LEE BERK ’64
President of Boston’s Berklee College of Music. He succeeded his father, who founded Berklee, and built it into one of the largest and most progressive music schools, pioneering programs in film scoring, synthesized music, songwriting, music therapy, hip-hop, college-level music education, music production and engineering, as well as the business and management of music. He also helped found the Boston Arts Academy, Boston’s first high school for the visual and performing arts; and the Berklee City Music program, which serves urban teens.
BEATRICE E. COLEMAN ’25
A longtime teacher at the Emma Pendleton Bradley Hospital in East Providence, she was a permanent member of the NAACP, secretary of its New England Regional Conference, and president of the African American women’s club, the Criterion Club. Initially unable to find work in the Providence schools because of racial restrictions, she began her career in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, returning to Providence when it eliminated the restrictions. At the time of her death last April, just before her 110th birthday, she was among Brown’s oldest graduates.
JEFFREY EUGENIDES ’82 The author of three bestselling and critically acclaimed novels. The first, the 1993 modern classic The Virgin Suicides, was made into a movie by Sofia Coppola. His 1992 novel, Middlesex, won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. His 2011 novel, The Marriage Plot, followed three Brown students through their first year out of college. It and Middlesex were both finalists for the National Book Critics’ Circle Award. Eugenides teaches creative writing at Princeton. Translated into thirty-five languages, his novels have won numerous international literary prizes.
ARTHUR L. HORWICH ’72, ’75 MD
A pediatrician and member of Brown Medical School’s first graduating class, he is the Sterling Professor of Genetics at Yale and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute researcher. His studies of the ways proteins fold has led to better understanding of the ways they incorrectly fold in such diseases as ALS, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s. A member of the National Academy of Sciences, he has won numerous scientific honors, including the Gairdner International Award, the Wiley Prize in Biomedical Science, and the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research.
MARY LOU JEPSEN ’87
Electrical engineer, innovator, and entrepreneur. Currently head of the Display Division at Google [x], she has founded or co-founded four computer display start-ups with more than $1 billion in total revenue. At the nonprofit One Laptop Per Child, she designed a $100 laptop; more than 5 million of those units have been shipped to developing nations. She also founded Pixel Qi and cofounded MicroDisplay Corp. She has more than fifty worldwide patents. Time has included her in its “Time 100” list as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.
DEBRA L. LEE ’76
Chair and CEO of BET Networks. She has overseen its growth into one of the world’s most influential multiplatform media companies and the leading provider of entertainment for African American and global consumers of black culture. In 2009 she launched Centric, a twenty-four-hour entertainment network aimed at a sophisticated, multicultural adult audience. She has served two terms on Brown’s Board of Trustees and provided support for the Debra L. Lee Lecture on Slavery and Justice.
LOIS LOWRY ’58
Best known for her classic middle-grade novel The Giver, she has written more than forty books for children and teenagers and has twice won the Newbery Medal—first for her 1990 novel Number the Stars and then for The Giver in 1994. Mandatory reading for a generation of students, The Giver has also topped the list of banned books for its depiction of a dystopian society in which freethinkers are euthanized. In a lighter vein, Lowry has published nine volumes in the best-selling (and very funny) Anastasia series. Read the BAM profile of Lowry here.
NALINI MORESHWAR NADKARNI ’76
Forest ecologist and a passionate advocate for the communication of science. As a longtime professor at Evergreen State College and University of Utah, she studied the plants in both tropical and temperate forest canopies to see how they capture nutrients. Her work has been supported by the National Science Foundation and the National Geographic Society, which has produced films and videos, including the 2001 Emmy Award-winning Heroes of the High Frontier. Read an account of her Baccalaureate address here.
THOMAS E. PEREZ ’83
U.S. Secretary of Labor. He was deputy assistant attorney general for civil rights under Janet Reno and Senator Edward Kennedy’s lead adviser on civil rights, justice, and constitutional issues. Under President Clinton, he directed the Office for Civil Rights within the Department of Health and Human Services. He returned to federal service when President Obama nominated him as assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and then as secretary of labor. Read the BAM profile of Perez here.