Morton Owen Schapiro

Doctor of Humane Letters

As if your passion, intelligence and high spirits were not credentials enough for the presidency of a small liberal arts college located in a remote corner of the Berkshires, you also bring to your Williams College job the skills of a fine teacher, scholar and researcher.

Since becoming Williams's 16th president a year ago, you have been a strong presence on campus, active in the residential housing system, teaching Economics 101 to a class of 150, garnering high ratings from your students. During your first year, you have already demonstrated your decisiveness and powers of persuasion in town-gown relations, helping to settle a difficult controversy over the location of a new performing arts center.

You have won your stripes both as professor and administrator, earlier at Williams, then for nine years at the University of Southern California, as chairman of the economics department, dean of the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and, finally, as the university's vice president for planning.

A prolific writer, you are one of the nation's top authorities on the economics of higher education, with a particular concern for social justice in college financing. Appearing often in the public press as well as in academic journals, you have thoughtfully explored the question of how colleges should contend with the new set of social protests—about sweatshop labor, for example—when these protests are fueled by what you call "the communications free-for-all brought about by the Internet."

You have been described as a devoted family man, as an idealist lurking under an irreverent, brash exterior, as a self-assured man with a self-deprecating sense of humor. And we at Amherst like a Williams man who can self-deprecate.

We are pleased to welcome you to the cohort of small-college presidents and to honor you today.

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