New York University President John Sexton today bestowed an honorary doctorate on historian and educational leader Robert Max Berdahl, the president of the Association of American Universities, at NYU's 178th Commencement Exercises in Yankee Stadium. Over 25,000 graduates, faculty, staff, and guests attended the morning ceremony.
The following citation was read in conferring the Doctor of Humane Letters degree, honoris causa, on Robert Max Berdahl:
"Robert Max Berdahl—historian, author, academic leader, president of the Association of American Universities—representing the top 63 leading public and private research institutions in the United States and Canada—you urge the nation to revive its historic commitment to basic university research and teaching and argue compellingly for the intrinsic value of universities as a unique societal good in a rapidly changing world. A principal participant in the international conversation about the future of higher education, you exercise extraordinary leadership, which you honed as president of two premier institutions of American higher learning: The University of Texas at Austin, where you enhanced and humanized the undergraduate experience and fostered an inclusive community on a large and diverse campus; and the University of California, Berkeley, where you established a master plan to upgrade campus infrastructure, rebuilt the library collection, worked to increase the number of women and minority members of the faculty, championed the benefits of a diverse student body, and spearheaded major interdisciplinary initiatives. Born in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, you earned your Ph.D. in history from the University of Minnesota and are widely published in the field of German history. A recipient of multiple academic honors, you hold membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
"Robert Max Berdahl—you are an exceedingly thoughtful, effective, and passionate advocate on behalf of American higher education and its research universities. You are a leader of leaders and a voice of extraordinary wisdom and integrity. By virtue of the authority vested in me by New York University, I am pleased to confer upon you the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa."