Commencement

Speakers and Award Recipients 2014

Speakers and Award Recipients 2014

Commencement Speaker

Commencement Speaker

Thomas Perez

Thomas E. Perez

Secretary of Labor

Thomas E. Perez was nominated by President Barack Obama to serve as the nation’s 26th Secretary of Labor. He was sworn in July 23, 2013.

Previously Perez served as assistant attorney general for civil rights at the U.S. Department of Justice. The Civil Rights Division enforces federal laws that prohibit discrimination and uphold the civil and constitutional rights of all who live in America. Under his leadership, the division successfully implemented the Shepard-Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act; expanded equal housing opportunity by bringing and settling the largest fair-lending cases in history; protected schoolchildren from discrimination, bullying and harassment; dramatically expanded access to employment, housing and educational opportunities for people with disabilities; and protected the right to vote for all eligible voters free from discrimination.

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Baccalaureate Speaker

Baccalaureate Speaker

Mary Evelyn Tucker

Mary Evelyn Tucker

Senior Lecturer and Senior Research Scholar at Yale University

Mary Evelyn Tucker is a senior lecturer and senior research scholar at Yale University, where she teaches in a joint Master’s program in religion and ecology between the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies as well as Yale Divinity School.

Her concern for the growing environmental crisis, especially in Asia, led her to organize with her husband, John Grim, a series of 10 conferences on World Religions and Ecology at the Center for the Study of World Religions at Harvard Divinity School (1995-1998). Together they are series editors for the 10 volumes from the conferences distributed by Harvard University Press. From this series Tucker edited Hinduism and Ecology (Harvard, 2000), Confucianism and Ecology (Harvard, 1998), and Buddhism and Ecology (Harvard, 1997).

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Honorary Degree Recipients

Commencement Speaker

Marta Kutas

Marta Kutas ’71

Doctor of Science

Marta Kutas is distinguished professor and chair of the Department of Cognitive Science at the University of California, San Diego, where she is also a distinguished adjunct professor in the Department of Neurosciences. Kutas also directs an organized research unit at UCSD, and the Center for Research in Language, where academics and researchers interested in any aspect of language gather to discuss, collaborate, and learn.

Kutas received her bachelor’s in psychology at Oberlin in 1971 and her master’s and PhD at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in 1974 and 1977. She also studied at Kibbutz Galed near Haifa, Israel. Kutas began her tenure at UCSD in 1978 as a postdoctoral research neuroscientist in the Department of Neurosciences. In 1985, she was named an associate research neuroscientist in the Department of Neurosciences and, in 1991, she was hired as a professor in the Department of Cognitive Science at UCSD.

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Christopher R. Browning

Christopher R. Browning ’67

Doctor of Humanities

Christopher R. Browning is the Frank Porter Graham Professor of History at the University ofNorth Carolina-Chapel Hill. Before taking up this position in fall 1999, he taught for 25 years at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington.

Browning received his bachelor’s in history at Oberlin in 1967 and his master’s and PhD at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1968 and 1975, respectively. He has written eight books including The Final Solution and the German Foreign Office (1978), Ordinary Men: Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland (1992), Nazi Policy, Jewish Workers, German Killers (2000), The Origins of the Final Solution: The Evolution of Nazi Jewish Policy, September 1939-March 1942 (2004), and Remembering Survival. Inside a Nazi Slave Labor Camp (2010). He also is co-editor of Every Day Lasts a Year: A Jewish Family’s Correspondence from Poland (2007).

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Groesbeck Parham

Groesbeck Parham ’70

Doctor of Science and Humanities

Groesbeck Parham is founder of the Cervical Cancer Prevention Program in Zambiaand the African Center of Excellence for Women’s Cancer Control. He is professor of gynecologic oncology in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He is an honorary professor of gynecologic oncology at the University of Zambia and the Zambian Cancer Diseases Hospital In Lusaka, Zambia, where he has lived and worked for the past decade.

A native of Fairfield, Alabama, Dr. Parham was 15 years old in 1963, when he participated in the U.S. civil rights movement’s Children’s Crusade in Birmingham, Alabama. In 1970, he received his bachelor’s in sociology at Oberlin, where he helped establish one of the nation’s first African American studies programs. Dr. Parham completed medical school in 1981 at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and, in 1985, was the first African American to complete a residency in obstetrics and gynecology at UAB.

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Harald Vogel

Harald Vogel

Doctor of Music

Harald Vogel is a leading authority on the interpretation of North German organ music.Director of the North German Organ Academy that he founded in 1972, Vogel teaches historical performance practice on original instruments.

Since 1994, he has held a professorship at the Hochschule für Künste Bremen—University of the Arts Breman. Vogel has led master classes at conservatories and universities throughout the world, and has influenced countless organists and organ builders.

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Distinguished Service Award

Commencement Speaker

Harald Vogel

Pat Holsworth

Award for Distinguished Service to the Community

Pat Holsworth has enjoyed an extensive career as a public library administrator. After several years with the Cuyahoga and Medina County public library systems, she came to Oberlin in 1991 to assume the directorship of the Oberlin Public Library. The library had recently relocated to South Main Street from its longstanding home in the Carnegie Building on the Oberlin College campus. Although she retired at the end of 1996, she has remained deeply engaged in the community. 

Holsworth was born in Emporia, Kansas, and spent time in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Colorado. She graduated valedictorian in 1954 from Wiley (Colorado) High School in Colorado, and cum laude with a degree in mathematics from Anderson (Indiana) College in 1958. Holsworth earned a master’s degree in library science in 1970.

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Alumni Medal

Commencement Speaker

Robert S. Lemle '75

Robert S. Lemle ’75

Alumni Medal

Robert S. Lemle ’75 is a lawyer, business executive, community leader, and philanthropist. He is president of Copperwood Real Estate, successor to his family’s residential real estate business in Manhattan.

Lemle served as chair of the Oberlin College Board of Trustees from 2005 to 2011. He was elected vice chair in 2001, and served as acting chair of the board from 2003 to 2005. During his service with the board, Lemle chaired the Presidential Search Committee that recommended the appointment of Marvin Krislov as Oberlin’s 14th president. He also co-chaired the task force that developed the strategic plan for Oberlin College that was adopted by the board and the faculty in 2005.

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