Presented by Sharon Kinsman, Associate Professor of Biology, for Doctor of Science
Present Hansen, I am honored to present Lynn Margulis.
In this college, where we encourage and expect our students to learn to think not only critically but imaginatively and courageously, it is fitting that with this degree we honor one of the most important scientific thinkers of our day.
Lynn Margulis, Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Geosciences at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and recipient of a National Medal of Science, is a daring theoretical biologist whose work encompasses the full spectrum of the sciences and philosophy. Among her many endeavors, she has changed our understanding of the evolution of cells. Contemporary biologists now widely agree that cell components such as mitchondria and chloroplasts were once separate bacteria that came to survive within larger cells, dwelling there as partners, creating new symbiotic organisms with multiple abilities. Dr. Margulis has also advanced the view that most realms of life are microbial and are elegantly, infinitely interconnected with the larger organisms we know as animals and plants. Her latest work continues to challenge us to consider the possibility that many radical evolutionary innovations may have arisen through intimate collaborations among unlike organisms.
Such provocative thinking demands many gifts: a boundless intellect, a perspective unencumbered by conventional assumptions, an imaginative comprehension that embraces every observation, the audacity to advance new ideas, and the generosity to share them with a broad range of audiences.
For leading us to a fundamental understanding of cellular evolution, for showing us how to see the natural world with broader vision, and for urging us to practice science as a “way of knowing,” I present Lynn Margulis for the degree Doctor of Science.
President Hansen’s conferral:
Lynn Margulis, you are an explorer of the foundations and frontiers of science. You inspire us to question assumptions, think in bold ways, and share our ideas broadly and articulately. Therefore, by the authority vested in me by the Board of Trustees, I hereby confer upon you the Degree of Doctor of Science, with all the rights, privileges, and responsibilities which here and everywhere pertain to this degree.