University of Vermont

University Communications

UVM Names Honorary Degree Recipients for 2014 Commencement

The University of Vermont will award honorary degrees at the May ceremony to Professor Jonathan David Jansen, Dr. Irwin H. Krakoff, Dr. Robert Larner, Crea Sopher Lintilhac, Dr. Robert B. Low and Richard E. Tarrant. The university will also award an honorary degree to Ambassador Samantha Power, the 2014 commencement speaker.

Jonathan David Jansen is a leading public intellectual in South Africa renowned for his passionate dedication to education, social justice and the process of reconciliation. As vice chancellor of the University of the Free State (UFS), his leadership and his pioneering work is creating unity in the diverse academic community and transforming the atmosphere on campus. That work has made an impact on UVM's campus as well, as two cohorts of UFS students participating in the Leadership for Change Programme have been placed at the University of Vermont. Jansen is president of the South African Institute of Race Relations and patron of Muslim and Jewish Foundations. He serves as a national and international consultant and as the former vice president of the South African Academy of Science, leading major studies on behalf of the academy including one on the future of the humanities. In addition, he chaired ministerial committees in South Africa on education, school change and school evaluation. His most recent book, Knowledge in the Blood, received an outstanding book recognition award from the American Educational Research Association. As an international expert, a leader in higher education, a scholar and a teacher, Professor Jansen works to inspire and educate the next generation of global leaders. Professor Jansen will be presented with an honorary doctor of letters degree.

Irwin H. Krakoff is a world-class cancer researcher, physician, educator and leader. He pioneered the field of chemotherapy, established safe methods for the testing of new and often toxic agents and championed diverse studies to better understand the role of chemotherapy in the treatment of cancer. His protocols contributed significantly to enhancing the effectiveness of treatment for leukemia, lymphoma, and other cancers, and his authoritative books on chemotherapy are standards in the field of oncology. He came to the University of Vermont in 1976 as the founding director of the Vermont Cancer Center, where he built a highly successful center that continues to serve our region with cutting-edge cancer treatment, research and education. He earned the Alfred P. Sloan Award for Cancer Research in 1965 and the David A. Karnofsky Memorial Award, the highest honor of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, in 1993. Over the last six decades, his contributions to cancer research have inspired two generations of scientists, impacted countless students and colleagues, and changed the lives of thousands in Vermont, across the nation and around the world. Dr. Krakoff will be presented with an honorary doctor of science degree.

Robert Larner, UVM class of ’39, MD ’42, has long been one of the University of Vermont’s most dedicated and generous alumni. Over the last three decades, he and his wife Helen have served as philanthropic leaders for the university, and their gifts have had a transformational impact on the UVM College of Medicine. In 1985 they established the Larner Endowment and Student Loan Fund to assist medical students in need at UVM in perpetuity and to encourage others to give to the college. They have continued giving to the fund every year and their generosity has inspired a network of donors including past recipients, alumni and friends. The Larners have also supported educational initiatives at the college and funded the purchase of cutting-edge teaching equipment. Last year, they committed $1 million to build an innovative Team-Based Learning Classroom in the Medical Education Center. The Larners also contributed $300,000 in 2012 to purchase five cardiopulmonary simulators for the UVM/Fletcher Allen Clinical Simulation Laboratory. Dr. Larner’s generosity has significantly advanced UVM’s educational mission and benefitted the State of Vermont. Dr. Larner will be presented with an honorary doctor of science degree.

Crea Sopher Lintilhac, UVM Class of ’78, is a dedicated public servant, activist and philanthropist known for her bold vision, her integrity and her determination. As director of the Lintilhac Foundation, she advocates for renewable energy, women’s health and education, clean water and social justice. In addition, she serves in a range of leadership roles at the University of Vermont and across the state. At UVM, she is a dedicated member of the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resource’s Board of Advisers, has served as a long-time adviser to the Vermont Water Resources and Lake Studies Center, and was a member of the 2002 UVM National Steering Committee for the UVM Comprehensive Campaign that successfully concluded in 2007. As a public servant, she sits on the boards of the Conservation Law Foundation, the Vermont Public Interest Research Group, and the Governor’s Council for Energy and the Environment. She has been awarded an honorary doctor of science degree from Middlebury College in 1998, a Distinguished Service Award from the UVM Alumni Association in 2005 and a David Curtis Award from the Vermont Democratic Party in 2007. Crea Lintilhac will be presented with an honorary doctor of humane letters degree.

Robert B. Low has dedicated his long and distinguished career to the University of Vermont. He joined the UVM College of Medicine faculty in 1970, and for more than four decades he has served the university faithfully as a respected professor, a highly productive scholar and a valued leader. Over the years, he has responded to many pressing needs and taken on numerous leadership roles in service to his college and the university. Additionally, he has served on numerous university-wide, college and departmental committees.  Most recently, he served as interim provost and senior vice president of UVM from Dec. 21, 2012 to Aug. 1, 2013. It was a familiar role for Dr. Low: he had previously served as interim provost and senior vice president of UVM from 1992-1994 and provost and senior vice president of UVM from 1994-1996. His record of service as a leader at UVM demonstrates his consistent willingness to work hard for the strength and health of the university. Dr. Low will be presented with an honorary doctor of science degree.

Samantha Power is the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and a member of President Obama’s cabinet. A journalist, an academic and one of the foremost voices in U.S. foreign policy, she is known for her outspokenness, her intellect and her passion. At the United Nations, Ambassador Power works to advance U.S. interests, promote and defend universal values, and address pressing challenges to global peace, security and prosperity. She is the youngest person ever to hold the post. From 2005 to 2006, she worked as a foreign policy fellow in Senator Barack Obama’s office. She served as special assistant to President Obama and senior director for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights on the National Security Council from January 2009 until February 2013. In April 2012, Ambassador Power became the first chair of the U.S. Atrocities Prevention Board, newly established by President Obama. Her influence continues to grow as she inspires the next generation of leaders in human rights. Ambassador Power will be presented with an honorary doctor of laws degree.

Richard E. Tarrant is a visionary, philanthropist, business leader, and public servant, and his generosity has been long-standing and life-changing for many. He has leveraged his success to benefit the University of Vermont and the State of Vermont. Tarrant created three companies that anticipated future trends. He was co-founder, president, and CEO of IDX Systems, which became a leader in healthcare software and systems and was sold to GE Healthcare in 2006. Additionally, he created Marathon Health, a health and wellness company, and Plasma Power, a renewable energy company. With his wife Deborah, he founded the Richard E. and Deborah L. Tarrant Foundation, one of the largest private foundations in Vermont. The Tarrant Foundation supported the funding of the Tarrant Institute for Innovative Education at UVM; the institute partners with Vermont middle schools in the use of technology to more effectively engage students in their daily learning activities. Additionally, Tarrant has supported health care in Vermont as a philanthropist, adviser and leader. In sum, Tarrant has demonstrated sustained commitment to service for the benefit of Vermont and his achievements have had a substantial impact on UVM. Richard Tarrant will be presented with an honorary doctor of humane letters degree.

UVM’s main commencement ceremony will take place on the University Green on Sunday, May 18 at 8:20 a.m.