Lately it occurs to me…

Recipients of honorary degrees

John Adams, American composer and conductor, who has “pushed the boundaries of music, layering sound upon sound, playing with silence and speech and song, extending minimalism”: Doctor of Music.

Vinton Cerf, vice president and “chief Internet evangelist,” Google Inc., who has been “hailed as one of the ‘fathers of the Internet’”: Doctor of Engineering and Technology.

Elizabeth Clark, professor of religion and of history, Duke, who has expanded “our understanding of the origins and development of Christianity, and changed the way we view ancient customs and our own more recent past”: Doctor of Divinity.

Edwidge Danticat, author and activist for social justice in Haiti, a writer of “truth-telling narratives that create awareness of broken society and offer hope for healing”: Doctor of Letters.

Natalie Zemon Davis, professor emeritus of history, Princeton; adjunct professor of history and medieval studies, University of Toronto, who has “changed the way we see the past by focusing on the material conditions and mental outlook of ordinary people”: Doctor of Humanities.

Esther Duflo, economics professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who has magnified “the good we can do in the world by showing us which actions are most effective in alleviating poverty and its attendant suffering: Doctor of Social Science.

William Kentridge, artist, who works “against a backdrop where apartheid once ruled” and whose “art shows the still-jagged edges of a society not yet healed”: Doctor of Fine Arts.

Richard C. Levin ’74PhD, who, after 20 years as Yale’s president, leaves it “strengthened in every important dimension,” and who has “embodied the ethos of Yale: commitment to excellence, to truth, and to service”: Doctor of Humane Letters.

Frederick Smith ’66, founder and CEO of FedEx, who “conceived of the idea that became Federal Express while writing a term paper for a Yale College economics course,” and whose “idea shrank the planet”: Doctor of Humane Letters.

Sonia Sotomayor ’79JD, US Supreme Court Justice, whose “jurisprudence is impartial and yet situated, objective and yet involved, tough and yet caring”: Doctor of Laws.