Duke Names Honorary Degree Recipients

Recipients will be physics professor and Nobel Prize co-winner Steven Chu, founder and CEO of Self-Help Martin Eakes, broadcast journalist Nina Totenberg and former director of the National Institutes of Health James Wyngaarden

Duke University will award four honorary degrees during its May 14 commencement ceremony, President Richard H. Brodhead announced Monday.

The recipients will be physics professor and Nobel Prize co-winner Steven Chu, founder and CEO of Self-Help Martin Eakes, broadcast journalist Nina Totenberg and former director of the National Institutes of Health James Wyngaarden.

Commencement will feature an address by historian and Duke professor emeritus John Hope Franklin, who received a Doctor of Humane Letters from Duke in 1998. The ceremony, which will be held in Wallace Wade Stadium and is open to the public, begins at 10 a.m.; the procession begins at 9:30 a.m.

Chu is the director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, managed by the University of California. He is a professor of physics and applied physics at Stanford University, where he has been on the faculty since 1987.

Chu was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics in 1997 with Claude Cohen-Tannoudji and William D. Phillips "for development of methods to cool and trap atoms with laser light." His research also includes polymer physics and biophysics at the single-molecule level.

At Stanford, Chu has held a number of leadership positions, including chairing the physics department from 1990-1993 and 1999-2001. He was one of the co-founders of a Stanford initiative called Bio-X, which aims to bring together researchers from physical and biological sciences, engineering and medicine.

Chu has an A.B. degree in mathematics and a B.S. degree in physics from the University of Rochester and a Ph.D. in physics from the University of California-Berkeley. In addition to the Nobel Prize, Chu has won dozens of other awards for his work.

Eakes is the founder of Durham-based Self-Help, one of the country's leading community development lenders that has provided more than $3.9 billion in financing to 43,000 home buyers, small businesses and nonprofits. Self-Help's focus is to help underserved clients, particularly minorities, women and low-income individuals, achieve economic self-sufficiency.

Eakes is considered a national leader in addressing payday lending abuses and other financial institution practices that hurt the poor. He has won numerous awards for his leadership, including a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship and the William C. Friday Award in Moral Leadership from Duke's Kenan Institute for Ethics.

Eakes has served an important role in the Duke-Durham Neighborhood Partnership. Self-Help, with loan assistance from Duke, has purchased about 100 homes for renovation and rehabilitation for single-family ownership in the Walltown and West End neighborhoods.

Eakes has a B.A. from Davidson College in philosophy and physics, a master's in public affairs from Princeton University and a law degree from Yale University.

Totenberg is National Public Radio's legal affairs correspondent whose job explaining the workings of the U.S. Supreme Court has won her numerous honors. Totenberg, who attended Boston University, joined NPR in 1975. Her reports appear regularly on NPR's All Things Considered, Morning Edition and Weekend Edition.

In her more than three decades with NPR, she has covered the nation's top legal issues, including Justice Thurgood Marshall's retirement and Clarence Thomas's confirmation hearings. Her report about Anita Hill's sexual harassment allegations against Thomas prompted the Senate Judiciary Committee to re-open the confirmation hearings to consider Hill's charges.

Her many awards include being named Broadcaster of the Year in 1998. She also has been awarded the Sigma Delta Chi Award from the Society of Professional Journalists for investigative reporting, the Joan S. Barone Award for excellence in national affairs reporting and the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Silver Baton for Supreme Court nomination coverage.

She has been honored seven times by the American Bar Association.

Wyngaarden, the former director of the National Institutes of Health, is a pioneer in cellular metabolism research. Among his accomplishments was clarifying the cause of gout, which led to one of its best treatments. Wyngaarden has had a lengthy career in academic medicine at both Duke and the University of Pennsylvania and is well-known for advocating the role of physician-scientists in clinical investigations.

At Duke, Wyngaarden was a member of the medical center faculty from 1956 to 1965 and served as chair of the Department of Medicine from 1967 to 1982. After serving as NIH director from 1982 to 1989, he was associate vice chancellor for health affairs at Duke from 1990 to 1994.

Wyngaarden, who earned his medical degree at the University of Michigan, has also served as associate director for life sciences in the Office of Science and Technology Policy. From 1990-1994, he was elected foreign secretary of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.

He was awarded the John Phillips Memorial Award of the American College of Physicians in 1980 and the Kober Medal of the Association of American Physicians in 1991.