Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director David H. Petraeus, will deliver the 2012 Commencement address at Dickinson College on Sunday, May 20. The ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. in front of Old West on the John Dickinson campus off West High Street, between West and North College streets, in Carlisle.
Petraeus, who previously served as commander of the NATO International Security Assistance Force and U.S. Forces-Afghanistan, will receive a doctor of public service honorary degree. During the ceremony, honorary doctorates also will be conferred on John H. Adams, co-founder of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC); Herta Müller, recipient of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Literature; and Nina Totenberg, National Public Radio’s (NPR) award-winning legal affairs correspondent.
Petraeus became the 20th director of the CIA on Sept. 6, 2011 following a distinguished 37-year career in the U.S. Army. As director, he leads the agency and also manages human intelligence, covert operations, counterintelligence, liaison with foreign intelligence services and open-source-collection programs.
He has received numerous awards for distinguished service, including the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star for valor and the State Department Superior Honor Award. In 2007, he was named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential leaders and revolutionaries of the year and one of four runners-up for Person of the Year. Most recently, he was selected in a poll conducted by Foreign Policy and Prospect magazines as one of the world’s top-100 public intellectuals, and Esquire magazine named him one of the 75 Most Influential People of the 21st Century.
Petraeus holds a bachelor’s degree from the United States Military Academy and was commissioned as a distinguished cadet in 1974. As the top graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College in 1983, he earned the General George C. Marshall Award. He subsequently earned a master’s in public administration and a doctorate in international relations from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.
His wife Holly ’74 and daughter Anne ’04 are Dickinson alumnae.
Adams, who will receive a doctor of public service honorary degree, is a graduate of Michigan State University and Duke University School of Law. In 1970 he and a group of law students and attorneys co-founded NRDC. Under Adams’ tutelage, NRDC lawyers have helped write some of America’s bedrock environmental laws. Today NRDC is widely known as the nation’s most effective environmental-action organization, using law, science and the support of 1.3 million members and online activists to protect the planet’s wildlife and wild places.
In 2010 Adams and his wife Patricia co-authored “A Force for Nature”, a memoir recounting their 40 years with NRDC. In February 2011, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom—the nation’s highest civilian honor—from President Barack Obama, who referenced Rolling Stone magazine’s description of Adams when announcing the award: “If the planet has a lawyer, it’s John Adams.”
Müller, who received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2009, will receive a doctor of letters honorary degree. She is only the 12th woman to win the literature prize since 1901. Müller came to Dickinson as a writer-in-residence in spring 1996 and was awarded an honorary fellowship in 1997. Her poetry appeared in the fall 2009 issue of Sirena, the biannual journal of poetry, art and criticism published for Dickinson’s department of Spanish & Portuguese. Müller has written many German-language novels and short stories depicting hypocrisy and oppression in post-World War II Romania, where she was born. Her most recent work, “The Hunger Angel,”was released in English in April 2012.
From 1973 to 1976, Müller studied Romanian and German literature in Timişoara, where she befriended a group of writers opposed to the Ceauşescu dictatorship. Upon completing her studies, she worked as a translator in a machine factory. In 1979, after refusing a request by the Romanian secret police to spy on her colleagues and foreign guests, she lost her job. Her first book, “Niederungen,” dates from this period.
In 1984, she published a collection of short prose titled “Drückender Tango;” that same year an uncensored, abridged edition of “Niederungen” came out in Germany, bringing Müller instant renown as a writer. Because Müller had publicly criticized the dictatorship in Romania in her writing, she was prohibited from publishing in her own country and in 1987, she emigrated from Romania to Germany.
In addition to the Nobel Prize, Müller’s work has earned the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, European Literature Prize, Kafka Prize, Marieluise-Fleißer Prize, Kranichsteiner Literary Prize, Kleist Prize and Aristeion Prize.
Totenberg, legal-affairs correspondent for NPR, receives a doctor of humane letters honorary degree. After attending Boston University, Totenberg began her career at the Boston Record American and the Peabody Times. She then worked in Washington, D.C., reporting for several print publications before moving into broadcast journalism at NPR in 1975. She has since become one of the most respected and recognized figures in American radio and a frequent contributor to print media, including The New York Times Magazine and the Harvard Law Review.
Totenberg’s coverage of the Supreme Court and legal affairs has won her widespread recognition. In 1991 her groundbreaking reporting led the Senate Judiciary Committee to re-open Judge Clarence Thomas’ Supreme Court confirmation hearings. NPR received the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award for its coverage.
Totenberg has earned many awards during her career, including: the Long Island University George Polk Award for excellence in journalism; the Sigma Delta Chi Award from the Society of Professional Journalists for investigative reporting; the Joan S. Barone Award for excellence in Washington, D.C.-based, national-affairs/public-policy reporting; and the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Silver Baton Award. She was the first radio journalist to be named Broadcaster of the Year and be honored with the 1998 Sol Taishoff Award for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism from the National Press Foundation and Totenberg was the first recipient of the American Judicature Society’s award honoring a career in legal-affairs journalism.