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News from the Hilltop

May 12, 2009

Birmingham-Southern College to present honorary degrees to Artur Davis, David R. Baker

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—Birmingham-Southern is presenting U.S. Rep. Artur Davis and alumnus and trustee David R. Baker with honorary degrees at its 150th Commencement ceremony May 17. Each will receive an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree. Commencement is set for 2 p.m. at Boutwell Auditorium in downtown Birmingham.

Davis, a native of Montgomery, was reelected in 2008 to serve his fourth term in the U.S. House of Representatives. He represents Alabama's Seventh Congressional District, a 12-county area that spans from Birmingham and Tuscaloosa to the Black Belt. He serves as a member of the prestigious Ways and Means Committee, which oversees economic policy. Davis is only the 10th Alabamian in 190 years to serve on this committee, which is the only congressional committee described in the Constitution.

Baker, a practicing attorney in New York City and Birmingham where he is of counsel with Haskell, Slaughter, Young and Rediker, is a 1951 graduate of BSC. He is a longtime supporter of the college from his time as a student through his service as a member of the Board of Trustees since 1985. He has spent much of career practicing business law in New York City, where he still serves as the International Bar Association's representative to the United Nations. He is also a life member of the American Law Institute and chair of the New York Legislative Service. Baker has been general counsel of the Economic Club of New York for more than 25 years.

Davis graduated with honors from both Harvard University and Harvard Law School and has had a 15 year career in public service. From 1994-98, he compiled a near 100 percent trial conviction record as a federal prosecutor in Montgomery. He has won a variety of awards including being selected by Esquire magazine as one of the 10 best Congressmen in America.

Baker is also a graduate of the University of Chicago with a bachelor of philosophy and of Harvard Law School where he received his juris doctorate. His family ties to BSC include his wife, Dr. Myra Mullins Baker, who earned her master's degree at the college and was an English professor at BSC in the early 1960s. In the tradition of his liberal arts background, Baker is a longtime supporter of the arts including the fine and performing arts at BSC.

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