. . . Winter 1996
O'Connor, who received an honorary doctor of laws degree, said that the first job she was offered after law school was as a legal secretary, so she started her own firm and built a practice from walk-in traffic.
"I started at the bottom of the totem pole," O'Connor told the audience of 9,500 in Crisler Arena. She ultimately worked her way up to become a state senator, Arizona's attorney general and a state judge before being appointed to the Supreme Court.
Other degree recipients were Robert Altman, filmmaker; John H. Pickering, lawyer; and Vera Rubin, astronomer.
Altman, who received an honorary doctor of fine arts degree, is often described as a maverick film director, and his films include M*A*S*H, McCabe and Mrs. Miller, Nashville, A Wedding, Three Women and The Player. He directed The Rake's Progress by Stravinsky in the Power Center Series of the School of Music opera theater several years ago.
Pickering, who received an honorary doctor of laws degree, is senior counsel to the Washington, DC, law firm of Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering, which he helped found in 1962. He began a private practice in New York City in 1940 and served as law clerk to Justice Frank Murphy of the US Supreme Court in 1941-3.
Rubin, who has worked at the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism, Carnegie Institution in Washington, DC, since 1965, is in large part responsible for the discovery of flat rotation curves of galaxies, which are the best evidence for the existence of "dark matter" in the universe. A member of the National Academy of Sciences since 1972, she received an honorary doctor of science degree.
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