This diary comes a little late to the party, but I don't think anyone else has covered this wrinkle to the entire Komen debacle....Duke University announced its honorary degree recipients just before the Pink Storm broke, and Nancy Brinker was among the announced honorees for 2012, or should I say "Ambassador" Brinker (as she was titled):
Brinker in 1982 founded Susan G. Komen for the Cure after promising her dying sister, Susan G. Komen, that she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer. Komen for the Cure has invested almost $2 billion to research, community health, advocacy and global programs that serve hundreds of thousands of women in more than 50 countries.
Brinker, herself a breast cancer survivor, was U.S. Ambassador to Hungary from 2001 to 2003 and U.S. Chief of Protocol from 2007 to the end of the George W. Bush administration. In 2009, President Barack Obama named Brinker a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, for her work to end breast cancer.
She serves as the World Health Organization's Goodwill Ambassador for Cancer Control and has written four books, including the New York Times best-seller "Promise Me," about Komen's growth from a promise made to her sister to the global organization of today.
I confess that I did not know that President Obama had given her the Medal of Freedom....ouch. But there's more beneath the tangerine squiggle.....
The instructions for nominations suggest that successful ones "demonstrate the relationship between the nominee and the University and its endeavors", and recent past recipients have included some really wonderful human beings: Rita Dove, Temple Grandin, Muhammad Yunus, Robert Redford, Wendell Berry...
Of course Duke has a huge medical establishment and aside from the seemingly self-evident good done by Komen, several Duke researchers have been funded by Komen. And also of course, nominations are made about a year in advance, well before the current turn of events.
Locally the big news at first was that a former death row inmate was also among the honorees: none other than Darryl Hunt, which caused some raised eyebrows in these parts. (A sample of comments at the end of the story here.) But now this - although there hasn't been any local uproar about the Duke honor for Brinker. (There has, however, been a big bump in support for the local PP affiliate.)
An interesting side controversy that immediately presented itself even before the Planned Parenthood debacle: another honoree this year is Emmy Lou Harris, who in addition to her music (got her start at University of N. Carolina, Greensboro!) has taken a stand against landmines and - wait for it - is a big PETA supporter. And PETA has a big problem with Komen about the use of animals in cancer research, something Duke was apparently unaware of when it decided to put both women on the same stage.
So, this is kind of an interesting extra bit of karmic piling-on.
PS: I'm happy to report that,as Mollie Williams did, the local communications manager for the Komen affiliate in the Triangle region of NC (that's Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill) quit in protest after Komen pulled its Planned Parenthood funding.