Hamilton College Names Honorary Degree Recipients
Approximately 450 students will receive bachelor's degrees during the ceremonythat marks the end of the college's 184th academic year. The Commencementaddress will be delivered by prominent American biographer David McCullough.
In addition to McCullough (Doctor of Letters), honorary degrees will bepresented to former associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Harry Blackmun(Doctor of Laws), jazz trumpeter Harry "Sweets" Edison (Doctor of Music), NewYork State Board of Regents Chancellor Carl Hayden (Doctor of Laws), Dean ofthe School of Nursing at Columbia University Mary O'Neill Mundinger (Doctor ofHumane Letters), professor and college marshal emeritus Sidney Wertimer (Doctorof Humane Letters) and retired Citicorp CEO Walter Wriston (Doctor of Laws).
West Tisbury, Mass.
David McCullough, author of six widely acclaimed books, including the PulitzerPrize-winning biography, Truman, was born in Pittsburgh in 1933. In1955, he graduated from Yale University with honors in English literature, andwithin a year began working in New York at Sports Illustrated. Duringthe Kennedy Administration, McCullough served as an editor on a magazinepublished by the U.S. Information Agency, and later worked as an editor forAmerican Heritage magazine.
His monumental Truman, a work of 10 years, has been called a"masterpiece of American biography." An unprecedented national bestseller, thebook has sold over a million copies to date. The recently released film Truman, starring Anthony Hopkins, was also based on McCullough's biography.
Since 1989, McCullough has hosted the PBS television show, The AmericanExperience. Previously, he hosted Smithsonian World and narratedthe Emmy Award-winning documentary series, The Civil War, in 1990.
Hon. Harry A. Blackmun
Harry Blackmun, former associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court(1970-1994), was born in Nashville, Ill., in 1908. Growing up in St. Paul,Minn., he graduated from Harvard University in 1929 and Harvard Law School in 1932. From 1934 to 1950, Blackmun practiced with a large Minneapolis law firm, where hespecialized in taxation and estate planning.
A Republican, Blackmun was named a justice on the Eighth Circuit Court in1959 by President Eisenhower. In 1970, President Nixon appointed Blackmun tothe Supreme Court seat vacated by Abe Fortas. On the circuit bench, hedeveloped a reputation as a cautious and conservative judge who respectedprecedent and favored judical restraint. Over the years, however, Blackmunmoved to the center and finally the liberal wing of the Court. His best-knownand most controversial opinion was the majority opinion he wrote in Roev. Wade legalizing abortion. The decision upheld the right to an abortionas a basic medical procedure protected by the right to individual privacyimplied in the Constitution.
Harry "Sweets" Edison
Los Angeles, Calif.
American trumpeter Harry "Sweets" Edison, one of jazz's most gifted anddistinctive trumpet players, was born in Columbus, Ohio, in 1915. Edison, whobegan playing the trumpet at age 12, gained valuable early experience with anumber of territory bands, including the Jeter-Pillars orchestra. He joined the Count Basie Band in 1938, where he remained until Basie folded his big band in 1950.
During the 1950s, Edison began a long career as a solo artist and studiomusician. He toured with Buddy Rich in the U.S. and South America, accompanyingJosephine Baker. After settling on the West Coast, Edison became a regularstudio musician, working often with top artists like Frank Sinatra, Nat KingCole and Nelson Riddle. He led a group featuring Joe Williams and worked againwith Basie in the 1960's and 1970's.
Edison, 80, has composed or co-composed of various jazz numbers, including"Jive at Five" and "Beaver Junction." In 1992, at the age of 76, he receivedan American Jazz Masters Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Carl Hayden '63
Carl Hayden, chancellor for the New York State Board of Regents,graduated from Hamilton in 1963 and earned his J.D. degree at Cornell LawSchool in 1970. An attorney in private practice in Elmira, he was elected to aseven-year term as the regent for the Sixth Judicial District effective April1, 1990. The Sixth Judicial District is comprised of the counties of Broome,Chemung, Chenango, Cortland, Delaware, Madison, Otsego, Schuyler, Tioga andTompkins. Hayden was elected chancellor by his regent colleagues in March1995, and his term runs through March 1998.
Hayden has been involved in various community services throughout the years,including past president of the Elmira City School District Board of Education,past chair and president of the Chemung County Chapter of the American RedCross and founder of the Mark Twain Arts