Honorary Degree Recipients to Share Words of Wisdom with Class of 2014

Remarks will be made at The College of Wooster’s 144th commencement ceremony on May 12

10 April, 2014 by John Finn

WOOSTER, Ohio, — Honorary degree recipients Elijah Anderson and Liz Putnam will offer a few words of wisdom for members of the Class of 2014 when they speak at The College of Wooster's 144th annual commencement ceremony on Monday, May 12. Anderson, one of the nation's leading urban ethnographers, and Putman, a pioneering conservationist, will address an estimated 472 Wooster graduates at 10 a.m. in the Oak Grove (1220 Beall Ave.).

Anderson is the author of several books about race in American cities. His most prominent works include Code of the Street: Decency, Violence, and the Moral Life of the Inner City, which won a Komarovsky Award from the Eastern Sociological Society, and Streetwise: Race, Class, and the Change in an Urban Community, which won the American Sociological Association's Robert E. Park Award as the best book in the area of urban sociology. His most famous work is A Place on the Corner: A Study of Black Street Corner Men, and his most recent work is The Cosmopolitan Canopy: Race and Civility in Everyday Life. Anderson holds the William K. Lanman, Jr. Professorship in Sociology at Yale University, where he teaches and directs the Urban Ethnography Project. He received his B.A. from Indiana University, his M.A. from the University of Chicago and his Ph.D. from Northwestern University. Prior to joining the faculty at Yale, Anderson served for many years as the Charles and William L. Day Distinguished Professor of the Social Sciences and Professor of Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania. His honors include a Cox-Johnson-Frazier Award of the American Sociological Association and a Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching at The University of Pennsylvania. He was also named the Robin M. Williams, Jr., Distinguished Lecturer by the Eastern Sociology Society, and served on the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Political and Social Science.

Putnam is best known for her role in launching the Student Conservation Association (SCA) in 1957 at the age of 24. While a student at Vassar College, Putnam modeled the SCA after the 1930s Civilian Conservation Corps., and enlisted student volunteers to assist with the upkeep of U.S. national parks and public spaces. The original idea for the SCA was outlined in Putnam's senior thesis at Vassar. Working with colleague and fellow Vassar alumna Martha Hayne Talbot, Putnam secured the interest and support of officials in the National Park Service. The first SCA volunteers arrived at Grand Teton and Olympic National Parks in 1957. This program was seen to benefit students, the environment, and the national parks, where surging visitation rates had outpaced maintenance budgets. More than 57 years and 70,000 participants later, SCA is not only a stalwart presence in national parks, but also a potent partner with other federal, state, and local resource management agencies around the country, helping to protect endangered species, conserving urban green spaces, and restoring landscapes ravaged by wildfires and floods. In 2010, Putnam became the first conservationist to receive the Presidential Citizens Medal – the nation's second-highest civilian award – when President Obama presented it to her at a White House ceremony. Putnam continues to serve as a member of the Board of Directors and remains a guiding force into the future.

Additional information about Wooster's 2014 Commencement ceremony is available by phone (330-236-2313) or e-mail.