Two to Receive SUNY Honorary Degrees at UB Commencement

By Bert Gambini

Release Date: April 5, 2012

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Nobel Laureate Ronald H. Coase, one of the world's most widely read and cited economists, will receive an honorary doctorate in humane letters at commencement.

Paula Allen-Meares, chancellor of the University of Illinois at Chicago and a renowned social worker, will receive an honorary doctorate in human letters from UB on May 13.

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- One of the nation's most accomplished leaders in higher education and a Nobel Prize-winning economist will each receive honorary doctorate degrees in humane letters from the State University of New York as part of the University at Buffalo's 166th general commencement ceremony on May 13.

Buffalo native and distinguished UB alumna Paula Allen-Meares is chancellor at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). A renowned social work scholar and educator, Allen-Meares also is vice president of the University of Illinois and holds the distinguished title of John Corbally Presidential Professor at UIC, as well as professorial appointments in its School of Social Work, School of Public Health and College of Education.

Nobel Laureate Ronald H. Coase is among the world's most widely read and cited economists. Coase developed his highly influential theory about the significance of transaction costs and property rights on economic efficiency while serving as a faculty member at UB from 1951-58.

Allen-Meares served as dean of the School of Social Work at the University of Michigan for 15 years, where the school ranked No. 1 nationally for nearly a decade, its endowment grew 43 times and external funding exceeded $100 million. She chaired the University Health Sciences Council, and was a founding dean of the Institute for Research on Women and Gender, the National Center for Institutional Diversity and The Detroit Center.

She is a member of the Institute of Medicine (IOM), the Royal Society of Medicine, the Academy of SSW and trustee of the New York Academy of Medicine. She also serves on the Civic Consulting Alliance, the American Council of Education's Commission on Inclusion and the Executive Committee of the Coalition of Urban Serving Universities.

Allen-Meares earned a bachelor's degree from UB in 1969 and went on to complete a master's degree and PhD from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has dedicated much of her career toward improving the health and mental health of poor children and adolescents of color. Allen-Meares has authored more than 145 articles and several books, and received UB's Distinguished Alumni Award in 2004.

Coase is Clifton R. Musser Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Chicago Law School and is the research advisor to the Ronald Coase Institute. He received the Nobel Prize in economics in 1991. His economic theory, thought at first controversial because of its counterintuitive challenge to the thinking of the time, has proved enduring and influential, inspiring entirely new fields of scholarship. As a scholar of international stature and far-reaching impact with strong roots at UB, he represents the very finest achievements in mapping the complex relationships that comprise the global economy.

Coase was born in London in 1910. After graduating from the London School of Economics in 1931, he held a number of faculty positions at that institution and elsewhere in the United Kingdom. He immigrated to the United States in 1951, when he joined the UB faculty, serving in the economics department for eight years. UB would become the intellectual home for his Nobel Prize winning work, which has profoundly changed the direction of economic regulation.

Coase established the Ronald Coase Institute to help improve the understanding of economic systems so that individuals and societies have greater opportunities to improve their well-being. In addition, he is the founder of the Ronald Coase Center for the Study of the Economy at Zhejiang University, China and is considered a leading scholar of the rise of capitalism in China.