Pardee RAND Graduate School Commencement

The Honorable John R. Lewis presented the keynote speech at the 2016 Pardee RAND Commencement June 18, 2016.

He was one of four honorary degree recipients; the others were:

Panel discussion featuring Arthur Brooks during the Pardee RAND Graduate School 2016 Commencement

Arthur Brooks speaks during a panel discussion at the Pardee RAND Graduate School 2016 Commencement.

Photo by Diane Baldwin/RAND

  • Carolyn Meyers, president of Jackson State University, who was featured in the book The Revolution in Higher Education
  • Joseph Newhouse, key builder of RAND Health and now the John D. MacArthur Professor of Health Policy and Management at Harvard University
  • Warren Olney, host of the syndicated public radio show To the Point and KCRW's Olney in L.A.

Schedule of Events

As we have done in recent years, we organized an alumni-student networking mixer on Thursday night.

On Friday we had a reception and policy dialogue on the theme (Re)Building Communities. Our featured panelists—Carolyn Meyers, Warren Olney, and Pardee RAND alumnus Arthur Brooks (cohort '96)—talked about how they have contributed to community building using the tools of their respective areas: higher education, broadcast media, and the private sector. Following the dialogue will be a celebratory dinner for graduating students and Pardee RAND alumni. At the dinner, we presented our third biennial Alumni Leadership Award.

On Saturday, attendees celebrated 45 new Ph.D.s, heard a commencement address by The Honorable John Lewis, and a enjoyed brunch for graduates.

Commencement Weekend Honorees

Commencement Speaker

President Barack Obama awards the 2010 Presidential Medal of Freedom to Rep. John Lewis in a ceremony in the East Room of the White House, February 15, 2011

President Barack Obama awards the 2010 Presidential Medal of Freedom to Rep. John Lewis in a ceremony in the East Room of the White House, February 15, 2011

Photo by Lawrence Jackson/public domain

John Robert Lewis (Commencement speaker and honorary degree recipient) has dedicated his life to protecting human rights, securing civil liberties, and building what he calls "The Beloved Community" in America. His dedication to the highest ethical standards and moral principles has won him the admiration of many of his colleagues on both sides of the aisle in the United States Congress. He has been called "the conscience of the U.S. Congress," and Roll Call magazine has said, "John Lewis ... is a genuine American hero and moral leader who commands widespread respect in the chamber."

During the height of the Civil Rights Movement, from 1963 to 1966, Lewis was named Chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), which he helped form. At the age of 23, he was an architect of and a keynote speaker at the historic March on Washington in August 1963. In 1981, he was elected to the Atlanta City Council. He was elected to Congress in November 1986 and has served as U.S. Representative of Georgia's Fifth Congressional District since then. John Lewis is the recipient of numerous awards from eminent national and international institutions, including the highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom

Honorary Degree Recipients

Carolyn Meyers (Friday panelist and honorary degree recipient), is the 10th president of Jackson State University and a professor of civil and environmental engineering.

We are recognizing Meyers because of the transformational change she has brought to this historically black university, change that we learned about through her connection with RAND’s Gulf States office and which has been highlighted in the book The Revolution in Higher Education by Richard DeMillo.

Meyers brought to Jackson State University more than 30 years of academic and administrative leadership experience in higher education, serving most recently as President of Norfolk State University in Norfolk, Virginia. She served as Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs for North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, where she was a tenured professor of mechanical engineering and Dean of the College of Engineering. Meyers also was a tenured faculty member at the Georgia Institute of Technology and was the first Associate Dean for Research in its College of Engineering.

Meyers earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Howard University, a master’s degree in mechanical engineering and a doctorate in chemical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, and completed post-doctoral work at Harvard University. She is a fellow in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and a board member of the American Council on Education.

Warren Olney (panelist and honorary degree recipient) is the host and executive producer of the nationally syndicated Public Radio International show To the Point. From 1992 to 2016 he also hosted Which Way, L.A.?, the signature daily local news program on 89.9 KCRW Santa Monica that he began in the aftermath of the L.A. riots.

Olney received the 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award for his broad achievements in television news as well as his storied career over 20 years on public radio, both locally and nationally. He is a veteran broadcast journalist. Concurrent with his hosting duties on Which Way, LA?, from June 1999 to September 2000 he served as co-anchor of KCET-TV's Life & Times Tonight, a nightly public affairs show.

Olney was a television news reporter and anchor from 1966 to 1991, working in Washington, D.C., Sacramento, and Los Angeles. His special projects and investigations have focused on crime, science, and the environment, among other subjects. Overseas assignments took him to Europe, Asia, and Central America. At the University of Southern California, Olney developed and taught "Broadcast Journalism," a laboratory course for graduate and undergraduate students, from 1976 to 1982. Olney received his BA in English, magna cum laude, from Amherst College (Massachusetts) and became a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

Joseph Newhouse (honorary degree recipient) is the John D. MacArthur Professor of Health Policy and Management at Harvard University, Director of the Division of Health Policy Research and Education, chair of the Committee on Higher Degrees in Health Policy, and Director of the Interfaculty Initiative in Health Policy. He is a member of the faculties of the Harvard Kennedy School, the Harvard Medical School, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, as well as a Faculty Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research. He received B.A. and Ph.D. degrees in economics from Harvard University.

Newhouse spent the first twenty years of his career at RAND, where he designed and directed the RAND Health Insurance Experiment. From 1981 to 1985 he was head of the RAND Economics Department. In 1981 he became the founding editor of the Journal of Health Economics, which he edited for 30 years. He is a current member of the editorial board of the New England Journal of Medicine and a past member of the editorial board of the Journal of Economic Perspectives.

From 2007 to 2012 he served on the CBO Board of Health Advisers, from 2006 to 2012 on the Committee on National Statistics of the National Research Council, from 2004 to 2012 on the Science, Technology, and Economic Policy board of the National Research Council, and from 1999 to 2003 as a regent of the National Library of Medicine.

Alumni Leadership Award