Bard News & Events

Press Release


Mark Primoff

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—On Saturday, May 27, Bard College will hold its one hundred fortieth commencement, when Bard President Leon Botstein will confer 274 undergraduate degrees to the College’s largest class ever. In addition, President Botstein will confer twenty-three master of fine arts, eleven master of arts in curatorial studies, five master of science in environmental studies, and eighteen master of arts in the history of the decorative arts degrees. The commencement program, which begins at

2:30 p.m. on Bard’s Main Lawn, will also include the bestowing of honorary doctorates, to be followed by a reception for the Class of 2000 and their guests, and a barbecue and dance for graduates, their families and friends, alumni/ae, and faculty.

The commencement address will be given by Dr. Arnold J. Levine, a renowned biochemist best known for his work on the role of genetics in cancer formation, and as president of Rockefeller University in New York City, one of the world’s most prestigious science research institutions.

Dr. Levine will receive an honorary doctor of science degree. In addition, honorary degrees will be awarded to former U.S. Attorney General Nicholas deB. Katzenbach; architect Maya Lin; jazz musician, historian, and educator Billy Taylor; economist and former Federal Reserve Board Governor Janet L. Yellin; and Ludmila A. Verbitskaya, the first female rector of the State University of St. Petersburg in Russia.

Also taking place over commencement weekend are class reunions; a concert of works by Bard student soloists and composers with the American Symphony Chamber Orchestra, Leon Botstein, conductor; and the granting of Bard College Awards for the year 2000. The Bard Medal will be given to Karen Olah ‘65; the John and Samuel Bard Award in Medicine and Science to Stewart I. Fefer ‘73 and Frank Oja; the Charles Flint Kellogg Award to John P. Boylan ’67; the John Dewey Award for Distinguished Public Service to Amy L. Comstock ‘81 and Robert J. MacAlister ‘50; the Mary McCarthy Award to Jane Kramer, and the Bardian Award to Peter Sourian.


Arnold J. Levine, Ph.D., became the eighth president of The Rockefeller University in December 1998. A leading authority on the molecular basis of cancer, Dr. Levine was named the University's first Robert and Harriet Heilbrun Professor in Cancer Biology. His research focuses on the tumor suppressor gene called p53 and on its protein product, which he discovered in 1979. When the p53 gene does not function properly, it fails to control cell division and acquires dangerous traits that add to the malignancy of a tumor. Disruption of p53’s normal function is associated with an estimated 60 percent of human cancers. Now studied in laboratories around the world, p53 is helping to develop a new generation of cancer therapies.

Dr. Levine, who is continuing his research in the Laboratory of Cancer Biology, is now implementing an academic plan to further enhance the University's outstanding research and graduate education program. Outside the University's gates, he is strengthening the already close ties with neighboring Weill Medical College of Cornell University and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and developing additional partnerships with New York Presbyterian Hospital, the Courant Institute of New York University, and Bard College. Dr. Levine serves on several leadership committees, including the Committee of 35, which is working to improve the regional economy by bringing biotechnology-related businesses to New York City.

Dr. Levine came to Rockefeller from Princeton University, where he was the Harry C. Wiess Professor in the Life Sciences. Between 1984 and 1996, he presided over a major expansion of Princeton’s life sciences programs as chairman of the Department of Molecular Biology. Dr. Levine helped shape United States science priorities as chairman of an influential 1996 review panel on federal AIDS research funding.

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Dr. Levine received a B.A. from Harpur College, SUNY, in 1961 and a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1966. After postdoctoral work at the California Institute of Technology, he joined Princeton in 1968 as an assistant professor, becoming a professor of biochemistry in 1976. In 1979, Dr. Levine moved to the SUNY Stony Brook School of Medicine to chair the Department of Microbiology. He returned to Princeton in 1984.

Dr. Levine is a member of the scientific and medical advisory boards of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and a trustee of the University of Pennsylvania. He has served on advisory boards of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, the Whitehead Institute, the University of Utah’s Huntsman Cancer Center, the New Jersey Biotechnology Institute, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, the Cleveland Clinic, and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1991 and to its Institute of Medicine in 1995. Among his awards are the 1993 Katharine Berkan Judd Award from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, the 1994 Bristol-Myers Squibb Award for Distinguished Achievement in Cancer Research, and the first Strang Award from the Strang Cancer Prevention Center, also in 1994. In 1998, he received the Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaeder Prize, the Bertner Award from the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, and Eli Lilly’s Clowes Award. He was named corecipient of the 1999 Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize from Columbia University, and he received the 1999 General Motors Cancer Research Foundation’s Charles F. Kettering Prize for the most outstanding recent contribution to the diagnosis or treatment of cancer.

Dr. Levine is the author of the book Viruses (Scientific American Library, 1992).


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This event was last updated on 03-02-2001