CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Harvard University awarded honorary degrees Thursday to former Secretary of State Cyrus Vance and opera star Leontyne Price and sent 4,639 graduates into the world at its 330th commencement exercises.
Some 18,000 parents and guests watched undergraduates file through verdant, sun-drenched Harvard Yard to receive their degrees in the last of two days of ceremonies highlighting celebrations continuing through graduation week.
'It would never dare rain on a Harvard commencement,' said one alumni usher as overnight rain clouds gave way to sunny skies and humid temperatures for the 950 senior men and 504 women leaving the nation's oldest university.
The university also awarded 3,185 post-graduate degrees in other areas of the school at various times during the day.
Thomas J. Watson, former U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union and former president of IBM Corp., issued a plea in an the commencement address to undergraduates for immediate resumption of nuclear arms talks.
'By overwhelming odds, the result of any use of nuclear weapons would not be a victory,' he said. 'It would be all-out war and total destruction.'
'Our imperative is to change our course -- to take the only road which offers a viable hope for the future: not a road to unilateral action of any kind, but a road toward the joint continuation of the SALT process; a road to a long series of mutually verifiable treaties,' he said.
The graduates, in traditional black caps and gowns trimmed with bright reds, oranges and blues denoting various colleges within the university, received their degrees as other students quietly demonstrated nearby.
The protesters handed out leaflets denouncing the Harvard-Radcliffe Faculty Council's rejection of a measure to ban discrimination on the basis of sexual preference.
David O. Levine of Middletown, N.Y., one of three student speakers at the ceremonies, decried the nation's lack of interest in scholarship.
'We're a wasted resource because American society does not invest much stock in education and scholarship,' said Levine. 'What will we do when we awake to realize the importance of education and find that a generation of scholars and teachers has been lost.'
Vance, who delivered last year's commencement address, received an honorary doctor of laws degree.
Miss Price, who rose to fame in the 1950s starring in George Gershwin's 'Porgy and Bess' and has since won 20 Grammy awards for her records, received an honorary doctor of arts.
Other honorary degree recipients included:
--Mathematician Oscar Zariski, doctor of science. The Russian-born Zariski is a leading authority in the field of algebraic geometry.
--Historian John Hope Franklin, doctor of laws. Franklin, a Harvard graduate, is the author of many authoritative histories on slavery, racial equality and the Civil War era.
--Author Jorge Luis Borges, doctor of letters. Borges, an Argentinian poet, critic and teacher, is generally regarded as the greatest living Spanish writer.
--Businessman Reginald Harold Jones, doctor of laws. A native of England, Jones retired as General Electric's chief executive officer in April. He is credited with restoring a failing General Electric to financial health.
--Jurist Benjamin Kaplan, doctor of laws. Kaplan, a justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court who retired in April, served briefly as a lawyer during the Nuremburg war crimes trials at the end of World War II.
--Physicist Kenneth Geddes Wilson, doctor of science. Wilson, a professor of physics at Cornell, was named for his work in theoretical physics.
--Author Marguerite Yourcenar, doctor of arts. Ms. Yourcenar, author of 'Memoirs of Hadrian,' is considered by many the foremost French stylist of the day. Born in Belgium, she now lives in Maine.
--Photographer Ansel Adams, doctor of arts.