Honorary degree awardees from academia, business, medicine

Three esteemed professionals – Frances Cairncross, Robert Lipp and Nawal Nour – will receive honorary degrees from the College at the commencement ceremony on June 1 in addition to the three speakers.

Each year, the Honorary Degrees Committee selects a few candidates for this honor. The Committee comprises two juniors and two seniors, one faculty member from each academic division, President Schapiro, the College Marshall and several trustees.

Frances Cairncross

A British economist, journalist and academic, Cairncross currently holds the position of rector of Exeter College at Oxford University, home to the Ephs who study abroad with the Williams-Exeter program.

She is also governor of Britain’s National Institute of Economic and Social Research, member of the Council of the Institute for Fiscal Studies and non-executive director of Alliance and Leicester, a major UK bank. She previously served as chair of the Economic and Social Research Council and president of the British Association for the Advancement of Science.

In addition, Cairncross’ extensive journalistic experience includes 20 years on the staff of The Economist, most recently as management editor. She previously worked for the Guardian for 11 years and also spent time on the financial staff of the New York Times, the Banker and the Observer. She has written several books related to economics, including The Death of Distance, a study of the economic and social effects of technology. Her latest book, The Company of the Future, was published in 2002. She has received both the Reuter’s-Alpe Action Award and the Institute of Internal Auditors Award for her journalistic achievements.

Cairncross received her undergraduate degree in modern history from St. Anne’s College, Oxford, and her master’s degree in economics at Brown University.

Robert Lipp ’60

Lipp is currently the director of both J.P. Morgan Chase & Company and Accenture, Ltd. He has served on the College’s Board of Trustees since 1999, and will be retiring in June.
On the Board, he is chair of the Executive Committee and serves on several of the Board’s other committees: Alumni Relations and Development; Audit, Budget and Financial Planning and Instruction and Finance Committees. He is also one of five co-chairs of the Williams Campaign and has recently taught the Winter Study course, “Managing Nonprofits: An Insider’s Look.”

Before holding directorial positions, he served at J.P. Morgan Chase as a senior advisor, Travelers Insurance as a chief executive and St. Paul Travelers Companies as chairman. In addition, he is a director of the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, trustee of Carnegie Hall and board member of the New York City Ballet.

Lipp attended Williams and went on to receive his M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and his J.D. from New York University. His two children also attended the College, Wendy ’90 and Jeff ’92.

Nawal Nour

Dr. Nawal Nour is an obstetrician-gynecologist at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, where, in 1999, she founded the African Women’s Health Center, the first and only hospital center in the United States devoted to the medical needs of African women who have undergone female genital cutting. Nour was born in Sudan, where this practice is common, and has devoted most of her adult life to fighting it.

While serving on a female genital cutting task force for the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Nour spearheaded the creation of Female Genital Cutting, Clinical Management of Circumcised Women, an educational slide-lecture kit. The kit aims to educate Western obstetricians-gynecologists on how to manage cases of circumcised women. In addition, she travels throughout the country conducting workshops for African immigrants on the medical complications and legal issues involved in female genital cutting.

In 2003, Nour was honored with a MacArthur Foundation “genius grant,” a fellowship worth $500,000.

Nour received her undergraduate degree from Brown University, her M.D. from Harvard Medical School and her M.P.H. from Harvard School of Public Health.