UMES Awards Honorary Degrees at Spring Commencement | University of Maryland Eastern Shore Marketing Retarget Pixel

UMES Awards Honorary Degrees at Spring Commencement

  • Monday, May 10, 2010

    Cicely TysonPRINCESS ANNE, MD-May 10, 2010-Two African-American celebrities and two champions of progress in Africa will receive honorary degrees at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore's 123rd annual spring commencement on Friday, May 21, at 10 a.m. in the William P. Hytche Athletic Center.

    In addition to giving the commencement address, Cicely Tyson will receive the Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters during UMES' commencement exercises.  Among her many accolades, Tyson has won three Emmy awards, one for her performance in "The Oldest Confederate Widow Tells All" and two for her performance in "The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman," and a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for role in "Sounder."  Her Emmy for "The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman," distinguished her as the first African-American actress to receive the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress, a coveted award. 

    Tyson remains one of only seven African-American actresses to date to receive the nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role.  For her civic efforts, Tyson has been recognized at Oprah Winfrey's Legends Ball and will receive the NAACP's highest honor, the Spingarn Medal in July.

    Clarence Clemons, saxophonist of nearly 40 years, 30 of which have been with the legendary Bruce Springsteen's E Clarence ClemonsStreet Band, will receive the Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters for his exceptional contributions to American music.  Clemons' artistic touch has reached beyond the E Street Band.  In the 80s, he recorded and toured with his own band, Clarence Clemons and the Red Bank Rockers, and recorded the first of several solo albums.  He has also loaned his distinct style to the recordings of Joe Cocker, Janis Ian and Nils Lofgren.  Best known are his 1985 work on the hit singles "You're a Friend of Mine" with Jackson Browne and "Freeway of Love" with Aretha Franklin.  Clemons is an actor and has appeared in television series and played multiple roles on the big screen.

    Clemons, a former Maryland State College (UMES) student, is known to his fans as "the Big Man."  He has recently penned his memoir, "Big Man: Real Life & Tall Tales." President Bill Clinton's review read:  "Big Man relives Clemons' story in a unique personal narrative that's bound in both history and folklore."

    Catherine Watkins' career has spanned 44 years at the USDA.  She has provided leadership in the support of a number of major international agricultural developing programs and three Presidential Initiatives, namely, President Obama's 2009 Global Hunger and Food Security Initiative and President Bush's African Education Initiative and Initiative to End Hunger in Africa.  She will receive the Honorary Doctor of Science degree.

                Prior to her recent retirement, she served as the program management liaison for the USDA, Foreign Agriculture Services, Office of Capacity Building and Development.  She initiated a program that established cooperative agreements between 1890 Land Grant Universities and the USDA/USAID.  These agreements opened the pathway for the universities to partner with the USDA and USAID in implementing foreign assistance activities.  Under the program, UMES has successfully competed and received over $15 million in grants from USDA.

    Dr. Francis Kofi Ampenyin Allotey, a mathematical physicist, will receive the Honorary Doctor of Science.  The first African full professor in mathematical sciences in Ghana, 1973, Allotey has served in various academic positions of increasing responsibility at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.  Since 1995, he has been the director of the Institute of Mathematical Sciences there.  Educated at the Imperial College of Science and Technology in London and Princeton University, he was the first to introduce the theory of electron-hole scattering resonances effect on soft x-ray spectroscopy in metals.  He is the co-author of the book “Nuclear Weapons-Report of the UN Secretary-General,” 1980.

    Allotey has organized and directed several workshops and conferences at national and international levels on mathematical sciences, physical sciences, energy, information and communication technology.  He is the founder and coordinator of the Ghana Energy Research Group and has been appointed to various commissions in his native country.  At the international level, he is a member of the UNESCO Physics Action Council; the Scientific Council for the International Institute of Theoretical and Applied Physics in the U.S.; the International Centre for Theoretical Physics in Italy; the International Scientific Advisory Council, Molecular Frontier Foundation in Sweden; and the International Atomic Energy Agency in Austria.


    Gail Stephens, assistant director, UMES Office of Public Relations, 410-651-7580,