Benjamin Solomon Carson, Sr., M.D., director of pediatric neurosurgery at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center and the Benjamin S. Carson, Sr., M.D., and Dr. Evelyn Spiro, R.N., Professor of Pediatric Neurosurgery at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, will deliver the Commencement Address and receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree, honoris causa, during Loyola University Maryland’s 159th Commencement Exercises on Saturday, May 21, University President Rev. Brian F. Linnane, S.J., has announced.
More than 1,700 baccalaureate and advanced degrees will be conferred during the Exercises, which begin at 11 a.m. at Baltimore’s 1st Mariner Arena.
“Dr. Carson’s professional career and personal background align very closely with Loyola’s Jesuit ideals and mission,” said Fr. Linnane. “We share his belief that education is the key to building a better world, and that one's socioeconomic background should never be a barrier to educational opportunity. We share his belief that those gifted with great talents have a responsibility to use them for the betterment of their communities. And, finally, we share his belief that the sciences and the remarkable advances and innovations they make possible are the key to building a safer, healthier world for all. I am delighted to have a person of his caliber address our graduating students, and I know they will be moved and inspired by his remarks.”
Dr. Carson, the youngest person ever named to head a major division at Johns Hopkins, is the inaugural recipient of a professorship dedicated in his name and a full professor of neurosurgery, oncology, plastic surgery, and pediatrics.
An internationally recognized pioneer of groundbreaking pediatric medicine, Dr. Carson performed the first and only successful separation of craniopagus (Siamese) twins joined at the back of the head in 1987, and in 1997 performed the first completely successful separation of craniopagus twins joined at the top of the head.
Along with holding more than 60 honorary doctorate degrees, Dr. Carson is a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society and the Horatio Alger Society of Distinguished Americans, and he sits on the boards of directors of the Kellogg Company, Costco Wholesale Corporation, and the Academy of Achievement. He is actively involved in many other prestigious organizations and he is an Emeritus Fellow of the Yale Corporation, the governing body of Yale University. In 2004, Dr. Carson was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve on the President’s Council on Bioethics.
Dr. Carson’s myriad honors and awards include being named one of the nation’s 20 foremost physicians and scientists by CNN and TIME magazine in 2001. That same year, he was selected by the Library of Congress as one of 89 “Living Legends” for the Library’s 200th anniversary. In June 2008, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which is the highest civilian honor in the nation.
In addition to his medical and academic work, Dr. Carson is president and co-founder of the Carson Scholars Fund, which recognizes young people of all backgrounds for exceptional academic and humanitarian accomplishments. The Fund has awarded more than $4.3 million to more than 4,300 scholars and currently operates in 42 states and the District of Columbia. The program also establishes Carson Reading Rooms to encourage young students and their families to discover the value in books and to recognize the true power of learning. Carson is also the co-founder of Angels of the OR under the auspices of the Baltimore Community Foundation, which provides grants to assist neurosurgery patients in affording expenses not covered by insurance.
He is also the author of four books: Gifted Hands, THINK BIG, The Big Picture, and Take the Risk: Learning to Identify, Choose and Live with Acceptable Risk.
Dr. Carson has been married for more than 30 years to his wife, Candy, and is the father of three sons.
Other honors to be awarded by Loyola at this year’s Commencement Exercises will include:
- Doctor of Commercial Science, honoris causa: Edward A. Burchell, ’64, Loyola trustee and owner of Roseda Black Angus Farm.
- The President’s Medal (presented to those who have demonstrated notable support of Loyola or the greater community): The family of late United States General and Secretary of State Alexander M. Haig, Jr.
- The Carroll Medal (presented to a Loyola University Maryland alumnus or alumna in recognition of distinguished service to the University): William J. Baird, Jr., ’61, former Loyola trustee and retired executive officer of Willis North America.
- Newman Medal (presented to those who have made outstanding contributions to Catholic education): Loyola Jesuit Community
- The Milch Award (recognizing superior contributions and achievement by an organization involved in service): Cristo Rey Jesuit High School of Baltimore, Md.
Additional information on Loyola’s 159th Commencement Exercises can be found at www.loyola.edu/commencement.
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