MSPP Thirty-Second Commencement, 2012
Conferral of Doctor of Humane Letters honoris causa upon David Satcher, MD, PhD
This degree is offered “honoris causa” or “out of respect or admiration.” A medieval tradition allows institutions of higher learning to waive the usual academic work that is the requirement of the doctor’s degree for those who have so distinguished themselves in the “college of life” that their accomplishments warrant this recognition and the academy desires them to be among its faculty of professors.
Physician, Educator, Researcher, Policy Maker
Through your research, writing and teaching, you have raised our country’s awareness to the fact that disparities in mental health care are common, appalling, costly and the business of all Americans to correct.
Whereas, you have been a tireless advocate, an effective educator and an articulate spokesperson promoting access to quality mental health services for all people; and
Whereas, you have gathered a wealth of scientific evidence to show that there are egregious inequalities in the mental health care offered to children, people of African, Asian and Hispanic origin as well as other immigrant people and the poor that must be corrected; and
Whereas, you have shaped the curriculum and inspired the instructors of students of medicine, public health and behavioral health across this country and, particularly, at MSPP; and
Whereas, your commitment to mental health care and your extraordinary ability to see what is right to do by those who are the most vulnerable in our society has led you to demand that “public health work like it has never worked before”; and
Whereas, your clarity of thought, your unwavering commitment and your expressive elegance allows you to successfully invite the leaders in social policy, education and health care and every citizen to play a role in correcting the inequities in medical and mental health care that exist in our country.
By virtue of the authority invested in me by the Board of Trustees and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, I confer upon you the degree Doctor of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa, and invest you with all the rights and privileges pertaining thereto. In token, thereof, I hand to you this Diploma and direct that you be vested with the hood appropriate to your degree.
Nicholas A. Covino, President
June 3, 2012