Johns Hopkins University Honorary Degrees 2017

Wed May 24, 2017
An award-winning journalist, a trailblazing university president, the nation's top librarian, an inspiration for the movie Hidden Figures, a Nobel Prize-winning scientist, and a Johns Hopkins alumnus whose generous philanthropy has had an indelible impact on the lives of JHU students, received Johns Hopkins University honorary degrees this year.Video TranscriptHonorary Degrees 2017 Video ScriptGraduate: Today we are proud to honor six men and women. They’re work and dedication have changed our world for the better.Graduate: Best-selling author, journalist and this year’s Commencement speaker, Frank Bruni. He’s a critically acclaimed op-ed columnist for one of the world’s most respected newspapers. He’s written three New York Times best-selling books.Frank Bruni: I just hope in whatever small way I can I’m getting people to think about matters of the common good and about what’s true for all of us not just necessarily what’s good for some of us.Graduate: Frank Bruni’s work shines a light on facts. And it embodies our own Johns Hopkins motto the truth shall set you free.”Graduate: Mathematician and space pioneer, Katherine Johnson.TV Announcer: An American hero, Katheirne Johnson!Graduate: The world knows Katherine Johnson for her mastery of math. Her complex calculations helped launch America into space—a giant leap in the era of segregation.Voice of Katherine Johnson: I was always around people who were learning something. You learn if you want to, so you’ve got to want to learn.Graduate: America’s 14th Librarian of Congress, Carla Hayden. She is the first woman and first African-American to stand watch over the world’s largest library. Carla Hayden has devoted her career to bringing public libraries into the digital age.Carla Hayden: Today all of us are inundated with information overload and I am working to make sure that we present information as accurately and as authoritatively as we can.Graduate: Scholar, educator and President of the University of Pennsylvania, Amy Gutmann. She’s one of the nation’s most respected university leaders. Amy Gutmann places a premium on education’s’ role in our democracy. She’s worked tirelessly to make higher education and healthcare accessible for everyone.Amy Gutmann: I fervently hope that the work I do can open doors to more affordable high quality education and health care for everybody.Graduate: Nobel Prize-winning researcher Harold Varmus.Harold Varmus: I’ve been privileged to be a part of remarkable increases in our understanding of how cancer arises.Graduate: He’s a leader in the fight against cancer and the former director of the National Institutes of Health. In 1989, he and a colleague won the Nobel prize for Medicine. He’s been a staunch advocate for young investigators.Harold Varmus: I strongly believe in the idea that we can further improve the human condition. I’m dedicated to that.Graduate: Entrepreneur, alumnus and Blue Jay booster, Ralph O’Connor. He’s a proud member of the Hopkins Class of 1951. You recognize his name from the rec center that’s become a centerpiece of Homewood campus life.Ralph O’Connor: On that shelf is all blue jays…Over the past five decades, he’s also given us the gift of public art, plus professorships, scholarships and support that encourage entrepreneurship and innovation.Ralph O’Connor: Be happy. Give back. Keep learning. Keep thinking and have some fun. But be true to yourself is the main thing I think you should be.Graduate: We salute you all and thank you for showing us how determination, leadership and a dedication to others makes our world a better place.[Johns Hopkins University logo]Video by: Johns Hopkins Office of Communications Producer/Editor: Len Turner Phototgrapher: Dave Schmelick