Evelyn Fox Keller - Commencement Speaker
Edson "Pele" Nascimento - Honorary Degree Recipient
Thomas Gerety - Honorary Degree Recipient
Bernice Johnson Reagon - Honorary Degree Recipient
EVELYN FOX KELLER - COMMENCEMENT SPEAKER
Evelyn Fox Keller, professor of the history and philosophy of science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is regarded as one of the foremost American scholars on issues of science and gender. She concentrated her early studies in physics, molecular biology, and mathematical biology before becoming a leading feminist critic of science.
Keller's current research focuses on the history and philosophy of modern biology. Her most recent book, The Century of the Gene, hypothesizes that the concept of the gene will become less important to science in the 21st century as researchers learn more about how DNA works and interacts with surrounding cells. Her other 10 books include Feminism and Science, Body/Politics: Women and the Discourse of Science, and A Feeling for the Organism: The Life and Work of Barbara McClintock.
Her awards are numerous and include a MacArthur Fellowship and a fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Study. In addition to teaching at MIT, she has held positions at Northeastern University, the University of California at Berkeley, and Princeton University, among others.
Keller's daughter, Sarah Keller, graduated from Wesleyan in 1988.
EDSON "PELE" NASCIMENTO
Edson Nascimento-better known to sports fan around the world as Pele-is a soccer great from Brazil who dominated the field in the 1960s and 1970s, scoring 1,280 goals in 1,362 games and bringing home three World Cup championships. He is credited with furthering the sport internationally and with sparking the popularity of soccer in the United States during the three years he spent on the New York Cosmos of the North American Soccer League.
A former Minister of Sports for Brazil, Pele, who turned 60 last fall, is a good-will ambassador for several United Nations agencies and spokesman for several businesses, including Nokia. Since retiring as a player, he has become a successful businessman himself; he is the owner of Pele Sports and Marketing and of www.Pele.net. He wrote My Life and the Beautiful Game: The Autobiography of Pele in 1977.
Named a national resource by his homeland, Pele was the 1978 recipient of the International Peace Award, was named athlete of the century in 1980 and again in 1999, received an Honorary British Knighthood in 1997, and was named a hero of the twentieth century by Time in 1999.
Pele's daughter, Jennifer Nascimento '01, will graduate from Wesleyan with the Class of 2001.
Thomas Gerety, president of Amherst College since 1994, has worked in higher education for 35 years. Under his leadership, Amherst is in its final months of a $200 million comprehensive campaign that exceeded its dollar goal 15 months ahead of schedule and, which, when it closes on June 30, will have raised more than $235 million. The campaign, which has nearly tripled the school's endowment, has allowed Amherst to increase financial aid, strengthen faculty support and carry out the most extensive renovation in campus history. Gerety, who doubles as a professor of philosophy at Amherst, has taught two freshman seminars there, including one on "Inner-City America" for which his students volunteer at social service agencies.
Before to coming to Amherst, Gerety was president of Trinity College for five years. While in Hartford, he served as host of A Connecticut Town Meeting, an ongoing Connecticut Public Television series; as a board member on the Connecticut State Board of Education; and as the chair of the City of Hartford Ethics Task Force.
Gerety, who grew up in Connecticut, has spent much of his life working on community service projects. As a teenager, he helped build a high school in Mexico and worked in a soup kitchen in Paris. As a Yale undergraduate, he organized urban cooperatives in Peru, and, when drafted while at Harvard Law School, he did two years of alternative service as a bilingual teacher in Boston's South End.
Gerety also has held teaching and administrative positions at the University of Cincinnati, the University of Pittsburgh, Chicago-Kent College of Law at the Illinois Institute of Technology, and Yale University. He is a recipient of the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship, a fellow at the Society for Political and Legal Philosophy, and a former chair of the board of directors for the Consortium on Financing Higher Education.
BERNICE JOHNSON REAGON
Bernice Johnson Reagon is the founder and director of Sweet Honey in the Rock, a female African-American a capella folk group. As a 19-year-old college student during the Civil Rights Movement, she helped found the Freedom Singers of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.
Currently a Distinguished Professor of American History at American University, Reagon spent 20 years as a scholar and curator at the Smithsonian Institution, where she developed the Program in Black American Culture, a research program in African-American cultural history. She curated the 1997 traveling exhibition "Wade in the Water: African American Sacred Music Traditions," which followed the development of spirituals and hymns into 20th-century gospel music and its influence on rhythm and blues, jazz and other types of music. The exhibition also became a National Public Radio series, for which she won the George F. Peabody Award.
Reagon has won numerous other awards, including a MacArthur Fellowship and a Presidential Medal. She is the author of numerous articles and books, including We'll Know It Better By and By: Pioneering African-American Gospel Composers and Black People and Their Culture: Selected Writings from the African Diaspora. She and Sweet Honey in the Rock have released 14 albums during their 28 years together.