Dear Tulane Community,
It's beginning to look a lot like commencement. Our grounds crew is sprucing up the campus and soon graduation banners and staging for Wave Goodbye will be set in place. Requests to cover Commencement 2016 continue to arrive daily from media, ranging from NBC News to TIME to The Hullabaloo.
In addition to our wonderful speaker and accomplished graduates, Commencement 2016 will feature the awarding of honorary degrees to Lynda Benglis and Christopher Paola.
Lynda Benglis, a graduate of Newcomb College, is perhaps the most important living Tulanian in the field of contemporary art. A sculptor and mixed media artist, her work often embodies the vibrancy of Mardi Gras and the figurative characteristics of classic Greek sculpture. Her work appears in museums the world over and has won numerous awards, including the Yale-Norfolk Scholarship, the Guggenheim Fellowship, the Artpark Grant, the National Endowment for the Arts Grant, the Delphi Art Symposium and the National Council of Art Administration Award.
The writings of Christopher Paola, distinguished professor in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Minnesota, are required reading for geoscientists. He is a world leader in the study of earth surface processes, particularly in river and delta regions, and uses innovative engineering to mimic the evolution of floodplains and deltas, compressing time from millions of years into days or weeks. (Don't you wish you could use this at some meetings?)
Dr. Paola's ideas concerning coastal restoration and environmental sustainability are being studied for implementation in Louisiana. So both of our honorary degree recipients have a positive impact on our city and region, by either reflecting and enhancing its culture through art or by ensuring its growth and survival through science. They honor us by allowing us to honor them.