Penn State to present Elder, Kozol honorary degrees

April 22, 2003

University Park, Pa -- Penn State will award Glen Elder Jr., pioneering researcher, and Jonathan Kozol, acclaimed author, honorary degrees during its spring 2003 commencement ceremonies.

Elder, a Penn State alumnus, will receive an honorary doctorate of humane letters from the College of Health and Human Development at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 17, in the Bryce Jordan Center.

He has been instrumental in advancing developmental research and in addressing critical problems confronting American society. As the Howard W. Odum Distinguished Professor in Sociology and research professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Elder conducts longitudinal studies of the life course, family and human development.

A pioneering researcher, teacher and mentor in the social and behavioral sciences, Elder is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, American Psychological Association and Gerontological Society of America. He has served as president of the Society for Research on Child Development and as vice president of the American Sociological Association. Elder has received many awards, including Penn State's Alumni Fellow Award, The Spencer Foundation's Senior Scholar Award, the National Institute of Mental Health's Senior Scientist Award and the American Sociological Association's Distinguished Scholars Award.

Kozol will receive an honorary doctorate of humane letters from the College of the Liberal Arts at noon on Saturday, May 17, in the Bryce Jordan Center.

A lifelong defender of children's rights, he is honored as an educator, activist and noted author and critic of social disparity in American society. Kozol's award-winning books -- results of his eyewitness accounts of pressing social problems -- often spurred state and federal authorities into action on issues of homelessness, illiteracy and education inequity.

Kozol, a champion for the rights of the poor and disenfranchised, has received numerous awards, including the National Book Award for his nonfiction work "Death at an Early Age: The Destruction of the Hearts and Minds of Negro Children in the Boston Public Schools," and the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award and the Conscience in Media Award for "Rachel and Her Children: Homeless Families in America." His book, "Savage Inequalities: Children in America's Schools," received the New England Book Award and was named a National Book Critics Circle Award. Kozol also has held two Guggenheim fellowships, two Rockefeller Foundation fellowships, and fellowships from the Field and Ford Foundations.

Penn State awards honorary degrees to scholars, performers, artists and practitioners in academic fields, or individuals who have made particularly distinguished contributions to society in areas such as public service, business or government. Elder and Kozol were nominated by a 15-member faculty committee and approved by President Graham B. Spanier and the Board of Trustees.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated March 19, 2009