A Judge, a War Hero, and a National Defense Leader
Diverse achievements mark honorary degree recipients
Judge Sandra L. Lynch’s just-the-facts jurisprudence has found for both the underdog and for the Man in her career on the bench. She once threw out an $8 million jury verdict against Massachusetts General Hospital for conducting experimental treatment on brain tumor patients, because research damning the treatment emerged only after the fact; on the other hand, Lynch (LAW’71) dissented when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit ruled that by legal definition a rape victim hadn’t suffered serious bodily injury. Her dissent spurred Congress to clarify the law.
Perhaps because she eschews ideology, one compilation found that Lynch’s majority opinions were cited almost 1,000 times by other courts and more than 600 times by law reviews. The awards-laden jurist will give this year’s Baccalaureate speech Commencement Day at 11 a.m. at Marsh Chapel. She is among the five notables receiving honorary degrees—Doctor of Laws in her case—at the main graduation ceremony at Nickerson Field at 1 p.m.
For Lynch, the Commencement nod will honor her alma mater as much as her.
“I am enormously grateful to Boston University and to its law school for admitting me as a student in 1968 and providing me with scholarship support at a time when law schools were not hospitable to women,” she says. “The wisdom of BU’s willingness to invest in equality of women in the legal profession is symbolized by the honorary degree, which I am truly moved to receive.”
Her Baccalaureate address will touch on the role of the country’s democratic institutions against the problems facing today’s university graduates, she says.
Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, she became the first woman on that court when President Bill Clinton appointed her in 1995 to replace Supreme Court–bound Stephen Breyer (Hon.’95). It was one in a string of firsts (among them, the first female head of litigation at the white-shoe Boston law firm Foley, Hoag and Eliot) for Lynch, who earned her undergraduate degree from Wellesley College. She has received distinguished alumnae awards from both that school and the School of Law. Her many other honors include the American Bar Association’s Difference Maker Award, Planned Parenthood’s Distinguished Service Award, an honorary degree from Suffolk University, and awards from the national and Boston bar associations.
In addition to Lynch, Commencement speaker and Google CEO Eric Schmidt, and the College of Fine Arts graduation speaker Leonard Nimoy, the actor best known for his role as Mr. Spock in the television series Star Trek (profiled in tomorrow’s BU Today), the other honorary degree recipients are:
Norman R. Augustine, former CEO and chairman of Lockheed Martin, Doctor of Science. Augustine, who served for 16 years on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, led two major reviews of the future of the U.S. space program, in 1990 and 2009. He also oversaw a 2005 National Academies commission that produced a landmark report, Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future.
Ken Lutchen, dean of the College of Engineering, describes Augustine as “an iconic figure to generations of engineering students and engineers. Norman Augustine has had a transformative impact on how engineering should impact society, primarily in the defense industries. Moreover, he has shown how intimately the business side of engineering must engage the technology innovation to ensure that organizations and society benefit at large.”
Augustine earned a bachelor of science degree from Princeton and joined Douglas Aircraft Company in 1958 as a research engineer, later becoming chief engineer. Beginning in 1965, he served in the Office of the Secretary of Defense as assistant director of defense research and engineering. He joined LTV Missiles and Space Company in 1970 as vice president for advanced programs and marketing. In 1973 he returned to government service as assistant secretary of the Army and in 1975 became under secretary of the Army and later acting secretary of the Army. He joined Martin Marietta Corporation in 1977 as vice president of technical operations and became CEO in 1987 and chairman in 1988. He became president of Lockheed Martin upon the formation of that company in 1995, retiring as chairman and CEO in 1997.
He is a past chairman of the American Red Cross and the National Academy of Engineering, and was president of the Boy Scouts of America. He also served on the boards of Johns Hopkins, MIT, and Princeton, and as a fellow of the National Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was awarded the National Medal of Technology, the Joint Chiefs of Staff Distinguished Public Service Award, and the highest civilian decoration from the Department of Defense, the Distinguished Service Medal.
Thomas G. Kelley, former Massachusetts secretary of veterans services, Doctor of Laws. Born in Boston, Kelley, then a U.S. Navy lieutenant, was awarded the Medal of Honor for his bravery and leadership while serving as commander of a River Assault Division in Vietnam in 1969. Kelley, who joined the Navy after graduating in 1960 from the College of the Holy Cross, maneuvered his own boat into the line of fire to engage the enemy while other boats in his command formed a protective cordon around a disabled craft. Although severely wounded when a rocket-propelled grenade exploded near his head, Kelly continued to direct the operation, which succeeded in its mission to save an Army infantry company upriver.
Kelley recovered from his injuries, but lost an eye. He remained in the Navy until 1990, when he retired as a captain. In 1999, he was appointed commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Veterans Services by Governor Paul Cellucci, becoming secretary of the department in 2003. He retired from public service in 2010.
“I’m very honored and pleased,” says Kelley, who has spoken to many Navy ROTC students. “I simply tell them that they’re very privileged, and there is no more awesome responsibility than serving your country.” He has worked for decades to expand and improve government programs to help veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, mental health problems, and brain injuries. “Both the military and the Veterans Affairs are doing a lot,” he says. “But there’s still a lot to be done.”+ Comments