Pitt awards three honorary doctorates | Pittwire

The University of Pittsburgh proudly awarded honorary doctorates to three distinguished women: Rebecca Skloot, Judith Heumann and Susan Hassmiller during the 2021 opening ceremonies. Learn more about these notable women.

Rebecca Skloot (A&S ’07G)

At the opening ceremony on May 4, Skloot told the class of 2021 the importance of following your curiosity and taking the time to realize what she describes as “what moments” in life: “moments when You just have to stop and wait, huh? “

Such moments happen all the time, all around us. One such moment for Skloot came when she learned about a woman named Henrietta Lacks and her monumental contribution to science in a basic biology class. That moment of curiosity and the idea of ​​who this woman was and why no one knew anything about her stuck with Skloot and eventually led her on a path she had never imagined.

Skloot is the author of the New York Times bestseller No. 1, “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” a story of a young black woman who died of cervical cancer in 1951, leaving behind an inexplicably immortal cell line known as HeLa. Lack’s cells were harvested without their knowledge or consent, and contributed to scientific advances as diverse as the polio vaccine, the treatment of cancer and viruses, and in vitro fertilization.

The book was named Best Book of 2010 by Amazon.com and one of the 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime. It was converted into an Emmy-nominated HBO film starring Oprah Winfrey.

Known for its engaging, straightforward language, Skloot’s writing has enchanted people all over the world. It has been published in the New York Times Magazine, Popular Science, The Chicago Tribune, and many other publications.

Skloot received a Bachelor of Science degree in Life Sciences from Colorado State University and a Masters of Fine Arts degree in creative non-fiction from the University of Pittsburgh. Skloot is also the founder and president of the Henrietta Lacks Foundation, which endeavors to provide financial assistance to individuals in need who have made important contributions to scientific research without their knowledge or consent.

Judith “Judy” Heumann

A lifelong advocate of disabled people’s rights, Heumann received his PhD in Rehabilitation Law and Rehabilitation Science from the Faculty of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences on May 2.

In her speech, Heumann emphasized the importance of disabled people who have studied in health and rehabilitation sciences to work with people without disabilities to enrich work at Pitt and other universities.

She also paid tribute to Pitt pioneers and disability attorneys Clifford Brubaker, Rory Cooper, Kate Seelman, and former Pennsylvania Governor and Attorney General Dick Thornburgh and his wife Ginny.

Capture the ceremonies you missed

It was an action packed spring celebrating the class of 2021. Visit Pitt’s home page to check out ceremonies you may have missed.

Heumann contracted polio in 1949 and began using a wheelchair for mobility. At the age of 5, she was denied school attendance because she was classified as a “fire hazard”. Her parents played a strong role in the fight for their rights, but Heumann was determined that she needed to advocate in collaboration with other disabled people due to constant discrimination.

Today Heumann is an internationally recognized market leader in the disability rights community.

She served on the Clinton and Obama administrations and was a Senior Fellow with the Ford Foundation.

Heumann can be seen in the documentary “Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution”, which won the American Award 2020. She is also the author of her memoir, Being Heumann: An Unrepentant Memory of a Disability Rights Activist, with Kristen Joiner.

She is now the producer of The Heumann Perspective, a podcast and YouTube channel designed to share the beauty of the disabled community.

Heumann has received numerous awards, including the first award with the Henry B. Betts Award and the Max Starkloff Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Council on Independent Living.

Susan Hassmiller

Hassmiller provided a wealth of advice in her address to the 2021 Class of Nursing Graduates at the School of Nursing Opening Ceremony on April 30th.

“Build up your expertise around your passion. Read all you can. Carry out research. Publish and showcase your area of ​​expertise, then raise your hand when it comes to serving on a committee and drafting guidelines. The world is ruled by those who appear, ”says Hassmiller.

Hasmiller is Senior Nursing Advisor at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, where she shapes and directs the foundation’s nursing strategies to achieve higher quality care.

Working with AARP, Hassmiller leads the foundation’s Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action, which aims to ensure everyone in America can lead healthier lives. She is emeritus co-director of the Future of Nursing Scholars program, a doctoral scholarship program designed to develop the leadership capacity of nurses and researchers.

Hassmiller worked for the Health Resources and Services Administration, where she was the executive director of the United States Universal Policy Scholarship and oversaw other national and international community service initiatives.

As a member of the National Board of Governors of the American Red Cross, Hassmiller served as chair of the Disaster and Chapter Services Committee and national chair of the 9/11 Recovery Program.

An elected member of the National Academy of Medicine, Hassmiller is a member of the American Academy of Nursing and a member of a number of other advisory boards and boards.

Hassmiller has received numerous national awards, notably Hassmiller, and in 2009 received the Florence Nightingale Medal, the highest international award a nurse has received from the International Committee of the Red Cross.

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