has a membership of 35,000 psychiatrists. Goin is the editor of a column, “Practical Psychotherapy,” in the Journal of Psychiatric Services.
F. Washington Jarvis will receive a Doctor of Letters degree. On June 30, Jarvis will retire from the Roxbury Latin School in Boston, where he has served as headmaster since his arrival in 1974. Prior to his current position, Jarvis was chairman of the history department and the assistant director of the upper school at University School in Cleveland. An ordained Episcopal priest, he also previously worked as curate at St. Paul’s Church in Cleveland. Jarvis is the past president of the Headmasters Association of the United States and the Country Day School Headmasters Association. He is the author of six books and numerous articles in the fields of history, education and religion.
Although he will not attend commencement, W. Storrs Lee will receive a Doctor of Letters degree on May 11 in Maine, where he lives, from President McCardell and a Middlebury College delegation. A 1928 Middlebury graduate, Lee was a Dutton Fellow at Oxford University before returning to the College in 1930 as both an instructor in the English department and editor of College publications. In 1941, he served with two other faculty members as interim College president. Later that year, he began active duty as a Navy Reserve intelligence officer, attaining the rank of commander. After World War II, Lee returned to Middlebury as dean of men for 10 years. Following his departure in 1955, he continued to write books. His works include “Father Went to College” and “Gamaliel Painter.”
The College will present Paul Muldoon with a Doctor of Letters degree. A Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, he was born in Ireland, where he lived until 1987 when he moved to the United States. Muldoon is currently a professor at the Middlebury College Bread Loaf School of English, the Howard G.B. Clark ‘21 University Professor in the Humanities at Princeton University, and professor of poetry at the University of Oxford. His numerous collections of poetry include “Moy Sand and Gravel,” for which he won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize. Muldoon has won many other awards as well, such as the 2004 Shakespeare Prize. The Times Literary Supplement described him as “the most significant English-language poet born since the Second World War.”
The College will award Meryl Streep a Doctor of Arts degree. A two-time Academy Award winner and the recipient of a record-breaking 13 Oscar nominations, she has portrayed a vast array of roles in theatre, film and television, most recently appearing in the HBO epic “Angels in America.” Upon Streep’s graduation from Vassar College, where she acted in her first play during her sophomore year, she won a scholarship to the Yale School of Drama, where she received a master of fine arts degree. Shortly afterwards she moved to New York and critics immediately took notice of her theatre work. Streep’s feature film career includes roles in “The Deerhunter,” “Kramer vs. Kramer,” “Sophie’s Choice,” “Silkwood,” “Out of Africa,” “The Bridges of Madison County,” “One True Thing,” “Music of the Heart,” and “The Hours.” She is the aunt of Abraham K. Streep, a member of the Middlebury College class of 2004.
The outdoor graduation ceremonies will take place on the main quadrangle behind Voter Hall on College Street (Route 125) at 10 a.m. on Sunday, May 23. More than 5,000 family and friends are expected to attend. In the case of severe weather, commencement will be held in Kenyon Arena on Route 30.
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