Honorary Degree Recipients

Dr. Julian M. Earls
Director (Ret.)
NASA Glenn Research Center
Doctor of Science

Dr. Julian M. Earls is Executive in Residence at the Nance College of Business Administration at Cleveland State University in Cleveland, Ohio. Also, he is Co-Chair of the Science and Mathematics Education Policy Advisory Council (SAMEPAC) for the State of Ohio. The SAMEPAC develops findings and makes policy recommendations for improvements in mathematics and science education in Ohio. In January 2006, he retired from the position of Director of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Glenn Research Center (GRC) in Cleveland. As Director of GRC he managed a budget in excess of $600 million and a workforce of over 3000 employees.

He holds eight university degrees. He earned the Bachelor’s Degree in Physics from Norfolk State University in Norfolk, Virginia; the Master’s Degree in Radiation Biology from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry in Rochester, New York, and the Doctorate Degree in Radiation Physics from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He completed the equivalent of the Master’s Degree in Environmental Health at the University of Michigan and is a graduate of the Program for Management Development at Harvard Business School. He was awarded the Honorary Doctor of Science Degree by the Vaughn College of Aeronautics in New York, the Honorary Doctor of Pedagogy Degree by Nova Southeastern University in Florida, and Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degrees by North Carolina A&T State University, Norfolk State University, and Wilberforce University in Ohio. Dr. Earls was inducted into the inaugural class of the National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame with such distinguished individuals as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.

Dr. Earls is the author of 31 publications and has been a Distinguished Honors Visiting Professor at numerous universities. As a NASA executive he received NASA medals for outstanding leadership, exceptional achievement, and distinguished service. He received the Meritorious Executive Presidential Rank Award from President Clinton in 1999 and from President Bush in 2004. He was appointed to serve as a panelist for President Clinton’s Initiative on Race at the 150 th Anniversary Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Dr. Earls co-founded an organization (The Development Fund for Black Students) that provides college scholarships to black students who attend Historically Black Colleges and Universities and major in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics. As a mentor, he has guided many students though college and the professions. Recognized internationally for his oratorical skills, Dr. Earls is a Jennings Foundation Distinguished Scholar Lecturer. In addition to his many scholarly and work-related accomplishments, Dr, Earls is an athlete. He has completed 27 marathons, including the Boston Marathon, and was honored to carry the Olympic Torch on its route through Cleveland for the 2002 Olympic Games in Salt Lake City. He is a member of Tau Boule of Sigma Pi Phi fraternity and holds life memberships in Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity and the NAACP.

Dr. Earls is married to Zenobia, a former teacher with the Cleveland City Schools who is a graduate of Norfolk State University and John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio. They have two sons. Julian Jr. is a neurologist who graduated from Howard University and the Case Western Reserve University Medical School in Cleveland, Ohio. Gregory is a filmmaker who graduated from Norfolk State University and the American Film Institute in Hollywood California. Julian, Jr. is married to Pamela, an optometrist who graduated from Howard University and the Pennsylvania College of Optometry.

Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Alphonse Fletcher University Professor
Harvard University
Doctor of Humane Letters

Henry Louis Gates, Jr., is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and the Director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University.

Professor Gates is Editor-in-Chief of the Oxford African American Studies Center, the first comprehensive scholarly online resource in the field of African American Studies and Africana Studies. He is co-editor with K. Anthony Appiah of the encyclopedia Encarta Africana published on CD-ROM by Microsoft (1999), and in book form by Basic Civitas Books under the title Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience (1999). His most recent books are America Behind the Color Line: Dialogues with African Americans (Warner Books, 2004), African American Lives, co-edited with Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham ( Oxford, 2004), and The Annotated Uncle Tom’s Cabin, edited with Hollis Robbins (W. W. Norton, 2006).

In 2006, Professor Gates wrote and produced the PBS documentary also called “African American Lives,” the first documentary series to employ genealogy and science to provide an understanding of African American history. He also wrote and produced the documentaries “Wonders of the African World” (2000) and “America Beyond the Color Line” (2004) for the BBC and PBS, and authored the companion volumes to both series. Forthcoming from Professor Gates is the documentary “Finding Oprah’s Roots,” which expands on one of the most popular portions of “African American Lives.” Professor Gates is currently at work on a sequel to “African American Lives.”

Professor Gates is the author of several works of literary criticism, including Figures in Black: Words, Signs and the “Racial” Self (Oxford University Press, 1987); and The Signifying Monkey: A Theory of Afro-American Literary Criticism ( Oxford, 1988), winner of the American Book Award in 1989. He authenticated and facilitated the publication, in 2002, of The Bondwoman’s Narrative by Hannah Crafts, the only known novel by a female African American slave and possibly the first novel by an African American woman. He is the co-author, with Cornel West, of The Future of the Race (Knopf, 1996), and the author of a memoir, Colored People (Knopf, 1994), that traces his childhood experiences in a small West Virginia town in the 1950s and 1960s.

Professor Gates has edited several influential anthologies, including The Norton Anthology of African American Literature (W. W. Norton, 1996); and the Schomburg Library of Nineteenth Century Black Women Writers ( Oxford, 1991). In addition, Professor Gates is editor of Transition magazine, an international review of African, Caribbean, and African American politics. An influential cultural critic, Professor Gates’s publications include a 1994 cover story for Time magazine, numerous articles for the New Yorker, and in September 2004, a biweekly guest column in The New York Times.

Professor Gates earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in English literature from Clare College at the University of Cambridge, and his B.A. summa cum laude in English language and literature from Yale University in 1973. Before joining the faculty of Harvard in 1991, he taught at Yale, Cornell, and Duke. His honors and grants include a MacArthur Foundation “genius grant” (1981), the George Polk Award for Social Commentary (1993), Time magazine’s “25 Most Influential Americans” list (1997), a National Humanities Medal (1998), election to the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1999), the Jefferson Lecture (2002), and a Visiting Fellowship at the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton (2003-2004). He has received 44 honorary degrees, from institutions including the University of Pennsylvania, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, New York University, University of Massachusetts-Boston, Williams College, Emory University, University of Toronto, and the University of Benin.

Professor Gates served as Chair of the Department of African and African American Studies at Harvard from 1991 to 2006.

Dr. Walter E. Massey
Morehouse College
Doctor of Science

Dr. Walter E. Massey is the ninth president of Morehouse College, the nation’s largest private four-year liberal arts college for men.

Prior to Morehouse, Massey held a range of administrative and academic positions.  He is former director of the National Science Foundation, a position to which he was appointed by former President George H.W. Bush.  The Foundation is the government’s lead agency for support of research and education in mathematics, science and engineering.  Massey also served as vice president for research and professor of physics at the University of Chicago, as director of the Argonne National Laboratory, dean of the College and professor of physics at Brown University and as assistant professor of physics at the University of Illinois.

Immediately prior to Morehouse, Massey was provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at the University of California.  In this position, the second most senior position in the UC system, he was responsible for academic and research planning and policy, budget planning and allocations, and programmatic oversight of the three national laboratories the University manages for the Department of Energy: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory and Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory.

After earning a bachelor of science in physics and mathematics in 1958 from Morehouse, Massey received his master’s and doctorate in physics in 1966 from Washington University in St. Louis, MO.  Massey’s research has involved the study of quantum liquids and solids. His written work has also addressed science and math education, the role of science in a democratic society, and university-industry interactions and technology transfer in national and international settings.

Active with a range of organizations, Massey is a past chair of the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board (SEAB) and is currently serving his second term as a member of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, having also served on PCAST under the first President Bush. The recipient of more than 30 honorary degrees from institutions such as Yale University, Northwestern University, Amherst and the Ohio State University, Massey’s leadership in education includes his service as a member of the Gates Millennium Scholars Advisory Council and the National Commission on Mathematics and Science Teaching for the 21st Century, and chairman of the Atlanta Committee for Public Education. In addition, Massey is active on several corporate and foundation boards, including the Mellon Foundation, Motorola Inc., Bank of America Corporation, McDonald’s Corporation, and BP p.l.c.

He is a Fellow and past president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a Fellow and past vice president of the American Physical Society, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society and the Council on Foreign Relations.

Born in Hattiesburg, MS, he and his wife Shirley Anne have two sons and three grandchildren.

Located in Atlanta, GA, Morehouse offers a full range of programs in three academic divisions: humanities and social sciences; science and mathematics; and business and economics. The College houses the Journal of Negro History and the Morehouse Research Institute and boasts a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, as well as a number of honors and study abroad programs. Morehouse, which annually enrolls approximately 2,800 students, typically representing more than 40 states and a dozen foreign countries, enjoys a long-standing tradition of producing outstanding leaders.

Mrs. Irene Sue Pollin
Sister to Sister – Everyone Has a Heart Foundation, Inc.

Doctor of Humanities

Irene Pollin is the founder of Sister to Sister: Everyone Has a Heart Foundation, a 501 (c) (3) charitable organization dedicated to educating women about heart disease and encouraging them to change their behavior to prevent or minimize their cardiac risk factors. Sister to Sister accomplishes this by providing free cardiac screenings to women nationwide, conducting and publishing research on women and cardiac health, and providing women with the tools to make constructive changes for improved cardiac health.

A psychotherapist, Mrs. Pollin has established organizations and foundations to help women change behavior on various health-related topics. She created both the Medical Crisis Counseling Center at the Washington Hospital Center and the NBA “Wives Save Lives” breast cancer awareness campaign. Mrs. Pollin, who earned a Master of Social Work degree at Catholic University, has also worked directly with patients in the mental health field for more than 30 years.

She has authored two books –“Medical Crisis Counseling” and “Taking Charge: Overcoming the Challenges of Long-Term Illness—and written numerous articles on coping with chronic illness. She frequently is featured in magazine articles, on TV and in radio programs, including The Today Show and Nightline with Ted Koppel.

Mrs. Pollin has received awards from many organizations, including the International Psycho-Oncology Society, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and Woman’s Day magazine, from which she received the Red Dress Award for 2004.

She is a member of the Harvard School of Public Health Nutrition Round Table, The Columbia Presbyterian Health Sciences Advisory Council, and Howard University’s Women’s Health Institute Advisory Committee.

She is a past member of the Advisory Council for the Harvard School of Public Health’s Center for Health Communications, the Advisory Committee of the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Research on Women’s Health, the Advisory Committee of Columbia Presbyterian Hospital’s Center for Women’s Health, and the Board of the National Health Museum.

In addition to her extensive work in the health field, Mrs. Pollin also co-owns the Washington Wizards basketball team and the Washington, DC-based Verizon Center.