Honorary degree citation: Rita Rossi Colwell
Presented by David Parmelee ’64, P’94, P’04, Trustee
Conferred by President Hansen
Parmelee: President Hansen, I am honored to present Rita Rossi Colwell.
At Bates, we encourage our students to learn science by participating in the experimental process. Today we honor an individual who has distinguished herself as both a preeminent research scientist and a national leader and advocate for science and science education.
For almost 50 years, Rita Colwell has been a research scientist and professor of microbiology and biotechnology. Dr. Colwell’s work has had major impacts on world public health, particularly in the area of infectious disease, climate change and global water supply. She has conducted groundbreaking research on the etiology and prevention of cholera in developing countries.
As director of the National Science Foundation from 1998 to 2004, Dr. Colwell charted the nation’s course for science in the new millennium. Under her leadership, the NSF developed programs that capitalize on the profound interdisciplinarity of the sciences, mathematics, engineering and technology. She also focused on what our national workforce must know if we are to meet our scientific goals. She voiced a strong commitment to K-12 science and mathematics education and support for graduate programs in science and engineering. She has been a forceful advocate for the inclusion of more women and minorities in the sciences, knowing that scientific contributions made by Americans can only grow if the scientific community taps all of our collective talent, intelligence and creativity.
For her contributions to the prevention of infectious disease, for her call to embrace new technologies and new partners in the process of scientific discovery, and for her expansive vision for our scientific destiny, I present Rita Rossi Colwell for the degree Doctor of Science.
Hansen: Rita Rossi Colwell, through your research you have improved the lives of communities around the globe, and through your leadership you have inspired American scientists to make discoveries that will benefit humanity and the Earth.
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.