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Honorary Degrees Announced

Founder of the Chester Children’s Chorus and former Swarthmore music professor John Alston; longtime Delaware Supreme Court Justice Randy Holland ’69; and educator and world-renowned authority on plant genetics Molly Miller Jahn ’80 will receive honorary degrees at the 143rd Commencement May 31. 

Alston, former associate professor of music at the College, founded the Chester Children’s Chorus in 1994, using music to offer children from the Chester-Upland School District the chance to expand their intellectual and cultural horizons. 

To further academic achievement and artistic excellence in the Chester community, Alston founded the Chester Upland School of the Arts in 2008, a precursor to the Chester Charter School for the Arts, which opened in 2012 to 325 students. In 2013, Alston left Swarthmore to focus on his work in Chester.

Appointed in 1986, Holland was the youngest person on Delaware’s Supreme Court and is that court’s longest-serving justice. His written opinions, including many landmark decisions, number more than 700.

He is one of three Americans named honorary Masters of the Bench at Lincoln’s Inn in London, along with Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and John Paul Stevens and is considered one of the top 100 influencers of corporate governance and business ethics in the nation.

Jahn is a professor at the University of Wisconsin–Madison with appointments in the department of agronomy, the laboratory of genetics, and the Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment. 

She researches genomics and plant breeding of vegetable crops, with emphasis on the molecular genetics of disease resistance and quality traits. Her research programs at the University of Wisconsin and earlier at Cornell University have produced vegetable varieties grown commercially and for subsistence on six continents. Jahn also has been deputy and acting under-secretary of research, education, and economics at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C. 

+Click here for more information on Swarthmore's 2015 Commencement.