Honorary doctorates will be awarded by Texas A&M University at its spring commencement exercise to Robert G. Bergman, an internationally prominent chemistry professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and Adrian Smith, a Texas A&M former student and the architect who designed the world's tallest building.

Texas A&M President R. Bowen Loftin formally announced their selections earlier this year. They will receive their honorary doctors of letters degrees at the university's 2 p.m. ceremony Friday (May 10).

Only 66 honorary doctorates have previously been awarded by Texas A&M during its 138-year history. Awarding of such degrees is made only after the university's faculty senate endorses them for approval by the president of the institution and confirmation by The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents.

Smith attended Texas A&M as an architecture student from 1962 until 1966 before transferring to the University of Chicago, where he received a B.A. in 1969. He is a founding partner of Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, the firm that is widely regarded as a world leader in sustainable design of complex structures, including numerous global landmarks. While working with the firm of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, he and his associates designed the Burj Khalifa, the United Arab Emirates facility that is currently the tallest building in the world. He is now working on The Kingdom Tower in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, which will be the world's tallest building when construction is completed. Smith has returned to Texas A&M frequently to share his experience with faculty and students. He is a recipient of the College of Architecture's Outstanding Alumni Award.

Bergman, Gerald E.K. Branch Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at UC Berkeley since 2002 and a 46-year veteran of the Berkeley faculty, is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is considered an international leader in the fields of organic and organometallic chemistry, reaction mechanisms and reactive intermediates. Among many other notable achievements, he is the namesake of the Bergman cyclization, a rearrangement reaction involving two carbon-carbon triple bonds that results in a diradical derivative of benzene and plays a key role in the mechanism of certain anti-cancer drugs. In the course of his research, Bergman has interacted with many Texas A&M graduate students and faculty, specifically in relation to carbon-hydrogen bond activation processes that play important roles in petrochemical conversions and green chemistry.

Prior to Friday's commencement ceremony, Bergman will deliver a public lecture, "Selective Stoichiometric and Catalytic Reactions in Water-Soluble Host-Guest Supramolecular Systems," set for Thursday (May 9) at 3 p.m. in Room 2104 of the Chemistry Building.


Contact: Lane Stephenson, News & Information Services, (979) 845-4662 or l-stephenson@tamu.edu

Stephenson Lane

  • Robert G. Bergman

  • Adrian Smith

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