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Healthcare Pioneer Paul Farmer to Deliver Commencement Address at Holy Cross

Rev. Michael C. McFarland, S.J., former College president, among honorary degree recipients
April 2nd, 2012 by 

Paul Farmer, founding director of Partners In Health, will receive an honorary degree from the College of the Holy Cross and address this year’s graduates during the College’s Commencement ceremonies on Friday, May 25 at 10:30 a.m. on the campus.

A medical anthropologist and physician, Dr. Farmer founded Partners In Health (PIH), an international non-profit organization that provides direct health care services and has undertaken research and advocacy activities on behalf of those who are sick and living in poverty. Dr. Farmer is the Kolokotrones University Professor and chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School; chief of the Division of Global Health Equity at Brigham and Women’s Hospital; and the United Nations Deputy Special Envoy for Haiti, under Special Envoy Bill Clinton.

Dr. Farmer and his colleagues in the U.S. and in Haiti, Peru, Russia, Rwanda, Lesotho, and Malawi have pioneered novel community-based treatment strategies that demonstrate the delivery of high-quality health care in resource-poor settings. Dr. Farmer has written extensively on health, human rights, and the consequences of social inequality, including his most recent book “Haiti After the Earthquake” (PublicAffairs, 2011). Other titles include “Partner to the Poor: A Paul Farmer Reader” (University of California Press, 2010), “Pathologies of Power: Health, Human Rights, and the New War on the Poor” (University of California Press, 2003), “The Uses of Haiti” (Common Courage Press, 2005), “Infections and Inequalities: The Modern Plagues” (University of California Press, 1999), and “AIDS and Accusation: Haiti and the Geography of Blame” ( University of California Press, 1992). Dr. Farmer is the recipient of numerous honors, including the Margaret Mead Award from the American Anthropological Association, the Outstanding International Physician (Nathan Davis) Award from the American Medical Association, a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, and, with his PIH colleagues, the Hilton Humanitarian Prize. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

The College will also bestow three other honorary degrees on the following individuals at Commencement:

Lisa Sowle Cahill, theological ethicist

Cahill is the J. Donald Monan Professor of Theology at Boston College where she has taught since 1976. She is a past president of the Catholic Theological Society of America (1992-93), and the Society of Christian Ethics (1997-98), and is also a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She received her Ph.D. in theological ethics from the University of Chicago Divinity School, where she studied under James Gustafson. Her A.B. degree is from the University of Santa Clara.  She has been a visiting professor at Georgetown and Yale universities. Her recent books include “Bioethics and the Common Good” (Marquette University Press, 2004) and “Theological Bioethics: Participation, Justice, and Change” (Thomson Gale, 2007).

Rev. Michael C. McFarland, S.J., 31st President of the College of the Holy Cross

Currently serving as a visiting scholar at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University, Fr. McFarland is a computer scientist with extensive liberal arts teaching experience and a special interest in the intersection of technology and ethics. During his tenure as president of Holy Cross (July 2000 to January 2012), he led the College through rapid and progressive change—from dramatic campus construction and record-setting fundraising to student diversity and significant community partnerships.

A graduate of Cornell (A.B.) and Carnegie Mellon (M.S., Ph.D.) universities, Fr. McFarland entered the Society of Jesus in 1975, and studied at the Weston School of Theology where he earned a master’s degree in divinity and a Th.M. in social ethics.

Sherry Turkle, scholar and author

Turkle is Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society at MIT and the founder (2001) and current director of the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self. Her most recent book is “Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other” (Basic Books, 2011). She writes on the “subjective side” of people’s relationships with technology, especially computers. She is an expert on mobile technology, social networking, and sociable robotics. She received her B.A. summa cum laude in social studies from Harvard University and her Ph.D. in sociology and personality psychology from Harvard University.

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Comments (2)
  1. Daniel J. Thompson says:

    Congratulations to the College and those responsible for choosing this extraordinary group of individuals to receive an honorary degree at Commencement.

    Paul Farmer, the subject of Tracy Kidder’s Mountains Upon Mountains, is a superb choice for Commencement speaker. His life is a model of ‘men and women for others.’

  2. Tony Stankus says:

    Excellent choices in our honorary degree recipients! The Cross says a lot about what it stands for by whom it honors in this way.