2007 honors

Published: May 2007

The University will confer five honorary degrees at the 131st Commencement Ceremony on May 21. These profiles are based on an article in the April 26 Boston College Chronicle.

John M. (Jack) Connors, Jr. '63

John M. (Jack) Connors, Jr. ’63, who will receive an honorary Doctor of Business Administration degree and be the Commencement speaker, is a founding partner and chairman emeritus of the national marketing communications company Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, Inc. He was twice elected chairman of the University’s Board of Trustees during his service on the board from 1979 to 2006, the longest tenure in history. He was cochair of the “Ever to Excel” capital campaign, the University’s largest and most successful fundraising drive, which raised $441 million from 1997 to 2003. Connors is chairman of the Partners Health Care System board, which oversees Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He chairs the governing boards of Dana Farber/Partners CancerCare and Dana Farber/Harvard CancerCare, and is chair of the Board of Fellows of Harvard Medical School.

Brian Mulroney

Brian Mulroney, who will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree, was Canada’s Prime Minister from 1984 to 1993. His government introduced such initiatives as the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, the North American Free Trade Agreement, and the Canada-U.S. Acid Rain Treaty. Mulroney had the best economic record of any Canadian prime minister since the end of World War II, according to McGill University, and Canada’s leading environmental groups have called him the “greenest prime minister in history.” Mulroney was cochair of the U.N. Summit on Children and was an active opponent of South Africa’s apartheid policies.

Lesley Visser '75

Lesley Visser ’75, the first woman to be recognized by the Pro Football Hall of Fame with the Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award, will receive an honorary Doctor of Journalism degree. She has been a regular on CBS, ABC, ESPN, and HBO sports programs and is the only sportscaster, male or female, who has worked on network broadcasts of the Super Bowl, World Series, NBA Finals, Triple Crown, Olympics, U.S. Open, World Figure Skating Championships, and the NCAA Final Four. In 2006 she was inducted into the Museum of Television and Radio for her many contributions to broadcast sports journalism.

Isaura Mendes

Isaura Mendes, of Dorchester, will receive a Doctor of Social Science Degree. She is codirector of the Bobby Mendes Peace Legacy, a nationally recognized anti-violence program named in honor of her son, who was stabbed to death in 1995. She lost a second son, Matthew, to violence in 2006. Her efforts to promote nonviolence in urban neighborhoods have been recognized by numerous awards, including the Lenny Zakim Fund Bridging Communities Award, the Robert H. Quinn Award for Outstanding Community Leadership, from the University of Massachusetts at Boston, the Cape Verdean Women’s Educational Group Woman of the Year Award, the Harvard Youth Violence Prevention Center Community Star Award, and the Massachusetts Black Legislative Caucus Profile in Courage Award.

George Coyne, SJ

George Coyne, SJ, will receive an honorary Doctor of Science degree. He has been affiliated with the University of Arizona’s astronomy department since 1976 where he pioneered the application of polarimetry—analyzing the polarization of reflected light—to astronomical research. His research has covered the birth of stars, cataclysmic variable stars, interstellar dust in the Magellanic Clouds, and the detection of protoplanetary disks. His interests extend to the history and philosophy of science and the relationship between science and religion. In 1978, Pope John Paul II appointed Fr. Coyne as the director of the Vatican Observatory, a position he held until last summer.


This feature was posted on Wednesday, May 16, 2007 and is filed under Research.