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  Written by
  Mary Ruth Yoe

  Photography by
  Dan Dry

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Rite of Passage

On November 2, 2000, the University community gathered to celebrate the installation of Chicago's 12th president in traditional academic style.

PHOTO:  Don Randel dons the maroon robs of Chicago.Attired in richly colored robes and hoods, hundreds of men and women queued along 59th Street, awaiting their marching orders. The University's bagpipe band struck up a tune, the late-autumn sun appeared, and the westward parade to Rockefeller Memorial Chapel and the University's 462nd Convocation moved forward.

The morning of the celebration marking Don Michael Randel's installation was almost business as usual. By noon, however, a quick-paced lunch in Hutchinson Commons and North Lounge was fueling convocation participants.

PHOTO:  University Marshal Lorna Puttkammer Straus, SM'60, PhD'62, leads the post-Convocation recession.At 1 p.m., the first guests were entering Rockefeller Chapel, with blue, maroon, or green-gold tickets in hand. Other members of the campus community could watch the event on closed-circuit TV in Ida Noyes Hall or via Webcast at their desks. Almost an hour and a half later, to music by J. S. Bach, Gabrieli, Mozart, and Handel, the procession moved down the aisle, and the contrapuntal ceremony of words and music began.

Dean of the Chapel Alison Boden gave the invocation; the Motet Choir sang a Mozarabic chant and a 16th-century motet; Board of Trustees chair Edgar Jannotta pronounced the president officially president; and Don Michael Randel delivered his inaugural address.

Photos:  Members of the Chicago faculty stand for the invocation in Rockefeller Chapel.More Bach, this time a cantata whose final lines were emended to declare in German: "May Randel live long! May Randel blossom!" Then, following Chicago custom, the new president conferred honorary degrees upon a group of scholars. David Aldous, a professor of statistics at the University of California, Berkeley, received a Doctor of Science degree for his contributions to mathematical probability and the theory of computing. John Bahcall, the Richard Black professor of natural sciences at the Institute for Advanced Study, was awarded the Doctor of Science degree for his mathematical models of the sun, instrumental in helping scientists detect neutrinos. Veena Das, the Krieger-Eisenhower professor of anthropology at Johns Hopkins University, received a Doctor of Humane Letters degree for her studies of the cultural processes by which civilizations become national societies.

Raymond Davis Jr., a research professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Pennsylvania, was awarded a Doctor of Science degree for developing an experiment that directly demonstrated the nature of the sun's nuclear-burning process. Charles Fillmore, professor emeritus in linguistics at the University of California-Berkeley, was presented a Doctor of Humane Letters degree in recognition of his contributions to fundamental linguistic theory, especially in the areas of syntax, semantics, and pragmatics.

PHOTO:  Waiting for the procession to begin are two presidents emeriti:  Hanna Holborn Gray and Hugo F. Sonnenschein.Charles Ives's A Contemplation of a Serious Matter or The Unanswered Perennial Question provided an interlude, and Randel presented more degrees. Martin Gellert, chief of the molecular genetics section at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology for the National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases, was awarded a Doctor of Science degree for his contributions to the field of DNA recombination. Marc Kirschner, chair and the Carl W. Walter professor of cell biology at Harvard Medical School received a Doctor of Science degree for his work on the cell cycle, the cytoskeleton, and the role of protein degradation in regulating cellular function. Qiu Xigui, a distinguished service professor in Chinese language and literature at Peking University, was awarded a Doctor of Humane Letters degree for scholarship that revolutionized modern theories of the early development of Chinese writing. Claude Steele, a professor of psychology at Stanford University, received a Doctor of Science degree for his work on prejudice, stereotypes, and the development of self-worth. Alan Walker, a distinguished professor of anthropology and biology at Pennsylvania State University, received a Doctor of Science degree recognizing his work in paleobiology and the role of hominids in human evolution.

Deepak Sevak, '02, president of Student Government, and Katharine L. Bensen, AB'80, president of the Alumni Board of Governors, offered welcomes. The "Alma Mater" was sung, the benediction given, and the ceremony ended. To the "swinging peal" of the Rockefeller carillon, everyone headed east to a huge white tent on the Midway. Over the course of the evening, thousands stopped by for hot apple cider, snacks, student musical performances, and the chance to congratulate Don Randel. - M.R.Y.


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