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Honorary degree recipients chosen for commencement ceremonies May 13

Jeff Unger, News Bureau 217-333-1085

Released 1/26/2007

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Two people have been chosen to receive honorary degrees during the 136th commencement of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on May 13 at the Assembly Hall, 1800 S. First St., Champaign.

The speaker has not yet been announced.

The honorary-degree recipients:

• William D. Nix, the Lee Otterson Professor of Engineering at Stanford University, honorary degree of doctor of engineering. Nix has been the Otterson Professor since 1989, and served as chairman of the department of materials science and engineering from 1991 to 1996. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Sciences, and is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. During his 40-year career, Nix has made seminal contributions to most of the important developments of mechanical properties of materials. He has done outstanding work on mechanical behavior of solids, pioneering research on the mechanical behavior of thin films, multilayers and silicon small volume structures, and for stimulating other research in this field. Nix has been an inspirational teacher of undergraduate and graduate students. More than 70 Ph.D. students have completed their degrees under his direction. More than 40 percent of his students become professors, at schools such as Cornell, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Rice and the Technical University of Munich.

• Genshitsu Sen, past grandmaster of the Urasenke Tradition of Tea, honorary degree of doctor of fine arts. Sen graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in economics from Doshisha University, Kyoto. In 1946, he studied at the University of Hawaii. In 1949, he took Buddhist vows under Goto Zuigan Roshi, chief abbot of Daitokuji temple, and received the names Hounsai Genshu Soko. In 1950, he was officially recognized as Wakasosho, the hereditary successor to the grandmaster. In 1964, he became the15th generation grandmaster of the Urasenke lineage. Sen endowed the Soshitsu Sen XV Distinguished Professorship of Traditional Japanese History and Culture at the University of Hawaii, and the Soshitsu Sen XV Distinguished Lectures on Japanese Culture at the Donald Keene Center of Japanese Culture at Columbia University in New York. He serves on the boards of directors of several educational institutions within Japan, and is a professor at a number of universities in Japan and abroad, including Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, the University of Hawaii, Moscow University, and the Tianjin University of Commerce. In 1991, the Chinese government awarded Sen a doctorate, the first such degree granted to a non-Chinese scholar.