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Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare

Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters



A whole catalogue of legislation aimed at assisting the aged, the poor, the blind, the disabled and undereducated are now taken for granted in America. Wilbur. J. Cohen has played a singular role over the past 35 years in the research, writing, shaping and passing of much of this legislation designed to help Americans who needed help. After graduating with a degree in economics from the University of Wisconsin in 1930, he came to Washington, D.C. in 1934 as research assistant to the executive director of President Roosevelt's Cabinet Committee on Economic Security which drafted the original Social Security Act. Thus began a remarkable career of service directed toward human well-being. Continuing in government service, Dr. Cohen helped effect the extension of Social Security benefits to more and more Americans, the establishment of federal financial of new hospitals and the development of plans that led to expanded voluntary health insurance programs. Always in close contact with the academic world, he joined the faculty of the University of Michigan in 1956 as Professor of Public Administration in 1956 and taught there until returning to government in President Kennedy's Administration. His vigorous and highly successful work in the Department led to his being named Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare by President Johnson in 1968. The depth of his concern for his fellow man, his abundant skills in administrative leadership and the cumulative wisdom of his many years in government will now belong to the State and the nation in a new way as Dr. Cohen rejoins the faculty of the University of Michigan as Professor of Education and Dean of the School of Education. Reverend President it is my privilege to present Wilbur J. Cohen for the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Humane Letters. Commencement, University of Detroit, May 3, 1969.

University of Detroit

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