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Week of 28 May 2004 · Vol. VII, No. 31

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2004 Boston University honorary degree recipients

His Beatitude Anastasios
Doctor of Humane Letters

When hundreds of thousands of Muslim refugees poured into Albania from war-torn Kosovo in 1999, Orthodox Christians there were instrumental in organizing a historic relief effort. Led by Archbishop Anastasios, Church members and other Albanians opened their homes to refugees and offered them food and clothes, while Orthodox clergy raised more than $10 million from Western churches for humanitarian aid.

Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore speaks with Archbishop Anastasios of Albania. Photo by Kalman Zabarsky


Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore speaks with Archbishop Anastasios of Albania. Photo by Kalman Zabarsky

Archbishop Anastasios is widely revered today both for his role in helping save Kosovar refugees and for rebuilding the Albanian Orthodox Church. A native of Greece, he arrived in Albania in 1991, after 45 of years of communist dictatorship had decimated the Church and left the nation the poorest in Europe.

“Even after the fall of Communism, the religious desolation of Albania was unique in the history of tyranny,” reads the citation to Anastasios’ honorary degree. “As Archbishop, you have restored and rebuilt churches, established seminaries, and brought a rebirth worthy of your given name, which in Greek means ‘resurrection.’ And you have reached out to the many Albanians of the Muslim faith. Your Church’s campaign to relieve the desperate poverty of Albania has benefited all Albanians, and when hundreds of thousands of Muslim Kosovars streamed into Albania fleeing the war that was wracking their country, you worked with great compassion, intelligence, and energy to assure them sanctuary in a country that was itself still recovering from its own economic disasters.”

Archbishop Anastasios was born Anastasios Yannoulatos in Piraeus, Greece, in 1929. As a young theology student at Athens University in the 1950s, he emerged as a leader in a movement calling for Orthodox Christians worldwide to recommit themselves to the Church’s forgotten missionary tradition. In 1959, he founded Porefthendes (Go Ye), a journal devoted to promoting the Orthodox mission. He was ordained a priest and posted to Uganda in 1964, but was forced to return to Europe after successive bouts of malaria.

After several years spent studying theology at the Universities of Hamburg and Marburg in Germany, Yannoulatos was elected to the faculty of Athens University and was ordained a bishop in 1972. By 1981 he had sufficiently recovered his health to return to East Africa, where he served as archbishop until being named archbishop of Albania in 1991. Under his leadership, the newly reinvigorated Orthodox Church there continues to work aggressively to address poverty across the country.

Bill Belichick
Doctor of Humane Letters

In the New England Patriots’ Super Bowl victories in 2002 and 2004, Coach Bill Belichick was credited with not only devising effective defensive schemes, but also instilling a rigorous work ethic and emphasizing teamwork. Before both championship wins, the Patriots refused to be introduced individually, instead running onto the field as a single unit in a show of solidarity.

Honorary degree recipients Bill Belichick (middle) and Keith Lockhart (far left) and Trustee Frederick Chicos. Photo by Vernon Doucette


Honorary degree recipients Bill Belichick (middle) and Keith Lockhart (far left) and Trustee Frederick Chicos. Photo by Vernon Doucette

“You build on the confidence and skill of all your players,” reads the citation to his honorary degree, “and they believe in you and your philosophy of team effort. You don’t recruit stars to the team; you build stars from within.”

Born in 1952 in Nashville, Belichick grew up in Annapolis, Md., where his father, Steve, coached football at the Naval Academy for 33 years. After completing high school, Belichick attended Philips Academy for a year. He went on to Wesleyan University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in economics in 1975.

His first position in the National Football League was as an unpaid assistant with the Baltimore Colts. He moved on to assistant coaching jobs with Detroit and Denver before joining the New York Giants in 1979, staying with them for 12 years and serving as defensive coordinator for two Super Bowl victories. Belichick then spent five years as head coach of the Cleveland Browns before he came to the Patriots as a defensive assistant in 1996. He left the following year to take a position with the New York Jets as defensive coordinator, returning to New England in 2000 as head coach.

“Although the Patriots had not won a Super Bowl in the 41 years of their existence, under your leadership they have won not just one but two Super Bowls in three years,” reads his citation, “doing so both times with unforgettable, eye-popping, heart-stopping finishes. You have brought back to New England the greatest end in sports: the thrill of victory with honor, delight, and pride.”

Belichick and his wife, Debby, have set equally high standards in their philanthropic efforts. They are well known for their commitment to charitable organizations serving populations in need in the local community. The charitable foundation in their name has supported initiatives in Cleveland and in Boston, and in addition they have established a scholarship for an Annapolis High School senior who has demonstrated both academic and athletic achievement.

Saul Bellow
Doctor of Letters

Nobel Laureate Saul Bellow, a BU professor emeritus, is “that increasingly rare thing, a man of letters,” according to the citation to his honorary degree.

Saul Bellow, who received an honorary Doctor of Letters degree, with his wife, Janis. Photo by Fred Sway


Saul Bellow, who received an honorary Doctor of Letters degree, with his wife, Janis. Photo by Fred Sway

Bellow is considered by many leading critics to be the 20th century’s greatest English language novelist. He has received the Pulitzer Prize for Humboldt’s Gift, three National Book Awards, for The Adventures of Augie March, Herzog, and Mr. Sammler’s Planet, and the Nobel Prize in Literature. Among many other accolades, he has been honored with France’s Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters.

Born in Lachine, Quebec, and educated at Northwestern University, where he earned a B.S. in anthropology, Bellow is one of the most distinguished writers in the history of American letters.

At the age of 88, he has been an eyewitness to many of the 20th century’s significant events, and has known renowned figures in politics and the sciences as well as in the arts. His experiences have fed his writing — a dozen novels, novellas, short stories, essays, plays, translations, and a memoir — beginning with “Two Morning Monologues” in 1941 through Ravelstein in 2001.

Bellow came to prominence with his 1953 novel The Adventures of Augie March, which was seen by critics as a dramatic departure from traditional novels and a turning point in American literature. “From the very start, with ‘The Dangling Man,’ you have concerned yourself first with the realities of living and the ultimate questions about life,” reads his citation. “For this you forged a new literary prose, vigorous and supple, rooted in the complexities of your experiences and your artist’s response to them. In language and structure, the novel in English could not be what it now is without you. In drawing from life you have exemplified the great artist, transforming the materials life has given you into transcendent art.”

In addition to his works of fiction, he has also been praised for his penetrating criticism and cultural observation of our time.

Bellow has maintained a lifelong connection to the academy, teaching at universities across the United States and abroad, culminating in 1993 in a decadelong tenure in the University Professors Program.

Irwin Chafetz
Doctor of Humane Letters

Irwin Chafetz (CAS’58) (left), who received an honorary Doctor of Humane letters degree, with BU Trustee Richard DeWolfe (MET’71). Photo by Kalman Zabarsky


Irwin Chafetz (CAS’58) (left), who received an honorary Doctor of Humane letters degree, with BU Trustee Richard DeWolfe (MET’71). Photo by Kalman Zabarsky

After Irwin Chafetz (CAS’58) graduated with a degree in romance languages, he worked for nearly four decades in the travel, hospitality, and trade show industry, and with his wife, Roberta, has used his professional success to give generously to educational, cultural, and health institutions throughout the Boston area. “Many would say that your gift for recognizing opportunities has been the cornerstone of your remarkable success in business, and we believe it has served you equally well in your noteworthy career as a philanthropist,” reads the citation to his honorary degree. “In health care and social services, your support has helped build the Florence and Chafetz Home for Specialized Care in Chelsea, Massachusetts, an affordable assisted-living residence for those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s, and chronic disabilities. You have also been a generous benefactor to Fenway Community Health, the Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange, and the Hebrew Rehabilitation Center for the Aged.”

Boston-born Chafetz launched his career in the travel industry after working a part-time job in the field as a student. He is past president and currently vice president and a director of Interface Group–Massachusetts, Inc., a privately held company that owns and operates GWV International, New England’s largest charter tour operator. He currently serves on the boards of the Wellness Community of Greater Boston, Hebrew College, Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly, and the Hebrew Rehabilitation Center for the Aged. He is also a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council at SMG and a trustee of Suffolk University.

Together with fellow alumnus Leonard Florence (SMG’54, Hon.’01), Chafetz made the naming gift for BU’s Florence and Chafetz Hillel House, which will open in the fall. “In this building,” reads the citation, “Boston University Hillel will continue its tradition of service, both to the Jewish community on campus and to the wider community at large.”

Chafetz and his wife have two sons and four grandchildren.

Keith Lockhart
Doctor of Music

As conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra, Keith Lockhart has “taken a great Boston institution and for 10 exciting years built on its history and infused it with matchless energy and musicianship,” reads his honorary degree citation. “Many evenings at Pops, there is an electric moment toward the finale when the time comes for the audience to join in a chorus. You whirl around on the podium to cue us, and we instantly feel the magnetism that is the constant experience of the players. Somehow, you seem to be looking each of us directly in the eye.”

Honorary degree recipients Alfre Woodard (CFA’74) and Keith Lockhart. Photo by Kalman Zabarsky


Honorary degree recipients Alfre Woodard (CFA’74) and Keith Lockhart. Photo by Kalman Zabarsky

Since becoming conductor of the Boston Pops in 1995 at the age of 35, Lockhart has led the famous orchestra on an ambitious program of touring and recording. It regularly performs to critical and popular acclaim at home in Boston, and also has completed 21 national tours and 4 tours of Japan and Korea. In addition to his many professional conducting appearances, Lockhart annually leads 15 educational concerts for Boston-area students and their families. And as part of the Boston Music Education Collaborative, he serves as a godparent to the Emily Fifield Elementary School in Dorchester.

A native of Poughkeepsie, N.Y., Lockhart had previously been associate conductor of both the Cincinnati Symphony and the Cincinnati Pops orchestras. He has been music director of the Utah Symphony since 1998, and has conducted many of the world’s major orchestras. Earlier this year, he made his Boston Lyric Opera debut, conducting Tosca.

“No one who has seen and heard you conduct a concert at the Pops could ever forget the sight and sound,” reads his citation. “The programs themselves honor tradition through your own informed taste. The performances are always worthy of Symphony Hall and of the great orchestra of which the Pops players form the major part.”

Lockhart is married to Boston Symphony and Boston Pops violinist Lucia Lin, who is a member of the Muir String Quartet in residence at BU and a CFA associate professor.

Edward Markey
Doctor of Laws

Edward Markey’s 13 consecutive reelections to the U.S. House of Representatives “are a remarkable testimony to the integrity, effectiveness, and commitment which have been the hallmark of your tenure in Congress,” reads the citation to his honorary degree.

Honorary degree recipient Edward Markey (right), with his wife, U.S. Assistant Surgeon General Susan Blumenthal (left), and BU President ad interim Aram Chobanian and his wife, Jasmine. Photo by Fred Sway


Honorary degree recipient Edward Markey (right), with his wife, U.S. Assistant Surgeon General Susan Blumenthal (left), and BU President ad interim Aram Chobanian and his wife, Jasmine. Photo by Fred Sway

Born in Malden, Mass., in 1946, Markey earned a B.A. from Boston College in 1968 and a J.D. from Boston College Law School in 1972. First elected to represent the 7th District of Massachusetts in Congress in 1976, Markey has been instrumental in dismantling monopolies in electricity, local and long distance telephone service, cable television, and international satellite communications. He was one of the only members of the Commerce Committee to fight AT&T’s monopoly in the early 1980s, and is a principal author of the requirement that the Bell operating companies accept local telephone service in the 1990s.

In his 28-year tenure in the U.S. House of Representatives, Markey has built an impressive legislative record as a champion of consumer rights, health reform, environmental conservation, and a free, competitive marketplace. As the highest ranking Democrat on the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, he has shaped more than 20 years of telecommunications policy, working to protect children using the Internet, to penalize unsolicited spam e-mails, to establish a do-not-call list for telephone users, and to prevent the listing of cell phone numbers without the subscriber’s consent.

Markey has promoted energy conservation with his 1997 legislation to set minimum energy efficiency standards for major household appliances such as refrigerators and washers and dryers, dramatically reducing energy demand and preserving thousands of acres of land that would otherwise have been developed into real estate for electric power plants.

As a member of the House Select Committee on Homeland Security, he is working to improve security measures at liquid natural gas facilities and nuclear power plants, and aboard commercial airliners.

“You have put your imprint on a broad range of legislative initiatives whose effects will by felt by generations to come, from supporting research into Alzheimer’s disease, to safeguarding privacy, and to preserving the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge,” reads his citation. “In serving the Seventh District, you serve us all.”

J. Craig Venter
Doctor of Humane Letters

J. Craig Venter’s energy, initiative, and unconventional approach to the field of genomics led to one of the most important scientific milestones of the 20th century, the sequencing of the human genome.

Commencement speaker J. Craig Venter arrives at Nickerson Field followed by Alan Leventhal, Board of Trustee Chairman (left), and President ad interim Aram Chobanian. Photo by Kalman Zabarsky


Commencement speaker J. Craig Venter arrives at Nickerson Field followed by Alan Leventhal, Board of Trustee Chairman (left), and President ad interim Aram Chobanian. Photo by Kalman Zabarsky

As a result of his contribution, “it will become possible to assess precisely the risks of inherited disease, patient by patient, and ultimately to devise precisely targeted preventions and cures that will save untold lives and alleviate untold suffering,” reads the citation to his honorary degree.

Venter grew up in Millbrae, Calif. He was a medical corpsman in Vietnam before attending the University of California at San Diego, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in 1972 and a Ph.D. in physiology and pharmacology in 1975. Venter taught at SUNY Buffalo and Roswell Park Cancer Institute before joining the National Institutes of Health in 1984.

After he left the NIH in 1992, he started his own private research firm, the Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR), with his wife and fellow NIH researcher, Claire Fraser. He served as president and CEO of TIGR until 1998, when he founded Celera Genomics with the goal of testing the whole genome shotgun sequence, new mathematical algorithms, and new automated DNA sequencing machines.

In the late 1990s his team at Celera was in a well-publicized race with the largely government-funded Human Genome Project to decipher the human genetic code. Both completed the work in 2000 and published their findings the following year.

Today Venter heads three not-for-profit organizations dedicated to exploring social and ethical issues in genomics, as well as looking for alternative solutions to energy needs through microbial sources.

“Recently you have been sailing around the ocean trolling for new microbes, which in turn provide new genomes to sequence,” reads his citation. “You have already identified thousands of new species of microorganisms and millions of new genes. Even though your discoveries are invisible to the naked eye, you are in the tradition of the heroic age in which Charles Darwin sailed through the South Seas. He was exploring a macrocosm and you, on the sea and in the lab, are exploring microcosms. Your discoveries are as likely to transform the world as his did.”

Alfre Woodard
Doctor of Fine Arts

Ever since four-time Emmy Award winner Alfre Woodard (CFA’74) made her film debut in Remember My Name in 1978, she has distinguished herself as an accomplished actress through a variety of memorable roles. “You are the complete actress, transcending the bounds of stage, big screen, small screen, and radio to show us pure acting at the highest level,” reads the citation to her honorary degree. “Even though we appreciate the fundamental fact that acting is not the art of being oneself but of being someone else, we find your range astonishing . . . ” Woodard’s range is evident in the diversity of roles she has played: as the voice of a lemur named Pilo in Dinosaur, as the lead in the ensemble cast of How To Make an American Quilt, as a drug-addicted mother in Holiday Heart, as Winnie Mandela in HBO’s Mandela, and the voice of both children and adults as she read from slave narratives on National Public Radio’s Unchained Memories.

She received her first Emmy in 1984 for her performance as a grieving mother of a child killed by a police officer on Hill Street Blues. She received Emmys in consecutive years for the PBS production Words by Heart and for a continuing role on St. Elsewhere. Playing nurse Eunice Evers in the HBO production Miss Evers’ Boys, she received a Golden Globe Award, a Cable ACE Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and her fourth Emmy, for best actress in a television miniseries or movie.

“In the 30 years since your graduation from Boston University, you have brilliantly fulfilled the early promise you manifested here and delighted us immeasurably for our part in your story,” the citation continues. “You recently said, ‘I haven’t even begun to do the work I’m capable of doing.’ Considering what you have already done, this is surely an ambitious remark, but no one can doubt you are right.”

Woodard lives in Santa Monica, Calif., with her husband, writer Roderick Spencer, and two children.


28 May 2004
Boston University
Office of University Relations