For Immediate Release: May 9, 2000
Swarthmore to Hold 128th Commencement on May 29
Swarthmore College President Alfred H. Bloom will award honorary degrees to Templeton prize-winning physicist and theologian Ian Barbour, innovative dancer and choreographer Bill T. Jones, and lifelong political and civil rights advocate Elizabeth Martinez at the College's 128th commencement on Monday, May 29. About 380 seniors are expected to graduate at the ceremony, to be held at 10 a.m. in the Scott Outdoor Auditorium.
M. William Howard, Jr., president of the New York Theological Seminary, will address the graduating class at baccalaureate services on May 28.
Ian Barbour is a physicist and theologian who has won international acclaim for his efforts to forge a dialogue between the fields of science and religion. An emeritus professor of religion at Carleton College, Barbour in 1999 won the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion. He is credited with influencing a generation of theologians and scientists with his writings and lectures on the case for mutual understanding between their two fields. Barbour has been a leader in that effort since the 1960s, when he published the ground-breaking Issues in Science and Religion. In later books, he has also explored social, environmental, and ethical issues related to technology, energy policy, and genetic engineering.
A physics major, Barbour graduated from Swarthmore in 1943 and went on to earn his master's at Duke. While studying for his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago, he was a teaching assistant under Enrico Fermi, a pioneer in the development of nuclear technology. After receiving his Ph.D. in physics in 1950, Barbour joined the faculty at Kalamazoo College in Michigan but left to attend Divinity School at Yale University, from which he received his degree in 1956. Barbour was appointed to teach physics and religion at Carleton in 1955 and in 1981 was named the Winifred and Atherton Bean Professor of Science, Technology, and Society. Barbour has remained at Carleton since retiring from active teaching in 1986 and continues to write and lecture.
In addition to Issues in Science and Religion, Barbour has written dozens of other papers and books, including Myths, Models, and Paradigms, which was nominated for a National Book Award, and the 1993 paper Creation and the Big Bang, presented to the Association for the Advancement of Science and at the Parliament of World's Religions. Among his many prizes and honors, he was selected to give the prestigious Gifford Lectures in Scotland in 1989 and 1990, and the National Association for Science, Technology, and Society established a lecture series in his honor -- the annual Barbour Lecture on Technology and Human Values -- in 1995.
Bill T. Jones
Acclaimed choreographer and dancer Bill T. Jones is artistic director of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company. Before forming his eponymous dance company in 1982, Jones studied classical ballet and modern dance and co-founded the American Dance Asylum at SUNY Binghamton. An internationally regarded choreographer and soloist and a 1994 recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, he has created more than 50 works for his company, as well as dances for modern and ballet companies such as the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Lyon Opera Ballet, and the Berlin Opera. Jones published his memoirs, Last Night on Earth, in 1995 and Dance, a children's book, in 1999.
Elizabeth (Betita) Martinez is a lifelong advocate for civil and political rights, Chicano empowerment, and women's enfranchisement. An honors English major with a minor in history, she graduated from Swarthmore in 1946, and was among the first Mexican Americans to do so.
After serving as a researcher for the United Nations, Martinez combined her political activism with her love of the arts as an editor at Simon and Schuster, then later at The Nation. During the 1960s, she worked in the black civil rights movement, including three years as a full-time staff member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in the South and in New York.
In 1973, she founded and directed the Chicano Communications Center in Albuquerque, N.M. The Center later published her widely taught book, 500 Years of Chicano History in Pictures, which she then used as the basis for a video she co-directed -- Viva la Causa! In addition to publishing five other books, Martinez also taught women's studies courses at universities in California for many years.
Three years ago, Martinez co-founded the Institute for MultiRacial Justice in San Francisco to build alliances between people of color. She continues to engage with students and audiences around the country, lecturing on dozens of campuses, as well as at high schools, youth gatherings, and community events.
Martinez is the recipient of many awards from academic and community organizations. Most recently, she was named Scholar of the Year 2000 by the National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies.
Located near Philadelphia, Swarthmore is a highly selective liberal arts college with an enrollment of 1,400. Swarthmore is ranked the number one liberal arts college in the country by U.S. News & World Report.