Eight distinguished figures in education, engineering, law, philanthropy, science and the Church will join principal speaker Brian Williams as honorary degree recipients at the University of Notre Dame’s 165th University Commencement Ceremony May 16 (Sunday).
For the first time, the ceremony will occur on Sunday morning at Notre Dame Stadium in order to accommodate more guests than the renovated Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Arena could hold. Undergraduate diploma ceremonies for each college and school will be held that afternoon.
Williams, anchor of NBC Nightly News, will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree. Only one of the eight distinguished speakers will receive an honorary doctor of science-- Steven J. Brickner.
A leader in the field of antibacterial drug development, Brickner pioneered collaborative research that led to the discovery of Zyvox, the first oral therapy for a penicillin-resistant strains of strep and staph infections. Since the introduction of Zyvox in 2000, the first member of any new class of antibacterial agents to reach the market in 35 years, more than 2 million people have been successfully treated, saving limbs and lives. Brickner has led multi-disciplinary teams researching several other groundbreaking drugs during his 27 years with Upjohn, Pharmacia & Upjohn and Pfizer. He developed a strong interest in chemistry after a strep infection as a child led to rheumatic fever and confined him to bed for a year. Brickner earned his bachelor’s degree at Miami University of Ohio and his master’s and doctoral degrees from Cornell University. He lives in Connecticut, working as an independent consultant.