MIDDLEBURY, Vt.-Former Mayor of New York City and Time magazine 2001 Person of the Year Rudolph Giuliani will deliver the commencement address at the Middlebury College graduation ceremony on May 22. Giuliani will also receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.
During Giuliani’s eight years as mayor, New York City’s crime rate fell by 57 percent, and the FBI designated New York as America’s safest large city. Giuliani also acted to eradicate the influence of organized crime from the city’s commercial life. Income and property values rose, and whole neighborhoods were redeveloped. With the improvement of the city’s economy, Giuliani cut taxes and turned a $2.3 billion budget deficit into a multi-billion dollar surplus.
Prior to his election as mayor, Giuliani served in a number of positions in the federal government, including United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, where he compiled a record of 1,452 convictions. Following an unsuccessful mayoral campaign in 1989, Giuliani ran again in 1993 and was elected the 107th mayor of the City of New York. In 1997, he was re-elected by a wide margin, carrying four out of New York City’s five boroughs.
On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, on hearing that a plane had hit one of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, Guiliani rushed to the scene, arriving just after another plane hit the second tower. He took charge of the emergency efforts from a nearby building, but when the second tower collapsed, the building was engulfed in a wave of dust, ash and debris. Giuliani led his colleagues through the ash and smoke to a firehouse several blocks away, where a detective pried the door open and the group found momentary safety. Giuliani established a new command post at the New York Police Academy on East 20th Street, where he remained for the next three days. He took to the airwaves immediately, reassuring the nation and giving straightforward information about the ongoing rescue effort.
Following the terrorist attacks, Guiliani’s leadership earned the admiration and respect of the national and international communities and especially of the grief-stricken residents of New York City. Giuliani left office at the end of 2001, and is now the president of Giuliani Partners, a New York-based consulting firm specializing in security, preparedness and crisis-management.
Charles Houston will receive an honorary Doctor of Science degree. A resident of Burlington, Houston is emeritus professor of epidemiology and environmental medicine at the University of Vermont. As a physician, he helped invent a forerunner of the Jarvik artificial heart and is one of the world’s foremost authorities on high altitude medicine. His studies of the altitude tolerance of bomber pilots during World War II were crucial in helping the Allies design strategies to defeat Japanese and German flyers. Houston also led the first Peace Corps project in India. He is an author as well, having written a number of books documenting his notable mountaineering achievements. Houston helped plot routes on K-2 in Pakistan and Everest in Nepal that were used by the first teams to successfully summit those peaks, and in 1936, he was part of the team that reached the top of 25,600-foot Nanda Devi in India, at that time the highest mountain ever climbed.
Mary Patterson McPherson, who will receive an honorary Doctor of Letters degree, is vice president of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and president emerita of Bryn Mawr College. She received her bachelor of arts from Smith College, a master’s degree from the University of Delaware and a doctorate from Bryn Mawr College. Before joining Bryn Mawr College as an assistant and fellow in the department of philosophy in 1961, she was an instructor in philosophy at the University of Delaware. At Bryn Mawr she also served as warden of Pembroke East, a graduate student residence hall; assistant dean of the college; associate dean and lecturer in philosophy; dean of the undergraduate college; deputy to the president; and associate professor of philosophy. McPherson became Bryn Mawr’s acting president in 1976 and was its president from 1978-1997. She has served on numerous boards of directors, is a member of the American Philosophical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and has received numerous honorary degrees.
Robert P. Moses will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree. He is founder and president of the Cambridge, Mass.-based Algebra Project, which helps students in inner city and rural areas to achieve mathematics literacy. From 1969-1976, he worked for the Ministry of Education in the east African nation of Tanzania, where he was a teacher and chairperson of the math department at the Samé school. Moses returned to the U.S. in 1976 to continue to pursue doctoral studies in philosophy at Harvard University. A MacArthur Fellow from 1982 through 1987, he used his fellowship to work full-time teaching algebra to seventh and eighth graders as a school volunteer in the Open Program of the Martin Luther King, Jr. School in Cambridge. During that period, he developed the concept for the Algebra Project. Early in his adult life, Moses was an organizer for the civil rights movement as a field secretary for the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee and director of its Mississippi project. Moses’ work on voter registration in Mississippi in 1964 and 1965 contributed to the passage by Congress of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, an act that led to fundamental changes in the politics of the South and the nation.
Donald Sutherland will receive an honorary Doctor of Arts degree. Sutherland is an actor who has appeared in more than 100 films and worked with such filmmakers as Federico Fellini, Alfred Hitchcock, Robert Redford, Oliver Stone and Ron Howard. Sutherland is noted for his role as Dr. Hawkeye Pierce in the 1970 film “MASH.” Among his other films are “The Dirty Dozen,” “Klute,” “Ordinary People,” “Cold Mountain” and “Pride and Prejudice.” Sutherland was made an officer of the Order of Canada in 1978, and later the French government made him an officer of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. He began his theatre career at the University of Toronto, from which he graduated with a bachelor of arts degree before studying at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts and eventually joining Scotland’s Perth Repertory Theatre. Sutherland is the father of Angus Sutherland, who is a member of the Middlebury College graduating class.