Three leaders in research – Wayne Clough, Adam Falk and Stephanie Wilson – have been selected to receive honorary degrees from the College at the Commencement ceremony on June 6, together with speakers Jay McInerney and Martha Coakley. This year’s honorary degree recipients have furthered scholarship in engineering, quantum physics and aerospace, respectively.
Every year, the Honorary Degrees Committee selects suitable candidates for honorary degrees and presents those nominations to the Board of Trustees. The committee includes one faculty member from each division, two juniors, two seniors, several trustees, Interim President Wagner and the College Marshal.
As the 12th secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, Clough is the head of the world’s largest museum and research complex, which spans across more than 90 countries. A current member of the National Science Board, Clough became the head of the Smithsonian Institution in 2008. Prior to that appointment, he received tenure as president of the Georgia Institute of Technology. He has also served on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology as co-chair of the 2004 National Innovation Initiative and as a member of the National Governors Association’s 2006-07 Innovation America Task Force. In addition, Clough was appointed vice chair of the U.S. Council on Competitiveness and chair of the Engineer of 2020 Project of the National Academy of Engineering.
Clough earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering from Georgia Tech. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.
Adam F. Falk
Falk, the President-elect of the College, currently serves as dean of the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences at Johns Hopkins, a position that he began on an interim basis in 2005 and in full in 2006. Falk began working at Johns Hopkins as a physics faculty member in 1994, where he has also since served as associate professor, full professor, vice-dean of faculty and dean of faculty. Falk’s physics research focuses on elementary particle physics and quantum field theory, and he specifically researches the interactions and decay of heavy quarks. Before coming to Johns Hopkins, he held post-doctoral appointments at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center and the University of California, San Diego.
Falk graduated as a Morehead-Cain Scholar from the University of North Carolina in 1987 and earned his Ph. D. from Harvard in 1991. As a graduate student, he collected six awards for excellence in undergraduate teaching.
After growing up in nearby Pittsfield, Mass., Wilson became a NASA astronaut – the second African-American woman to travel to space. She was first an astronaut candidate in 1996, when she worked at the Astronaut Office Space Station Operations branch, handling matters of space station payload. Further along in her career, she worked for Mission Control in the Astronaut Office CAPCOM branch, where she communicated with on-orbit crews. She has traveled to space with Space Shuttle missions STS-121 in July 2006 and STS-120 in October 2007, and she will return again with STS-131 this April. Before she began working for NASA, Wilson lent her skill to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California and the former Martin Merietta Astronautics Group in Colorado.
Wilson received her B.S. in engineering science from Harvard and her M.S. in aerospace engineering from the University of Texas.