CAROLYN BERTOZZI The T.Z. and Irmgard Chu Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and professor of molecular and cell biology at the University of California–Berkeley, Bertozzi developed the field of bioorthogonal chemistry, which may one day be used to treat cancer or improve the effectiveness of drugs.
VIOLA DAVIS A professional stage and screen actor for the past fifteen years, Davis has won two Tony Awards and three Drama Desk Awards, and has twice been nominated for an Oscar. She has starred in such films as Traffic, Antwone Fisher, and most recently, The Help, where she played Aibileen Clark, a maid during the Civil Rights Era. Her stage work includes King Hedley II, Intimate Apparel, and the 2010 revival of Fences.
JOHN ROBERT LEWIS An acclaimed civil rights leader and a longtime member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Georgia, Lewis has dedicated his life to protecting human rights while maintaining his commitment to nonviolent resistance. The son of Alabama sharecroppers, he was a major leader in the 1960s civil rights movement. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has called him “the conscience of the U.S. Congress.”
MARILYNNE ROBINSON ‘66 A Pulitzer Prize–winning writer and professor at the University of Iowa, Robinson has written three highly acclaimed novels: Housekeeping (1980), Gilead (2004), and Home (2008). Her work deals with such themes as the tug of family connections, the search for spiritual transcendence, and the strain of loss and isolation.
SEBASTIAN A. RUTH '97 Shortly after graduating, Ruth founded Community MusicWorks, a Providence-based nonprofit offering classical musical instruction in low-income neighborhoods. More than 100 neighborhood children participate free of charge—some for as long as ten years—regardless of talent or ability. “Ruth is creating rewarding musical experiences for often-forgotten populations and forging a new, multifaceted role beyond the concert hall for the twenty-first-century musician,” the MacArthur Foundation wrote when it awarded him a 2010 “Genius Award.”
DIANE SAWYER Among the best-known broadcast journalists in the United States, Sawyer has anchored ABC’s flagship World News program since 2009. Before that she was co-anchor of ABC News’s Good Morning America. She has won many Emmy awards and was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 1997.
GENE SHARP Sharp is a political theorist and scholar of nonviolent change, whose ideas and writings have informed nonviolent struggles for freedom around the world. In 1983, he founded the Albert Einstein Institution, a nonprofit that has worked with resistance and pro-democracy groups in Burma, Thailand, Tibet, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and Belarus. Most recently, his work was cited as a major influence by protesters involved in the Arab Spring.
RUTH J. SIMMONS Since Simmons became Brown’s eighteenth president in 2001, she has transformed the University and its campus. Her achievements include a $1.6 billion fund-raising campaign, a significant increase in financial aid, major new investments in medical education, an expanded and revitalized campus, and the addition of 100 faculty members. In 2002, she was a Ms. Woman of the Year, while in 2001, Time named her America’s best college president.
WEI YANG '85 PhD The president of China’s Zhejiang University, he is an internationally celebrated engineer and materials science researcher. He is widely regarded as a world pioneer in the research fields of fracture mechanics, meso-/micro- mechanics, and mechatronic reliability. Four years after earning his PhD at Brown, Yang was promoted to a full professor of engineering at Tsinghua University in Beijing, the youngest person ever to achieve that rank.