And this year’s honorary degrees go to…


Unlike past years, the University will be awarding honorary degrees solely to Brown alumni (sorry Matt if you’re trying to keep up with Ben) as part of the 250th celebration. At Commencement on May 26th, the University will award the following nine alumni:

  • Lee Berk ’64 – Does his name sound familiar? If not, say it backwards. You got it! After graduating, Berk pursued a law degree from Boston University and soon began working with his father, the President of the Berklee College of Music—named after Berk himself. Berk quickly moved up from Vice President to President in 1979 and served until 2004. As they say, it runs in the family.
  • Beatrice E. Coleman ’25 – Though Coleman passed away earlier this month, just a few weeks away from turning 110, she will be awarded her degree posthumously. Coleman attended Brown at a time when she had to live at home “because black students weren’t allowed to live in the dormitories then,” according to the Brown Alumni Magazine. After graduating with a degree in Latin, Coleman worked as a school teacher, a nursery director and a member of the NAACP.
  • Jeffrey Eugenides ’82 – Who should have Madeleine chosen—Leonard or Mitchell?! Eugenides is the author of best-selling books The Marriage Plot, Middlesex, and The Virgin Diaries. Since The Marriage Plot involves Brown students post-graduation, I propose Eugenides hosts a panel about finding love outside of the Van Wickle Gates. Or he can talk about winning the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction in 2003. Either would be interesting.
  • Arthur Horwich ’72, M.D.’75 – Back when the PLME program lasted six years, Horwich was the valedictorian of the first class in that program. Horwich completed his residency in pediatrics at Yale University, and then went on to start his own laboratory focusing on proteins in yeast. He was elected in to the National Academy of Sciences in 2003, and currently a Sterling Professor of Genetics and Professor of Pediatrics.
  • Mary Lou Jepsen ’87, Ph.D. ’97 – Nope, she is not Carly Rae’s mom, but she’s pretty impressive. After concentrating in studio art and electrical engineering, Jepsen is now Head of the Display Division of Google X, a secretive branch of innovation at Google. In her TED talk, Jepsen questions whether devices will eventually be able to read information from our brains. So, our phones could call people on their own, maybe?
  • Debra L. Lee ’76 – Currently the CEO of BET Networks, Lee has been named one of the “100 Most Powerful Women in Entertainment” by The Hollywood Reporter. In 2010, Lee was inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame. According to, under Lee’s leadership, the network “continues to bring quality programming to (their) audience of 89 million households.”
  • Lois Lowry ’58 – You’ll soon see The Giver, Lowry’s most widely-read bookon the silver screen with stars like Meryl Streep and Taylor Swift. Lowry was awarded the Newbury Medal for The Giver and Number the Stars. Lowry said one of the concerns she includes her novels is “the vital need for humans to be aware of their interdependence, not only with each other, but with the world and its environment.” 
  • Nalini Nadkarni ’76 – As a forest ecologist, Nadkarni has explored and studied the rain forest canopies of Costa Rica. According to the University press release, Nadkarni’s work “focuses on the ecology of tropical and temperate forest canopies, particularly the role of canopy-dwelling plants.” Her TED talk concerns the ecosystem of the canopies and the value of conservation.
  • Thomas Perez ’83 - Currently serving as the United States Secretary of Labor, Perez concentrated in international relations and political science. Perez has served as the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights and the Director of the Office of Civil Rights. Before his time in politics, Perez was a law professor at the University of Maryland School of Law.

According to the press release, “Berk, Horwich, Lowry, Jepsen, Eugenides, and Lee will present Commencement Forums on Saturday. Nadkarni will deliver the Baccalaureate address to the Class of 2014.”

Image, via.

It Takes Two: Connor Sakwa ’15 and Pierre Eid ’16

Sigma Brothers: They grow up so fast.

Brothers: They grow up so fast.

Connor Sakwa (left) and Pierre Eid (right) are brothers from another mother for many reasons: not only are they doppelgängers, but they’re also both in the same fraternity. Connor and Pierre are known for their racial ambiguity, dark complexions,  bold eyebrows, big smiles, and their passion for the f—— Catalina Wine Mixer.

Pierre: When did we first hear that we looked alike?
Connor: [Editor-in-chief, William] Janover said it when you were like rushing, and I was like nah, I don’t see it, but yeah I think that was the first time. You were like a bigger version. A meatier version.
P: I think for me the first time was during rush when Philip [Heller, Copy Writer] told me that I looked like a brother. I think it’s a thing with those NYC prep boys, calling out doppelgängers.

C: Has your girlfriend ever mistaken you as me?
P: Never, fortunately.
C: That’s good for everyone.
P: I did hear once that my name infiltrated the Blog group, when Sydney [Mondry, Staff Writer] called me “a wider version of Connor Sakwa.”

C: What else…
P: Do you like the movie, Step Brothers?
C: It’s a quality film.

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Brown Gilbert & Sullivan presents Camelot


We are living in dark times. As Brown begins to enter this most trying of periods in the semester–with the riotous celebrations of Spring Weekend behind us and the ominous specter of finals beginning to loom–glad tidings may seem few and far between. In sooth, though the days may be longer and the weather warmer, we are but prisoners; chained to our desks, subsisting on a meager diet of Ratty take-out. These are dark times indeed.

But lo! Enter Brown University Gilbert and Sullivan‘s production of Camelot, a performance destined to uplift you from your dreary existence and fill your world with song and dance.

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A Cool Thing You Shouldn’t Miss: Brown Folk Fest


Many of us are in need of music and festivity in order to cure very real post-Spring Weekend blues. Thankfully, tomorrow (Saturday April 19) brings the sixth annual Brown Folk Fest – a day of (hopefully) sunshine and (definitely) cool music. The festival will last from noon till 6 p.m. on Ruth Simmons Quad, and then from 6 p.m. until midnight outside of Sayles Hall, meaning there are a lot of hours to hang out and look cool swaying to folk music on the Green. There will be both professional musicians and student performances.

There will also be local food and crafts vendors, which you can check out here. Jump for the full schedule and lineup:

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Rhee ’16 on community activism


This is the second post from our new column highlighting the voices and experiences of students of color on Brown’s campus. This post, by Alissa Rhee ’16, focuses on her involvement with the Motor City Exchange and community activism in general. Check out the first entry in this series and the BDH’s coverage of Alissa’s work as well!

After procrastinating on school/gym time/work by reading an unhealthy amount of blogs on race-based issues and critically engaging in spaces to discuss them, I began to feel comfortable embracing my ethnic rage identity. This shift in perspective has made me more aware of the nuances of my involvement with community development and racial equity.

Though we can identify as people of color, Asians and Asian Americans must remain conscious of the ways in which our experiences differ from African Americans, Latin@s, Natives, and other minority groups and how that affects our interactions with those communities of color. We’re fortunate to have spaces like MPC workshops, the TWC, and student groups to discuss these issues. However, it was only once I was offered the opportunity to work with a nonprofit in Detroit and to assist in coordinating a fellowship program that I could put discourse into practice.

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A Misanthrope’s Guide to Television: Fargo


This week marked the premier of the new FX series, Fargo. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Fargo is a movie, not a TV show. The author of this post is wrong.” False, I am never wrong and FX is, in fact, airing a 10-episode miniseries based on the Coen Brothers’ film. This past Tuesday, the first one hour episode aired and it was about as dark as you’d expect.

First thing’s first: Fargo is NOT based on a true story. Bits and pieces of the plot were taken from a few real events, but this movie is fictional and if one more person tries to convince me its not, I’m going to force their body through a wood chipper (sorry, maybe spoilers?). Yes, at the beginning of the movie (and TV show), some words pop up on the screen and tell you that what you are about to see is based on real events. You know what other movie has a bunch of words that pop up on the screen at the beginning and tell you a bunch of “facts”? Star Wars. If you don’t believe me, maybe you’ll believe the only source worth believing: Wikianswers.

Anyways, the first thing to know about the series is that the cast is stacked. None of the original performers are back, but my guess is that that text conversation looked something like:

Frances McDormand: So sorry but I’m going to have to turn down the part. I just feel like the character evolved so much in the–

Studio Execs: Whatevs, we got Billy Bob Thornton, lol we don’t care. l8er.

Frances McDormand: I’m glad everything worked out.

Studio Execs: R U even in movies anymore? lol.

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