PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — In six years as Brown University’s 19th president, Christina Paxson has presented honorary degrees to a wide range of accomplished individuals. On Saturday, Sept. 8., she was on the receiving end instead, as Williams College awarded her an honorary doctor of laws.
Michael R. Eisenson, chair of the Williams board of trustees, presented the degree to Paxson during an induction ceremony that formally welcomed Maud S. Mandel as the 18th president of Williams College. Mandel joined Williams in July after two decades on the Brown faculty and four years as dean of the college.
Eisenson presented the degree to Paxson in recognition of what Williams College called a remarkable track record as a scholar and an academic leader at Princeton University and at Brown.
“As president of Brown University, your impact has been sweeping,” said the honorary degree citation read aloud by Eisenson during the ceremony. “During your tenure, the University has advanced its teaching and research, fundamentally deepened student support and strengthened its role in the local community. Brown’s stature as a place of scholarship has never been higher.”
VIDEO: Brown President Christina Paxson is awarded an honorary degree from Williams College. Paxson's welcome address during the college's induction ceremony follows. Video courtesy Williams College.
Paxson, who delivered a welcome address during Mandel’s induction, said: “I am humbled and grateful to have been selected to receive an honorary degree from Williams College. I am very glad to be here on this magnificent campus as you inaugurate my colleague, my friend — and forever a friend of Brown University — Maud Mandel, to be your 18th president.”
In welcoming Mandel as a fellow president, Paxson told Williams College community members that they had made an inspired choice. “Maud will touch individual lives and she will steward the intellectual traditions and fabric of this celebrated college...” she said. “This is a historic and special day for Williams.”
The full text of the honorary degree citation presented to Paxson reads as follows:
Christina Hull Paxson: It is not easy to make a great institution even greater, but you have done so repeatedly in your career. As chair of the economics department at Princeton, you brought new levels of collegiality and collaboration to a department of academic stars. At the Woodrow Wilson School, you founded the Center for Health and Wellbeing, drawing on your own study of how economic factors affect health and welfare throughout life. As the school’s dean, you then encouraged other forms of interdisciplinary, for which the school is widely renowned.
As president of Brown University, your impact has been sweeping. During your tenure, the University has advanced its teaching and research, fundamentally deepened student support and strengthened its role in the local community. Brown’s stature as a place of scholarship has never been higher. You have launched a school of public health, an institute for environment and society, and an institute for public and international affairs. You have shown how diversity and excellence are intertwined, and enhanced both financial aid and the non-financial support system for first-generation students. At the same time, Brown has become even more invested in the health of Rhode Island.
The record you have established is remarkable. It now includes the mentoring of several colleagues who have gone on to become presidents, including one for whom Williams, today, is particularly grateful. I hereby declare you recipient of the honorary degree, doctor of laws, entitled to all the rights, honors and privileges pertaining thereto.