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Eight distinguished academics, artists and journalists, including a TV news anchor and a renowned choreographer, will receive honorary degrees at this May's commencement exercises. Recipients of the honor will be: · Harvard University Zoology Professor Stephen Gould · Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Artistic Director Judith Jamison · ABC News anchor Ted Koppel · University Museum Curator Emeritus and Religious Studies Professor Emeritus James Pritchard · Renowned pianist and teacher Rudolph Serkin · Mathematician and communication educator Claude Shannon · New York Times Book Review Editor Rebecca Wharton Pepper Sinkler · Veterinary School Board of Overseers Chairperson Emeritus Charles Wolf President Sheldon Hackney yesterday lauded the choices, calling them "a good group of honorary degree recipients." "Each of the degree recipients is a person of superb accomplishments," Hackney said. "It's a way of communicating to our own degree recipients that they should set very high goals for themselves." Honorary degrees are awarded each year to people the Board of Trustees think embody the academic, social and cultural ideals of the University. They are chosen by the the Trustees Honorary Degrees Committee, which is advised by students and faculty on the University Council Committee on Honorary Degrees. While the two committees have, in the past, conflicted on procedures and on the actual list of candidates, Council Committee Chairperson Peter Freyd said last night the two groups worked closer together this year. Mathematics Professor Freyd said the Trustees accepted all the Council committee's suggestions and added a few of their own. He added that the selection process was a little different this year because he spoke directly to the Trustees in a conference call to convince them to accept his group's choices. "This year's list is much closer to what our committee's was," Freyd said. "I don't think anyone could complain about the list in the end." Second-year law student Darren Bowie, who served on the Council Committee, said last night he thinks the selection process could still use some improvement because "the Trustees a lot of times tend to have their own agenda of who they would like to see as honorary degrees candidates and that tends to conflict with our idea." "Our committee should have more control in deciding who receives them," Bowie said. But Bowie said he is pleased with this year's recipients, particularly because of their "diversity." "I think this year's honorary degrees candidates reflect diversity in terms of both their area of expertise and diversity in terms of a wide range of backgrounds as well," Bowie said.

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