Mary-Claire King

You are the person who showed that the DNA in humans and chimpanzees differ by only one percent, and, boy, what you have done with your one percent. You have identified the so-called breast cancer gene, saving countless lives and changing how we think about complex diseases, genes, and the causes of cancers. By not patenting your technique you have made it available to laboratories worldwide. You went on to lead the effort to identify causes and treatments for ovarian cancer, schizophrenia, and genetic disorders in childhood. You have worked with Israeli and Palestinian colleagues to identify the genetic causes of severe inherited disorders in Middle Eastern families. You have even been able to identify victims of human rights abuses around the world. For instance, you have enabled many South Americans to reunite with their families children whose parents had been “disappeared” and murdered by their government. You have identified for families the remains of loved ones missing in conflicts from World War II through Vietnam and have consulted with the UN’s Forensic Anthropology Team on cases that are particularly challenging for technical or political reasons. It is hard to believe that you once considered leaving academia. Think how much better off the world is that you stayed.

I hereby declare you recipient of the honorary degree Doctor of Science, entitled to all the rights, honors, and privileges appertaining thereto.

June 2, 2019