March 25, 2008

Case Western Reserve University selects honorary doctorates awardees


Four distinguished individuals will receive honorary doctorate degrees in the areas of law, science and humanities during commencement ceremonies at Case Western Reserve University on Sunday, May 18.

The recipients will be David M. Crane, professor of practice at Syracuse University College of Law; Margaret J. Giannini, M.D., director of the Department of Health and Human Services Office on Disability; Craig Newmark, founder of; and Raymond K. Shepardson, leader of the efforts to preserve Playhouse Square.

David M. Crane

David M. Crane

Crane will receive a doctor of law for his contributions to the field of law over the past 30 years. During his distinguished career, he was appointed by Secretary General of the United Nations Kofi Annan to serve as Undersecretary General. From 2002-2005, Crane served as the founding Chief Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, an international war crimes tribunal to try individuals who violated the international human rights laws during the civil war in Sierra Leone in the 1990s.

Currently he is a member of the Syracuse University law faculty where he teaches international criminal law, international law, international humanitarian law and national security. He is also on the teaching faculty of Syracuse's Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism.

Crane received his Juris Doctorate degree from Syracuse University and his Masters of Arts degree in African Studies and a Bachelor of General Studies degree in history (summa cum laude) from Ohio University.

Margaret J. Giannini

Margaret J. Giannini

The university will award an honorary Doctor of Science degree to Giannini for her longtime work and service to bettering the lives of 54 million people challenged with disabilities in the United States. In 2002, Health and Human Secretary Tommy Thompson appointed Giannini as the director of the Health and Human Services Office on Disability, where Giannini oversees the implementation and coordination of disability programs, policies and special initiatives. Prior to her current position, she served as the principal deputy assistant secretary for aging in the Department of Health and Human Services.

Before joining the Health and Human Services offices, she was deputy assistant chief medical director for rehabilitation and prosthetics at the Department of Veteran Affairs in Washington, D.C. from 1981-1992, where she focused on developing assisted technologies for the disabled. She created the first and largest University Center of Excellence on Developmental Disabilities in 1950, and in 1979, President Jimmy Carter appointed her the first director of the National Institute of Handicapped Research.

Giannini's work has been recognized with more than 15 national and international awards.

Craig Newmark

Craig Newmark

What began as email messages to friends with local listings of events in San Francisco has grown into the mega multi-regional Internet classified ad site,, featuring a range of notices from housing to personals. Adding to a number of awards and acclaims he has received for his Internet site, the university will honor Newmark, an alumnus and this year's Commencement speaker, with the honorary Doctor of Science degree.

Today craigslist has broadened its reach to Boston, Seattle, New York, Cleveland and 18 other regions around the country. The listing service receives more than 9 billion page views each month.

Newmark, who describes himself as a "nerd," became an international celebrity with his computing skills. He developed and honed some of those skills as an undergraduate and graduate student at the university in computing and information sciences. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in 1975 and a Master of Science degree in 1977. Newmark earned both degrees from Case Western Reserve University.

Raymond K. Shepardson

Raymond K. Shepardson

Shepardson will receive the honorary Doctor of Humane Letters for his community work to preserve some of Cleveland's historic theaters as spaces for the performing arts and as a cultural center in the city.

During the 1970s, Shepardson led and mobilized a grassroots campaign to save Cleveland's historic Playhouse Square theatres. By staging 200-300 productions per year, the efforts raised attention to the need for renovations and saved the theatres from demolition. With the theatres saved from the wrecking ball, other community leaders were able to raise funds to complete restorations of these theatrical venues. Eventually the public and private efforts united to raise $40 million to preserve the theaters. One by one the theaters reopened, with the Ohio Theatre in 1982, followed by the State and Palace in the late 1980s and finally the Allen in 1997.

The work spearheaded by Shepardson has been hailed by civic leaders as one of the top 10 successes in Cleveland's history.

To learn more about commencement ceremonies, visit

For more information contact Susan Griffith, 216.368.1004.

Posted by: Heidi Cool, March 25, 2008 10:34 AM | News Topics: Alumni, Commencement, Events, HeadlinesMain, Provost Initiatives, features

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