Video: Commencement 2011 honorand panel discussion
The evening before Commencement, the honorary degree recipients gather in the Olin Arts Center Concert Hall to share personal insights into their achievements. The 2011 honorands:
- Frank Glazer, pianist and Bates artist in residence
- Evelynn Hammonds, scholar of science and race who is dean of Harvard College
- Robert Langer, renowned MIT biomedical engineer and prolific inventor
Glazer recalls his reaction to his piano teacher’s deathbed wish that Glazer travel to Berlin to study under classical pianist Artur Schnabel.
Internationally known for his artistry and dedication, beloved for his generosity and celebrated for his artistic longevity, Glazer made his concert piano debut on a vaudeville stage in 1927. The event began a performing career that’s still in progress.
Hammonds reflects on the uncertain but steady process of creating her identity as a scientist — along the way ruining her mother’s mahogany table doing a chemistry experiment.
Considered one of the leading scholars in the field of the intersection of science and race, Hammonds is dean of Harvard College and also the Barbara Gutman Rosenkrantz Professor of History of Science and of African and African American Studies.
Langer talks about his long path to his calling as a biomedical engineer, and how, in college, he once told a friend what he was studying, and then immediately thought, “I don’t like doing that.”
Langer, the David H. Koch Institute Professor at MIT, is a biomedical engineer with some 760 patents issued or pending worldwide, in use by 220 pharmaceutical, chemical, biotechnology and medical device companies.