Jan Vilcek, Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa

Yesterday, the Graduate Center, City University of New York bestowed the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, on Jan Vilcek, president and co-founder of the Vilcek Foundation.  Jan was recognized in his capacity as a biomedical scientist, educator, inventor, and philanthropist.

“[A] remarkable scientist and inventor, your pioneering work has alleviated the suffering of hundreds of thousands of people,” said Laurel Eckhardt, executive officer of the Ph. D. program in biology, in her citation.  “Your great enthusiasm for science has inspired generations of students.  Your extraordinary philanthropy ensures that the highest level of medical research will continue.  Through your foundation’s many cultural programs, our city is enriched and foreign-born scientists and artists in America receive the recognition and support they deserve.”

Also receiving honorary degrees in humane letters were Eugene Goodheart, a scholar, essayist, and author of over a dozen books, including Mostly Grave Thoughts: On Mortality and Other Matters; and Leonard A. Lauder, a businessman and philanthropist who has been a generous supporter of research, education, and the arts in New York City. 

The Graduate Center class of 2014, comprising 466 candidates, were awarded their doctoral degrees in the same ceremony, in fields including urban education, philosophy, and engineering.  The commencement address was delivered by Uday Singh Mehta, a distinguished professor in the Graduate Center political science department.

Congratulations to all honorees and graduates!

  • A Message from Jan and Marica Vilcek

    Our founders arrived as penniless refugees over fifty years ago, but with the kindness and opportunity they received in the United States, they went on to accomplish great things in biomedical science and art history. Read their statement on the recent executive order imposing a travel ban.