Six to be honored at autumn 2006 commencement
COLUMBUS – The Ohio State University will honor a Nobel laureate, experts in tropical soils and transportation, a former governor, and two outstanding university leaders at its autumn commencement ceremony at 1 p.m. on Sunday (12/10) at St. John Arena.
Honorary doctorates will be presented to T.R. Lakshmanan, professor of geography and environment at Boston University and 1965 graduate of Ohio State; Douglas D. Osheroff, professor of physics at Stanford University and a co-recipient of the 1996 Nobel Prize for Physics; Roy R. Romer, former three-term governor of Colorado; and Pedro A. Sanchez of the Earth Institute of Columbia University.
The Distinguished Service Award will be presented to Vera J. Blaine, professor and chair emerita of The Ohio State University Department of Dance; and Edward J. Ray, president of Oregon State University and former executive vice president and provost at Ohio State.
Doctor of Science
T.R. Lakshmanan is professor of geography and environment, director of the Center for Transportation Studies, and executive director of the Center for Energy and Environmental Studies at Boston University. He is internationally known for his work in transportation, energy,
environmental, housing, and regional planning issues.
Lakshmanan received his B.S. and M.A. degrees from the University of Madras, India, in 1952 and 1953, respectively, before joining the doctoral program in geography at The Ohio State
University, receiving his Ph.D. in 1965. From 1962 to 1973, he worked in the private sector with major consulting firms addressing urban and transportation planning issues. During this period, he contributed immensely to the pursuit of urban planning based on large-scale simulations using extensive data and mathematical modeling.
He joined the faculty of Johns Hopkins University in 1973 and, in 1978, moved to Boston University as chair of the Department of Geography. There he organized a number of new programs and priorities, including establishing in 1979 the Center for Energy and Environmental Studies, the first program of its kind in the United States, encompassing multidisciplinary studies focusing on the environment.
In addition to his academic accomplishments, Lakshmanan has a distinguished record of public service, including a four-year appointment by President Bill Clinton as director of the then newly formed Bureau of Transportation Statistics in the Department of Transportation. He has consulted widely for the United Nations and the World Bank; the governments of Canada, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Sweden, Venezuela, and the former Yugoslavia; numerous state and local U.S. governments and governmental agencies; and several national laboratories.
His scholarly research is represented by nine books, nearly 100 journal articles, and numerous "white papers" for policy development. He has served as a visiting scholar at a number of prestigious research/teaching institutions worldwide and is the recipient of the 1989 Anderson Medal of the Association of American Geographers, given periodically to only one honoree.
Douglas D. Osheroff
Doctor of Science
Douglas D. Osheroff is the J.G. Jackson and C.J. Wood Professor of Physics at Stanford University and a co-recipient of the 1996 Nobel Prize for Physics for his discovery of three superfluid phases of liquid helium-3, which are neutral analogs to superconductivity in metals.
Born in the state of Washington, Osheroff received his B.S. degree in physics from the California Institute of Technology in 1967 and his Ph.D. in physics from Cornell in 1973. It was as a graduate student at Cornell that he and his two professors made their historic discovery. After receiving his doctorate, he spent the next 15 years as a member of the technical staff at AT&T Bell Laboratories, where he continued his work on the properties of matter near absolute zero, and served for six years as head of the lab's Low Temperature and Solid State Research Department.
In 1987, Osheroff joined Stanford's faculty, where, in 1991, he received the Gores Award for Excellence in Teaching. He served as chair of Stanford's physics department from 1993 to 1996 and, again, from 2001 to 2004. In 2002, Stanford named him as one of the first eight Stanford University Fellows for Undergraduate Studies.
His current research activities center around quantum fluids, solids, and glasses at ultra-low temperatures and include studies of the five ordered phases of solid and liquid helium-3 as well as the acoustic and dielectric properties of amorphous solid at ultra-low temperatures.
His many honors include the American Physical Society's Buckley Prize and the British Research Council's Sir Francis Simon Memorial Prize. In 1981, he was named one of the first 21 MacArthur Prize Fellows. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
and the National Academy of Sciences.
In 2003, he served as a member of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board, which investigated the cause of the Columbia space shuttle disaster.
Roy R. Romer
Doctor of Public Service
Roy R. Romer is recently retired superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District and former three-term governor of Colorado from 1986 to 1998.
A Colorado native, Romer earned his bachelor's degree in agricultural economics from Colorado State University in 1950, his law degree from the University of Colorado in 1952, and studied ethics at Yale University. He worked as a lawyer in the Denver area, helped manage his family's agricultural interests, and became a successful business leader before his election as Colorado's 39th governor. During his tenure, he became the nation's senior Democratic governor and was general chair of the Democratic National Committee from 1997 to 2000.
Romer has long been an advocate for educational issues at the state and national levels. As vice chair of the Democratic Leadership Council, he studied effective educational strategies and school reform initiatives and served as chair of the Educational Commission of the States and the National Education Goals Panel. His ability to build consensus on complex and controversial subjects attracted him to the Los Angeles school district in 2000.
As superintendent, Romer assumed the top leadership role in the nation's second largest public school system. He has focused resources and attention on the issues of instruction and construction of schools. He embarked on ambitious literacy and math plans, including computer-based learning programs, that have raised scores above the national level for the first time in decades. He is working on building small learning communities so students can receive more
personalized experiences to improve academic performance and reduce the drop-out rate.
Under his leadership, voters in the district approved the two largest local school bonds in U.S. history, totaling more than $7 billion. Combined with matching state bond funds, the district's construction program is the largest public works program in the nation, providing much-needed new schools and upgrades to existing ones.
Pedro A. Sanchez
Doctor of Science
Pedro A. Sanchez is director of tropical agriculture, senior research scholar, and director of the Millennium Villages Project—all at the Earth Institute of Columbia University in New York City. He also serves as co-chair of the Hunger Task Force of the UN Millennium Project, an advisory body to the United Nations. He is professor emeritus of soil science and forestry at North Carolina State University.
A native of Cuba, Sanchez received his B.S. in agronomy and his M.S. and Ph.D. in soil science from Cornell University and joined the faculty of North Carolina State University in 1968, becoming full professor in 1979.
During his tenure at the university, he served as coordinator of various university-sponsored field-based tropical soils programs in Brazil, Peru, Colombia, and Indonesia. He retired from North Carolina State in 1991 to serve for the next 10 years as director general of the International Center for Research in Agroforestry (ICRAF) in Nairobi, Kenya. His contributions at ICRAF earned him the 2002 World Food Prize, an award in agriculture equivalent to the Nobel Prize.
His professional career has been dedicated to improving the management of tropical soils through integrated natural resource management approaches to achieve food security and reduce rural poverty while protecting and enhancing the environment. His book Properties and Management of Soils of the Tropics, is the most widely used textbook on this subject throughout the world. He has authored more than 250 scientific articles dealing with the importance of sustainable management of soils in tropical environments, managed by resource-poor, small land holders.
Sanchez was the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship in 2004 and has been awarded the International Soil Science Award, the International Service in Agronomy Award, and the Crop Science Society of America Presidential Award. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Society of Agronomy, and the Soil Science Society of America. He was anointed a Luo elder with the name of Odera Akang'o by the Luo community of Western Kenya in 2001.
Vera J. Blaine
Distinguished Service Award
Vera "Vickie" J. Blaine is professor and chair emerita of The Ohio State University Department
Blaine began her career in dance as an undergraduate at Ohio State, earning her B.S. and M.A. degrees before joining the faculty in 1962. In addition, she studied dance professionally at the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance and the Merce Cunningham Dance Studio.
She became a full professor in the Department of Dance in 1973 and department chair in 1983. Prior to becoming chair, she served as director of the University Dance Company for 15 years and as major choreographer for the company. During her tenure at Ohio State, she earned a reputation as a leader in dance in academia, shepherding Ohio State's dance program to national renown. The students and choreographers she has mentored through the years have made their mark on professional dance companies throughout the country.
During the 1980s, while serving as vice president, then president of OhioDance, the statewide dance service organization, Professor Blaine spearheaded a successful effort to bring dance education into Ohio's public school curriculum. She secured support for K-12 dance teacher certification in Ohio and led the Department of Dance in offering the state's inaugural K-12 dance teacher education program. The program became a model for dance certification programs across the country.
Her commitment to diversity in the dance program took the form of aggressive recruiting and attention to retention, and she formed partnerships with the Martin Luther King Complex for Performing Arts.
Over the past 10 years, Blaine has collaborated with Karen Bell, dean of the College of the Arts, on a series of duets exploring administrative and personal issues within a performance context. She continues to teach dance composition part-time in the dance department's undergraduate and graduate programs and serves as an independent consultant for higher education dance programs in the United States and abroad.
Edward J. Ray
Distinguished Service Award
Edward J. Ray became president of Oregon State University on July 31, 2003. Prior to this he served as executive vice president and provost of The Ohio State University.
Ray earned his B.A. in mathematics in 1966 from Queen's College (CUNY) and his M.A. and Ph.D. in economics in 1969 and 1971, respectively, from Stanford University. He began his 33-year career at Ohio State in 1970 as an assistant professor of economics. Six years later, he became the department chair, building a strong academic and research-oriented base for the department, while simultaneously becoming increasingly active in university-wide committees and activities. He received the Chairperson Recognition Award in 1988.
In 1992, he moved to the Office of Academic Affairs as associate vice provost, then senior vice provost and chief information officer from 1993 to 1998 and executive vice president and provost from 1998 to 2003.
In these administrative roles, Ray became central to decision making discussions about university-wide policies, working with administrators, deans, chairs, staff, and students. He played a leading role in implementing budgetary decisions, academic restructuring, and emphasizing interdisciplinary studies, earning a reputation for being honest, open, and impartial. The formal academic and diversity plans he helped develop remain fundamental to the university's operation today.
Ray was also the prime architect of the university's innovative Selective Investment Program that targets resources to the university's strongest academic units to help them achieve national stature. Today, 13 units have received such investment.
In addition to his administrative accomplishments, Ray brought honor to the university through his scholarship. His research on America's economic interests has been published in leading journals, including The American Economic Review, The Journal of Political Economy, and The Quarterly Journal of Economics. He has co-authored a principles text and his book U.S. Protectionism and the World Debt Crisis was published in 1989.