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First lady Barbara Bush and actor Bill Cosby are two of 11 luminaries who will receive honorary degrees from the University at the May 14 Commencement exercises. Bush, who will deliver the Commencement address to the nearly 5000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students receiving degrees, serves as honorary chairperson of several literacy organizations as well as chairs her own organization, the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy. Cosby is the star of The Cosby Show and author of three books. He is a Philadelphia native. The other degree recipients will be: · Nobel Prize winner Baruch Blumberg, who identified the virus responsible for hepatitis-B and is currently a University Professor of Medicine and Anthropology. · University Astronomy and Astrophysics Research Professor Raymond Davis, known for his neutrino research · Mathematician Izrail Moiseevich Gel'fand · Primatologist Jane Goodall · Former Surgeon General and former Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Surgeon-in-Chief C. Everett Koop · Sony Corporation Chairperson and founder Akio Morita · Botanist Sir David Smith, who heads the University of Edinburgh · Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Faye Wattleton · Soviet economist Tatyana Zaskavskya, who directs the All-Union Center for Public Opinion Research on Soviet and Economic Problems. The Trustees Honorary Degrees Committee makes the final selections for the awards. The Trustees may add to a list of recommendations submitted by a University Council committee. This year's final list includes three minority members and four women. Students and faculty members have criticized the honorary degree selection in the past for not including a sufficient number of minorities and women. Mathematics Professor Peter Freyd, chairperson of the Council committee, said last night that he believes that "each choice individually is a fine choice," but added that he "could imagine someone objecting to the list as a whole." Freyd criticized the honorary degree process, saying the Trustees hold too much power over the final decisions. The Mathematics professor also said that a trend has emerged over the past several years in which fewer than one-half of honorary degree recipients come through the academic process. He added that a large number of Charter Trustees have received honorary degrees during their terms. Freyd said that members of the Council committee feel that the degree process needs review, adding that he thinks the Trustees and Council committees should make the selections jointly. "I am thinking there better be a very intense discussion in summer," Freyd said. "There's the strong feeling that this distinction [between the committees] should not even exist in the future . . . It needs to be a joint process." The Mathematics professor also said that this year, the Trustees made the final decisions in a one-hour conference phone call. Faculty Senate Chairperson Robert Davies last night declined to comment on this year's selections, saying that he did not consider it appropriate to discuss the recipients, but added that he sees "good reasons why each one of them deserve the degree." Davies added that he believes there needs to be discussion of the selection process, saying that "several faculty members have expressed extreme dissatisfaction with the way honorary degrees have been selected at this University and feel changes are necessary." Graduate Student Associations Council Chairperson Elizabeth Hunt, who served on the Council committee, said last night that the process needs to be reviewed, adding that the selection of recipients at times appeared to be a matter of resumes.

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