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Five to receive honorary degrees this spring

April 21, 2000 By Barbara Wolff

An Arab intellectual, a pivotal figure in American drama, the founder of the American art glass movement, a food distribution visionary and a surgeon with multiple areas of expertise will receive honorary degrees at commencement this spring. The honorees all attended or taught at the university:

Honorary degree recipients will be recognized May 19 at 5:30 p.m. in the Kohl Center. Commencement hotline: 262-9076. Commencement Web site.

Ali Ahmed Attiga has spent his career at the intersection of international development, planning, oil and energy and private sector development. Since earning his Ph.D. from UW–Madison in 1959, Attiga has served as minister of planning and national economy in Libya, the secretary general of the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries in Kuwait, assistant secretary general of the United Nations in charge of the Arab Bureau of UNDP, the vice chairman of the World Energy Council in London. He is currently the secretary general of the Arab Thought Forum in Amman, Jordan. Attiga has published three books and numerous articles on energy and economic development, is a member of high level international committees, and has received a number of national and international awards. In addition to his Ph.D., Attiga has his masters and B.S. from UW.

Uta Hagen has amassed a list of theatrical credentials since her high school debut in Noel Coward’s “Hay Fever” in the Bascom Hall Theatre in 1935. She acted in the landmark racially integrated production of “Othello,” for example, and won Tony Awards for her work in Clifford Odet’s “The Country Girl” and Edward Albee’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” Hagen is the daughter of Oskar Hagen, who founded the Department of Art History and chaired it for 22 years. Uta Hagen spent a year studying at the university before continuing her education with theatrical doyen Eva Le Gallienne.

Harvey K. Littleton began experimenting with ceramic kilns to fire glass while on the faculty in the 1950s. In 1963, he established the nation’s first art glass program at an institution of higher education. After he retired from UW–Madison in 1977, Littleton began a second career as an independent artist. He also has distinguished himself in ceramics, lithography (etching), intaglio and more.

Ernest S. Micek helped transform the Minneapolis-based Cargill Corporation from a commodities producer to a global distributor of processed food. He joined the company after earning a degree in chemical engineering in 1959. He was Cargill’s president between 1994-98 and its chief executive officer from 1995-1999. Micek also is a trustee of the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation.

Seymour Schwartz, a distinguished surgeon specializing in diseases of the liver, is also renowned as a historian of both cartography and the French and Indian War. Schwartz earned his B.A. in 1947 and played halfback on the Badger football team. His basic and clinical research has yielded 18 books and other publications. One of them, “Principles of Surgery,” is now in its seventh edition. Schwartz currently is president of the 56,000-member American College of Surgeons.

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