2011 Honorary Degrees

Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters

Deborah Bial

Deborah Bial

President and founder of The Posse Foundation,

Deborah Bial, president and founder of The Posse Foundation, has grown the organization from a concept into one of the most comprehensive college access and scholarship programs in the United States. Since 1989, The Posse Foundation has identified more than 3,000 Posse Scholars. These young people have won $334 million in leadership scholarships, are graduating at a rate of 90 percent, and are leaders on their campuses and in the workforce. The Posse Foundation supports programs in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City and Washington, D.C., and has partnerships with 38 selective institutions of higher education. In October 2007, Bial was honored for her work with a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship from The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Bial completed her bachelor’s degree at Brandeis University and earned her master’s and doctorate in education from Harvard University. In 1999, she received a $1.9 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for her dissertation work, which focused on the design and assessment of a new college admissions tool that could be used in addition to traditional college admissions measures.

Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters

Wendy Doniger

Wendy Doniger

Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Religions at the University of Chicago

Wendy Doniger, the Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Religions at the University of Chicago, has been called “the greatest living mythologist.” She is a scholar of Hindu religious traditions as well as an editor, translator, novelist and memoirist. Her research and teaching interests revolve around the cross-cultural mythology of death, dreams, evil, horses, sex and women.

She has taught at Harvard, Oxford, the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, and the University of California at Berkeley, and, since 1978, at the University of Chicago. She has been president of the American Academy of Religion, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and president of the Association for Asian Studies. She serves on the International Editorial Board of the Encyclopedia Britannica. She has received several accolades, including: the PEN Oakland literary award for excellence in multi-cultural literature, and the Rose Mary Crawshay Prize from the British Academy for the best book about English literature written by a woman. Doniger has written 16 books, many of which have been translated from Sanskrit to English. She has also published more than 300 articles and many reviews.

Doniger first trained as a dancer under George Balanchine and Martha Graham, and then went on to complete two doctorates in Sanskrit and Indian Studies from Harvard University and Oxford.

Honorary Doctor of Science

Dale T. Mortensen ’61

Dale T. Mortensen ’61

Ida C. Cook Professor of Economics at Northwestern University and the Niels Bohr Visiting Professor of Economics at Aarhus University

Joseph Hooton Taylor, Jr. (born March 29, 1941) is an American astrophysicist and Nobel Prize in Physics laureate for his discovery with Russell Alan Hulse of a "new type of pulsar, a discovery that has opened up new possibilities for the study of gravitation."

Dale T. Mortensen ’61 is one of three economists to earn the 2010 Nobel Prize in Economics for their “analysis of markets with search frictions.” The three men pioneered a theory that helps explain why people remain unemployed despite many job vacancies. The model can be used to estimate how unemployment benefits, interest rates, the efficiency of employment agencies and other factors affect the job market. Mortensen’s insight has become the leading technique for analysis of labor markets and the effects of labor market policy. His publications include more than 50 scientific articles.

Mortensen is the Ida C. Cook Professor of Economics at Northwestern University and the Niels Bohr Visiting Professor of Economics at Aarhus University. Mortensen is a fellow of the Econometrica Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Society of Labor Economics and the European Economic Association. He was awarded the IZA Labor Economics Prize in 2005 and the Society of Labor Economics Mincer Prize in 2007. In 2008, he was elected an American Economic Association Distinguished Fellow. Mortensen received his bachelor’s degree in economics from Willamette University and his PhD in economics from Carnegie-Mellon University.

Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters-Awarded September 2010

Nobuyasu Kurata

Nobuyasu Kurata

Chancellor of the Kaneko Educational Foundation

Nobuyasu Kurata was named as chair and chancellor of the Kaneko Educational Foundation in September 2009, expanding his leadership to both Tokyo International University and Tokyo International University of America. Chancellor Kurata taught at Daito Bunka University for more than 20 years before being named vice chairman of the Kaneko Educational Foundation (Tokyo International University) in 2001. He received professor emeritus status from Daito Bunka University in 2002.

Chancellor Kurata received his bachelor of arts in Chinese literature from Daito Bunka University. He is the author and co-author of more than 30 published research papers and scholarly treatises on topics relating to Chinese philosophy, ancient Chinese thought and Japanese thought.

Chancellor Kurata was presented with his honorary degree from Willamette University in September 2010 when President Pelton traveled to Japan.