Syracuse University to award three honorary degrees at 151st Commencement
Syracuse University to award three honorary degreesat 151st CommencementApril 25, 2005Sara Millersemortim@syr.edu
On May 15, Syracuse University will award honorary degrees to three individuals who have made significant contributions in the areas of science and mathematics research. Honorary degrees will be presented at the 151st Commencement exercises to: Jane Goodall, world-renowned primatologist and founder of the Jane Goodall Institute, who will deliver the 2005 Commencement address to graduates of Syracuse University and the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry at the Carrier Dome; P. Ole Fanger, leading expert on the effect of the indoor environment on human comfort, health and productivity; and Robert P. Moses, activist and scholar for civil rights and mathematical literacy and founder and president of The Algebra Project, Inc.
Jane GoodallDoctor of Science
Jane Goodall, founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and a United Nations Messenger of Peace, is globally recognized for her pioneering research into chimpanzee behavior, which has transformed scientific perceptions of the relationship between humans and animals.
In 1960, Goodall began a venture into the Gombe Stream region of East Africa to study chimpanzees-a highly unorthodox activity for a woman at that time. In her first year, she observed the chimps’ ability to make and use tools, thus forcing science to rethink the definition that separated man from other animals: “man the toolmaker.” Through continued research and interaction, Goodall discovered that chimps had distinct personalities, minds, emotions and family bonds. Her research continues today through the Gombe Stream Research Center, which, under the stewardship of Tanzanian field staff and other researchers, is one of the longest uninterrupted wildlife studies in existence.
Founded in 1977, the Jane Goodall Institute continues Goodall’s pioneering research into chimpanzee behavior and works to transform scientific perceptions of the relationship between humans and animals.
P. Ole FangerDoctor of Science
P. Ole Fanger is professor and director at the International Centre for Indoor Environment and Energy at the Technical University of Denmark. For more than three decades, he has produced interdisciplinary research work that has contributed to identifying the prime importance of the indoor environment for the quality of human comfort, health and productivity.
In 1998 he received a 10-year Danish government grant to establish the Centre and became its first director, recruiting several world-class researchers to investigate classic engineering disciplines along with research in medicine, chemistry and psychology.
Fanger developed a comfort model for indoor quality, predicting perceived air quality in the indoor environment and required ventilation in buildings. He showed in extensive field studies that pollution from building materials, processes and HVAC systems is often a major reason for poor indoor air quality. He and his associates showed for the first time that electronic devices, in particular personal computers, can be strong pollution sources, and demonstrated in practice how improved indoor air quality and decreased required ventilation can be achieved by a reduction of superfluous pollution sources. They also established that the humidity and temperature of air has a strong and often ignored impact on perceived air quality and ventilation requirements in buildings. They identified for the first time a significant impact of indoor air quality on human productivity and on Sick Building Syndrome symptoms, a relationship that has been demonstrated in seven independent studies in the laboratory and in the field.
Robert P. Moses Doctor of Humane Letters
Robert Moses is founder and president of the Cambridge, Mass.-based Algebra Project, Inc., which helps students in inner-city and rural areas to achieve mathematics literacy. He began teaching mathematics at the Horace Mann School in New York City in 1958, and in 1961 left to join the civil rights movement in Mississippi. He became a pivotal civil rights organizer as a field secretary for the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), and was director of SNCC’s Mississippi Project. He also served as co-director of the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO), a group that comprised all of the major civil rights organizations working in Mississippi at the time. He was instrumental in establishing the Freedom Summer Project, which created “Freedom Schools” across Mississippi in the 1960s to help register African American voters. He was attacked and beaten by law enforcement officials for his efforts. Moses’ work on voter registration contributed to the passage by Congress of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, an act that led to fundamental changes in the politics of the South and the nation.
Moses later pursued doctoral work in philosophy at Harvard University, and was awarded a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in 1982. During the five years of the fellowship, he worked full-time teaching algebra to seventh- and eighth-grade students as a school volunteer in the Open Program of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School in Cambridge, Mass. During that period, he developed the concept for the Algebra Project and began to carry it out together with concerned parents, teachers, educators and activists. Moses is the author of the “Algebra Project-Transition Curriculum,” which uses experiential learning drawn from the work of Dewey, Lewin, Piaget, Quine and Kolb-and a five-step curricular process Moses innovated-to help middle-school students make the conceptual shift from arithmetic to algebra and be prepared for algebra in the eighth grade, and thus a college preparatory math sequence in high school. Thesematerials formed the backbone of Algebra Project trainer training and implementation throughout the U.S. during the 1990s.
Currently, Moses and a coalition of educators, students and community leaders are organizing an effort to create a constitutional amendment for “Quality Public School Education as a Civil Right,” which would guarantee a quality public school education for every child in the United States.