91B0FBB4-04A9-D5D7-16F0F3976AA697ED
C9A22247-E776-B892-2D807E7555171534

Dance and Jazz Legends Among Honorary Degree Recipients at HamiltonCollege


Arthur Mitchell, founder, director andchoreographer of the Dance Theatre of Harlem, and jazz legend Bob Wilber areamong the five people who will receive honorary degrees at Hamilton College's186th commencement on Sunday, May 24.

The other recipients include Taft School Headmaster Lance Odden, long-timesecurities industry executive Keith Wellin and Carnegie Endowment forInternational Peace President Jessica Mathews, who will deliver the annualcommencement address.

The ceremony will take place at 10:30 a.m. on the Main Quadrangle, or, in theevent of inclement weather, in the Margaret Bundy Scott Field House.

The baccalaureate address will be delivered on Saturday, May 23, by JeanD'Costa, who is retiring as the Leavenworth Professor of English after 18 yearson the Hamilton faculty. That ceremony will take place at 3 p.m., also on theMain Quadrangle.

Jessica Mathews, Washington, D.C.

Doctor of Laws

A 1967 magna cum laude graduate of Radcliffe College, Mathews is thepresident of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. She received herPh.D. degree in molecular biology from the California Institute of Technologyin 1973, and subsequently moved to Washington where she began a career inpublic service as a congressional science fellow for the American Associationfor the Advancement of Science. She continued in Congress as a professionalstaff member of the House Interior Committee, and in 1975-76 served as nationalissues director for Congressmen Morris Udall's presidential campaign.

From 1977 to 1979, Mathews was director of the Office of Global Issues on thestaff of the National Security Council at the White House. She spent the nextthree years as a member of the editorial board of The Washington Post,covering energy, the environment, science, technology, arms control, health andother issues.

For the next 11 years, beginning in 1982, Mathews was director of research andthen vice president for the World Resources Institute, an internationally knowncenter for policy research on domestic and international environmental andnatural resource management issues. She returned to government service for ayear in 1993 as deputy to the undersecretary of state for global affairs andthen served from 1993 to 1997 as a senior fellow at the Council on ForeignRelations.

A New York City native, Mathews is currently a trustee of the BrookingsInstitution, the Inter-American Dialogue and the Surface Transportation PolicyProject, a national coalition of groups working on domestic transportationissues, of which she is a co-founder.

Arthur Mitchell, New York, N.Y.

Doctor of Fine Arts

Upon learning of the death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968, ArthurMitchell decided to do something to provide the children in Harlem with theopportunities he had been given. With financial assistance from the FordFoundation, Mitchell and Karel Shook, his mentor and ballet instructor, foundedDance Theatre of Harlem as a school of the allied arts and professional dancecompany. Today, 29 years later, Mitchell serves DTH as artistic director andpresident.

After attending New York City's High School of Performing Arts and the Schoolof American Ballet on a full scholarship, Mitchell became the firstAfrican-American male to become a permanent member of a major ballet companywhen he joined the New York City Ballet in 1955. During his 15-year careerwith the company he quickly rose to the position of principal dancer, andbecame well-known for special roles choreographed for him by the late GeorgeBalanchine.

In 1968, Mitchell was asked to organize the American Negro Dance Companyrepresenting the United States at the first World Festival of Negro Arts inSenegal. A year later, at the request of the U.S. International Association,he founded the National Ballet Company of Brazil.

Among his many honors and awards, Mitchell has received the National Medal ofArts, the highest honor awarded by the president of the United States in thearts and humanities.

Lance Odden, Watertown Conn.

Doctor of Humane Letters

Lance Odden is one of the nation's leading secondary school administrators,having served as headmaster of The Taft School in Watertown, Conn., since July1972. A 1957 graduate of Phillips Academy, Odden received his bachelor'sdegree in history from Princeton University in 1961 and his master's degree,also in history, from the University of Wisconsin in 1967.

Odden has held many leadership positions in secondary education. He iscurrently a trustee and member of the Executive Committee of the NationalAssociation of Independent Schools, and is a former president of theHeadmasters Association, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges,and the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools.

In 1976, Odden started The Taft Educational Center, which introduces secondaryschool teachers, many from the nation's most distressed school districts, toimproved teaching methods. More than 7,000 teachers have benefited from thisprogram since its inception.

Odden is also a former chairman of the board and member of the ExecutiveCommittee of A Better Chance program, a national organization that recruitsacademically motivated students of color for placement in outstandingindependent and public high schools. The Clinton ABC Chap

Back to Top