Case Western Reserve University awards honorary degrees each year at Commencement. These honors are a means of recognizing excellence in any values aspect of human endeavor, including the realm of scholarship, public service and the performing arts.
The conferring of an honorary degree is the university's way of recognizing those persons who have exemplified the highest ideals and standards.
This year's recipients are M. Cherif Bassiouni, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and Katie Couric. Learn more about these outstanding individuals.
Doctor of Laws
Humanitarian and scholar M. Cherif Bassiouni is often referred to as the father of modern international criminal law. A professor of law at DePaul University, he has been instrumental in numerous international commissions and institutes to address human rights violations, restore legal education to war-affected areas and promote peace and interfaith understanding.
A prolific author and speaker, he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1999 for his work in the field of international criminal justice and his contribution to the creation of the International Criminal Court. His support of the Case Western Reserve University School of Law includes regular speaking engagements at the Frederick K. Cox International Law Center's annual conferences. Bassiouni also donated the archives of the United Nations Security Council Commission of Experts on the Former Yugoslavia, which he chaired, to the law library.
Doctor of Humane Letters
The Grammy Award-winning Orpheus Chamber Orchestra employs a unique management model based on shared leadership and workplace democracy. Throughout its history, Orpheus has built a legacy with its acclaimed recordings, performances and collaborations with esteemed soloists. In addition to the orchestra's international touring schedule, the ensemble presents an annual concert series at Carnegie Hall and appears regularly at many major New York venues.
One of the few self-governing ensembles playing today, Orpheus performs without a conductor and rotates musical leadership roles, striving to empower its musicians by integrating them into every facet of the organization. Orpheus' recording legacy consists of more than 70 albums. The ensemble is also committed to providing hands-on music learning opportunities in the New York City public school system through the Access Orpheus programs, which include workshops, open rehearsals and concerts. Accepting the honorary degree on behalf of the orchestra is Graham Parker, executive director.
Doctor of Science
Katie Couric is the anchor and managing editor of the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric, as well as a 60 Minutes correspondent and anchor of CBS News primetime specials. She writes a monthly column for Glamour magazine and hosts the weekly webcast @KatieCouric. Couric has also been a champion in the fight to eradicate colon cancer since losing her husband, Jay Monahan, to the disease in 1998. In 2000, her on-air colonoscopy led to an increase in the numbers of colonoscopies performed across the country, a phenomenon researchers at the University of Michigan dubbed the "Katie Couric Effect." She also helped launch the National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance, which supports research into prevention and treatment of the deadly disease. She earned the George Foster Peabody Award for her March 2000 Today Show series on colon cancer.
Case Western Reserve University is committed to the free exchange of ideas, reasoned debate and intellectual dialogue. Speakers and scholars with a diversity of opinions and perspectives are invited to the campus to provide the community with important points of view, some of which may be deemed controversial. The views and opinions of those invited to speak on the campus do not necessarily reflect the views of the university administration or any other segment of the university community.