Commencement 2012 >>

Multi-talented honorees excel in arts and sciences

Emory Report | May 10, 2012

Story image
Benjamin Carson will address graduates as this year's Commencement keynote speaker.

Five individuals will receive honorary degrees during Emory's 167th Commencement ceremony:

Benjamin S. Carson Sr., the 2012 Commencement speaker, overcame challenges of poverty, poor schools and low self-esteem to become a full professor of neurosurgery, oncology, plastic surgery and pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. As the inaugural recipient of a professorship dedicated in his name, he is now the Benjamin S. Carson Sr., MD, and Dr. Evelyn Spiro, RN, Professor of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins.

Carson's achievements include pioneering medical procedures for conjoined twins. He has written several books.

Among his many honors, Carson has been named one of the nation's 20 foremost physicians and scientists and a Library of Congress "Living Legend"; and he has received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Carson will receive an honorary doctor of humane letters degree at Commencement.


Camille Billops
, artist, will receive an honorary doctor of humane letters. Billops is a sculptor and printmaker, writer, publisher and filmmaker. She and her husband James V. Hatch founded the Hatch-Billops Collection, an archive of African American cultural materials that they have donated to Emory's Robert W. Woodruff Library. The collection includes interviews with about 1,400 minority artists of all disciplines. 


James V. Hatch
, writer, will receive an honorary doctor of letters. The author of several books on African American theater, Hatch is an emeritus professor in the graduate theater program at City University of New York.

Together with his wife Camille Billops, Hatch established the Hatch-Billops Collection of African American cultural materials, which they have donated to the Robert W. Woodruff Library.

He has received a number of awards for contributions to the arts.


Catharine R. Stimpson
, a leader in the advancement of graduate education, will receive an honorary doctor of letters.  She is dean emerita of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences of New York University.

The scholar of gender studies and feminist theory has authored and edited many works, including novels, numerous essays, stories and reviews for a wide range of publications. Stimpson was the founding editor of Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, in the field of gender studies.


Muhammad Yunus
, known as the father of the microloan, will receive an honorary doctor of letters.  He established the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh in 1983, an endeavor that helped to establish the microcredit movement across the developing world, for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2006.

He also established the Yunus Centre to disseminate his philosophy and practices. Council for Sustainable Economic Development, and the U.N. Expert Group on Women and Finance. He is a member of the board of the United Nations Foundation.

Yunus will be the keynote speaker for the Rollins School of Public Health diploma ceremony.

— From staff reports