UPDATED: May 29, 2014, at 1:49 p.m.
Former President George H. W. Bush received one of eight honorary degrees at Harvard’s 363rd Commencement Exercises on Thursday.
“With faith courage, and service true, his eyes ever fixed on points of light, he piloted our nation through changeful skies,” University President Drew G. Faust said as she awarded the 41st president of the United States a Doctor of Laws degree.
Bush was joined as an honorand by acclaimed Chilean author Isabel Allende, famed soul singer Aretha Franklin, Georgetown Law professor and former Harvard Corporation member Patricia A. King, botanist Peter H. Raven, Fine Arts professor emeritus and former director of the Fogg Art Museum of Art Seymour Slive, and Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz.
Bush arrived around 8:30 am and spent about 15 minutes in Massachusetts Hall before posing for pictures with Faust, Provost Alan M. Garber ’76, and other honorands.
“It feels great,” Bush, who graduated from Yale, told The Crimson about the degree before the Morning Exercises began. “It’s a great honor.”
After the ceremony outside of Mass. Hall, Bush was pushed in a wheelchair through the Old Yard and into Tercentenary Theater, where thousands had gathered for the conferring of degrees.
A Republican, Bush served as president from 1989-1993 after spending eight years as the nation’s vice president. He was born in Milton, Massachusetts and attended Yale College. At 89, he is the oldest living former president.
The last to receive his honorary degree, Bush was praised for his work on the North American Free Trade Agreement, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and his role in the end of the Cold War.
Garber, who made pointed jokes about Yale throughout his remarks on Bush, began his speech by referring to Bush’s days as a cheerleader at his alma mater. The end of his speech elicited a standing ovation from the crowd in Tercentenary Theater.
Choosing the HonorandsYou wouldn't think honorary degrees would raise much of a controversy at Harvard. But this year, just like years past,
Erhard to Get Honorary HereWest German Chancellor Ludwig Erhard will receive one of the honorary degrees to be conferred at the Harvard commencement this
2265 Receive Degrees June 10...An estimated 2,265 cap-and-gown clad students will receive their degrees the morning of Thursday, June 10, when the University conducts
Gates, Summers To Receive Honorary DegreesCORRECTION APPENDED The University will confer honorary degrees today on 10 people, including professors, philosophers, a basketball player, and one
Student Groups Seek Support From Lady Gaga’s BTW FoundationWhen the collective star power of Lady Gaga, Oprah Winfrey, Deepak Chopra, and more special guests amasses inside Sanders Theatre for the launch of a new anti-bullying foundation on Wednesday, protesters will gather outside to ask Harvard to shine a spotlight on a long-gone group of people as well.