College announces selection of honorary degree recipients

Three highly regarded leaders in their respective fields – David Brooks, Toby Cosgrove ’62 and Mary K. Grant – will receive honorary degrees at the commencement ceremony on June 3. Commencement speaker Atul Gawande and baccalaureate speaker Anna Deavere Smith will also receive honorary degrees. 

Each year, the Honorary Degrees Committee selects appropriate candidates and presents them to the Board of Trustees. The committee includes faculty members from each division, two seniors, two juniors, multiple trustees, President Falk and College Marshal and Professor of Physics Jefferson Strait.

David Brooks

As a leading political columnist, Brooks has garnered national recognition for his right-leaning commentary and frequent disdain of party politics.

Brooks was born in Toronto, Canada, in 1961, but grew up in New York, N.Y. After receiving an A.B. in history from the University of Chicago in 1983, Brooks began a long career in journalism and political punditry.

Brooks first worked as a senior editor at The Weekly Standard and as a contributing editor at Newsweek and The Atlantic Monthly. In September 2003, he became an op-ed columnist for The New York Times. Now a staple of the Times Opinions section, Brooks’ columns appear biweekly and address an array of political and social issues ranging from U.S. military intervention abroad to same-sex marriage.

In addition to his tenure at the Times, Brooks’ commentary has also appeared in The New Yorker, The Washington Post, Forbes, The Public Interest and The New Republic. Brooks has penned three books – Bobos in Paradise, On Paradise Drive and The Social Animal. He also served as the editor for the 1996 anthology Backward and Upward: The New Conservative Writing. Currently, he is a commentator on The Newshour with Jim Lehrer, and he frequently comments on National Public Radio, CNN’s Late Edition and The Diane Rehm Show.

Toby Cosgrove ’62

After receiving a B.A. from the College in 1962, Cosgrove attended the University of Virginia School of Medicine in Charlottesville, Va., where he received his M.D. in 1966. He is a trustee emeritus of the College.

Cosgrove, a cardiac surgeon by trade, currently serves as the president and CEO of Cleveland Clinic, a $5 billion healthcare system comprised of nearly 30 hospitals and clinics in the United States and abroad. During Cosgrove’s tenure, Cleveland Clinic has consistently been ranked among the top four hospitals in the U.S. and has appeared on the Ethisphere Institute’s list of America’s 99 Most Ethical Companies. Cosgrove has published nearly 450 journal articles, several book chapters, one book and 17 training and continuing medical education films; performed more than 22,000 operations; and filed 30 patents for medical and clinical products used in surgical environments. After joining Cleveland Clinic in 1975, Cosgrove was named chairman of the department of thoracic and cardiovascular surgery in 1989. Under his leadership, U.S. News & World Reports ranked Cleveland Clinic’s heart program No. 1 in America for 10 consecutive years.

Cosgrove has addressed the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting at Davos, Switzerland, and the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee in Washington, D.C. He is an internationally recognized expert in cardiac surgery and has appeared on nearly every major television news program and major print periodical, including a cover story in TIME. Before joining Cleveland Clinic in 1975, Cosgrove served as a surgeon in the U.S. Air Force in Da Nang, Republic of Vietnam, for which he was awarded the Bronze Star and Republic of Vietnam Commendation Medal.

Mary K. Grant

Grant is the first alumna of MCLA to serve as its president. After receiving her B.A. in sociology from MCLA, Grant acquired a Master’s degree in public affairs from the John W. McCormack Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Massachusetts and a Ph.D. in social policy from the Heller School at Brandeis.

As a leading advocate for higher education in the area, Grant has provided consistent leadership in advancing the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) agenda in Berkshire County and statewide. She is currently a member of the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council, chaired by Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray, as well as the Commonwealth’s Robert H. Goddard Council on STEM Education. Grant also serves on the governing board of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative’s John Adams Innovation Institute, which invests in knowledge-intensive industries in Massachusetts, and on the board of directors of MassINC, a public policy think-tank for the Commonwealth.

Under Grant’s leadership, MCLA has expanded academic programming and facilities; provided students with new study away, internship, research and service opportunities; overseen growth in enrollment; strengthened connections between the college and the community; and become part of the Massachusetts State University System.

Grant is the recipient of the 2010 Council for the Advancement and Support of Education District I Executive Leadership Award and the 2011 American Council on Education Massachusetts National Network of Women Leaders Lifetime Achievement Award. Grant was also instrumental in forming the Berkshire Compact for Higher Education, which seeks to encourage local students to continue their educations after high school.