SFA Senior Thesis Exhibition, through May 21 at the Boston University Gallery.

Vol. III No. 34   ·   12 May 2000   

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BU's 2000 honorary degree recipients

The University will confer upon the following individuals honorary degrees for their contributions to the arts, education, and their communities. Tom Wolfe, who is delivering this year's Commencement speech, will be presented with the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa. Guy A. Santagate, Doctor of Laws
As city manager of Chelsea, Mass., Guy A. Santagate brought clean politics and sound finances to a community that often struggled with corruption and mismanagement. His efforts have helped the city attract new development and businesses, and raised public school test scores. A lifelong resident of Chelsea, Santagate worked as an administrator for State Street Bank and National Bankcard Corporation for many years before becoming Chelsea City Manager in 1995. His appointment coincided with the city's emergence from a four-year state receivership that resulted from a $9.5 million deficit on a $40 million budget. The city now has a balanced budget and has attracted more than $46 million in private investment under Santagate's leadership. And while two-thirds of the city's public school students speak a language other than English at home and are among the poorest in Massachusetts, a recent study concluded that the Chelsea schools are now among the most efficient in the state. The schools have operated under the auspices of BU for 12 years. Last year, the state Supreme Judicial Court ruled that Santagate was correct in barring a convicted criminal from taking office after being elected to the Chelsea City Council in 1997. Santagate received a bachelor of science in business administration from Suffolk University in 1962. Partly as a result of his efforts to promote grassroots participation in government in Chelsea, in 1998 the city was named an "All-America City" by the National Civic League. Norman B. Leventhal, Doctor of Laws
Norman B. Leventhal is the chairman of The Beacon Companies, a developer and manager of office buildings, housing, and hotels. At Beacon, Leventhal helped direct several major civic improvement projects in Boston, including Rowes Wharf, Center Plaza, One Post Office Square, and 5,100 units of affordable housing. Leventhal co-founded The Beacon Companies as a construction company with his brother, Robert, in 1946. The firm's conversion of Post Office Square from a two and one-half story parking garage to a lush park, with parking underground, in 1992 is considered emblematic of Leventhal's vision: to enliven and make hospitable Boston's public spaces. "We must constantly work to find ways to make the riches of Boston available to all her citizens, not just the most fortunate among us," he was quoted in a 1997 Boston Globe article. Post Office Square Park was dedicated and named Norman B. Leventhal Park the same year. As chairman of the Trust for City Hall Plaza, Leventhal currently is spearheading the effort to revitalize that center. Born and raised in Boston, Leventhal is a 1933 graduate of Boston Latin School and a 1938 graduate of MIT. He is the author of Mapping Boston (MIT Press, 1999), a book about the social and topographical development of Boston, from its founding to the present day. He was inducted to the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce's Academy of Distinguished Citizens in 1999 and has been honored by several other business and philanthropic organizations. He holds honorary degrees from Hebrew College and Brandeis University. Olympia Dukakis, Doctor of Fine Arts
Olympia Dukakis (SAR'53, SFA'57) had been proving herself as a stage actress and director for more than 30 years before the 1987 romantic comedy Moonstruck earned her an Academy Award for best supporting actress and made her a household name. Recently, she received the Outer Critics Circle award for best solo performance for the one-woman play, Rose. Dukakis grew up the child of Greek immigrants in Lowell, Mass. She earned her bachelor's in physical therapy at BU's Sargent College in 1953 and a graduate degree in performing arts from BU's School for the Arts in 1957. She then moved to New York City, where she eventually garnered roles in more than 125 off-Broadway shows and several Broadway productions, including Social Security and Who's Who in Hell. In 1973, Dukakis helped establish the Whole Theater Company in New Jersey, which quickly achieved national visibility. After Moonstruck launched her film career, she went on to star in Steel Magnolias, Mighty Aphrodite, Mr. Holland's Opus, Look Who's Talking, and The Cemetery Club. She also received critical acclaim for her role as Anna Madrigal in the controversial PBS series Tales of the City and Showtime's More Tales of the City. Dukakis actively campaigned for her cousin Michael Dukakis in his 1988 presidential bid, and is a dedicated activist for women's and environmental issues. She is a member of Broadway Cares, NOW, Women in Film, and Amnesty International, and is a popular lecturer at conferences throughout the United States. She teaches acting at several universities. Ruth J. Simmons, Doctor of Humane Letters
Ruth J. Simmons, president of Smith College, was the youngest of 12 children born to sharecroppers in Grapeland, Texas. She has long championed equal opportunity to education throughout her career, in particular working to make college accessible to inner city children. Simmons began her career as a professor of French at the University of New Orleans. In 1979, she was appointed assistant dean and later became associate dean of the graduate school of the University of Southern California. She moved to Princeton University in 1983, where she served as acting director of the program in Afro-American studies, and assistant and associate dean of the faculty. In 1990, she accepted the position of provost of Spelman College. She returned to Princeton as vice provost in 1990, and was named president of Smith College in 1995. Simmons created Speaking Across the Curriculum, a program designed to set a higher standard for both conversational and formal speech among Smith students in 1998. Simmons received a bachelor of arts degree in 1967 from Dillard University in New Orleans, La., and a doctor of philosophy degree in Romance Languages and Literatures from Harvard University in 1973. She serves on many boards, including that of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company and Pfizer Inc., and has been honored by numerous organizations.



1 June 2000
Boston University
Office of University Relations