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Honorary Degree Recipients

Drexel University honorary degrees are serve to honor individuals whose significant community service, scholarly or artistic achievements are worthy of Drexel University's highest honor. The awarding of honorary degrees is intended to encourage a standard of excellence which is exemplary to students and to society.

Drexel University's 2014 Honorary Degree Recipients

Ann D. Baiada

Champion of the Nursing Program

Ann Baiada is committed to clinical excellence as director of BAYADA Home Health Care, which her husband J. Mark Baiada founded in 1975. Ms. Baiada has spearheaded training and mentoring programs at BAYADA including Project White Cap for new nurses and Project White Shoes, an annual program for clinical leaders.

Ms. Baiada is known for her charity work with philanthropic and Catholic organizations, and for her promotion of nursing and health care. In 2010, her image was used in the iconic mural “The Evolving Face of Nursing,” at the intersection of Broad and Vine streets in Philadelphia.

Ms. Baiada holds a registered nurse degree from Abington Memorial Hospital School of Nursing and a certification in rehabilitation nursing from the Association of Rehabilitation Nurses. She also received an honorary doctor of laws degree from Neumann University.

J. Mark Baiada

Advocate for Home Health Care Patients

Mark Baiada has helped clients have a safe home life with comfort, independence and dignity since he founded BAYADA Home Health Care in 1975. Four decades later, BAYADA is recognized as a national leader in improving patient outcomes and advancing health care.

Mr. Baiada leads the way in providing clinical simulation training to home health care professionals. He co-sponsors the Drexel University BAYADA Award for Technological Innovation in Nursing Education and Practice to reward nurses who innovatively use technology.

For more than 30 years, Mr. Baiada has sponsored the BAYADA Regatta competitive rowing event for athletes with disabilities. He and his wife Ann have supported many other charity organizations and relief efforts.

Mr. Baiada holds a master’s degree from Rutgers Graduate School of Business and a bachelor’s degree from Rutgers College. He also received an honorary doctor of laws degree from Neumann University,

For his leadership in improving home health care and his philanthropy, Drexel University proudly bestows upon Mark Baiada the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.

Irvin J. Borowsky

Publisher and Philanthropist

Irvin J. Borowsky is the distinguished founder and chairman of the National Liberty Museum and the American Interfaith Institute, two organizations that foster scholarly study, research and educational initiatives within a framework of exhibitions, symposia, teaching programs and publishing.

For more than two decades, Mr. Borowsky has been at the cutting edge of interfaith dialogue and biblical research, and a leader in cross-cultural understanding. He has edited and published 16 books relating to these issues.

As founding chairman of North American Publishing Company, Mr. Borowsky published 24 national magazines. He is respected and honored for his innovations and core impact on the publishing industry.

His philanthropic outreach is broad based and reflects his interest in art, education and social services. He has been honored for his humanitarian activities, leadership and guidance by organizations throughout the world.

In recognition of his dedication to education and understanding, Drexel University is proud to confer upon Irvin J. Borowsky the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.

Geoffrey Canada

Social Activist and Educator

Geoffrey Canada is an antipoverty and antiviolence advocate and a visionary in urban education. His life story has taken him from a poor neighborhood in the Bronx to Harvard University and then back again to the streets of New York to help children find similar success. His pioneering work has had an impact stretching beyond the boundaries of Harlem, where he kick started his career-long mission to wipe out poverty.

Mr. Canada is the president and chief executive officer of the Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ), an education center that supports more than 12,000 low-income and at-risk children in central Harlem, with a goal to increase their high school and college graduation rates.

In 2009, HCZ became a national model when President Obama announced plans to replicate the program in 21 cities across the country as part of the Promise Neighborhoods Initiative.

Mr. Canada has also been the subject of many profiles in the media, including the 2010 documentary film on the state of American public education “Waiting for Superman.” He was named to Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2011, and in March 2014 he was named one of Fortune’s 50 greatest leaders in the world.

Experiences with violence and crime from his childhood inspired two books: “Fist Stick Knife Gun: A Personal History of Violence in America” and “Reaching Up for Manhood: Transforming the Lives of Boys in America.”

The recipient of many awards, including the first Heinz Award in 1994, Mr. Canada extends his anti-violence message through the Chang Moo Kwan Martial Arts School, which he founded in 1983. And thanks to an appointment to the New York Education Reform Commission by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, he continues to lend his expertise to American education reform.

In recognition of his dedication to education that focuses on improving lives, Drexel University is proud to confer upon Geoffrey Canada the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.

Dana L. Dornsife ’83

Transformative Philanthropist

Dana Dornsife is a West Coast philanthropist with worldwide vision, but she has not forgotten her East Coast and Drexel roots.

Ms. Dornsife and her husband David have empowered Drexel’s neighborhood initiatives via the Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships, which fosters collaboration with community members to build strong service programs. The Dornsifes are also benefactors of Drexel’s Dornsife Office for Experiential Learning.

Ms. Dornsife is president and founder of Lazarex Cancer Foundation, which helps cancer patients navigate clinical trial options and provides financial support for trial participation. She is a board member of the University of Southern California Civic Engagement initiative and the USC Brain and Creativity Institute within the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, and serves on the governing board of the Yosemite Conservancy. In 1991 she cofounded Axiom Design, a lighting design and home automation consulting firm.

For her commitment to civic engagement at Drexel, the University proudly presents to Dana Dornsife the degree of Doctor of Business Administration, honoris causa.

David H. Dornsife

Supporter of Education and World Health

David Dornsife is a business leader whose philanthropic endeavors have impacted educational, environmental and health organizations around the world, including Drexel.

As chairman of the Herrick Corporation, Mr. Dornsife heads an industry-leading steel fabrication and installation company. He is a trustee of the University of Southern California, and chairman of the USC Brain and Creativity Institute in the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. He is vice president of the HEDCO Foundation, whose mission is health and educational improvement, and a council member for the Yosemite Conservancy. He and his wife Dana, a Drexel alumna, work with ECHO Foundation and World Vision on agricultural, water and sanitation projects in Africa.

Mr. and Mrs. Dornsife are the visionaries and benefactors behind Drexel’s Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships, connecting the University and its neighbors in fruitful collaboration, and have also supported the Dornsife Office for Experiential Learning.

In honor of his focus on improving lives worldwide, Drexel University proudly bestows upon David Dornsife the degree of Doctor of Business Administration, honoris causa.

Amit Goffer ’91

Inventor of Life-Enhancing Mobility Devices

Amit Goffer, PhD, was inspired by his own experience as a quadriplegic to invent a system that enables people with lower limb paralysis, such as paraplegics, to walk again. A decade of research and development culminated in ReWalk, which uses powered leg attachments and a backpack battery to allow people with lower limb disabilities to stand, walk and climb stairs. Last year, Time magazine named the ReWalk one of the world’s Top 25 inventions.

The company Dr. Goffer founded in 2001, Argo Medical Technologies, has grown from a startup based in Israel to an international business with headquarters in the United States, Germany and Israel. Dr. Goffer has served as CEO, chief technology officer and president.

Currently, the company is working with rehabilitation centers to test and improve the personal model designed for everyday use. The ReWalk Personal became available in Europe in 2012 and is awaiting clearance in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration.

For his remarkable technological achievements and the credit he reflects on his alma mater, Drexel University is proud to confer on Amit Goffer the degree of Doctor of Engineering, honoris causa.

Leah H. Jamieson

Innovative Engineering Educator and Professional Leader

Leah Jamieson, PhD, has made outstanding contributions to the education of tomorrow’s engineers. She is the John A. Edwardson Dean of the College of Engineering at Purdue University, where she is also a distinguished professor of electrical and computer engineering. But her accomplishments resonate strongly here at Drexel through her role as one of the creators of the EPICS program, which makes it possible for engineering students at universities including Drexel to earn academic credit while solving technology-based problems for nonprofits in their local communities.

Dr. Jamieson co-founded and directed EPICS, which stands for Engineering Projects in Community Service, in 1995 at Purdue with two colleagues. The program is now operating at more than 20 universities and in 17 countries. At Drexel, students are currently involved in several EPICS programs including mapping the Delaware River and monitoring air and river water quality.

Dr. Jamieson has collected many accolades for her innovations in learning and for integrating community service into engineering education. She and her fellow founders of the EPICS program were awarded the National Academy of Engineering’s Gordon Prize in 2005. She is also a recipient of the 1997 American Society of Engineering Education Chester F. Carlson Award for Innovation in Engineering Education and the 2000 IEEE Education Society’s Harriet B. Rigas Outstanding Woman Engineering Educator Award. She is an elected member of the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Within her field, Dr. Jamieson stands out as a leader. She is president of the IEEE Foundation board and chairs the board of trustees for the Anita Borg Institute. She is a fellow of the IEEE, and served as its president and CEO in 2007.

Her research has focused on speech analysis and recognition; the design and analysis of parallel processing algorithms; and the application of parallel processing to digital speech, image and signal processing. She has authored more than 175 journal papers, conference papers and book chapters.

Dr. Jamieson holds an undergraduate degree in mathematics from MIT and a PhD in electrical engineering and computer science from Princeton University. She joined the faculty at Purdue in 1976.

For her contributions to the future of the profession and its students, Drexel is proud to present Leah Jamieson with the degree of Doctor of Engineering, honoris causa.

George F. Krall Jr. ’58

Businessman, Entrepreneur and Drexel Leader

George Krall is a singularly successful Drexel graduate who has put his insight and his philanthropy in service of the University and had a transformational impact on generations of students.

Mr. Krall was president and CEO of the Mebane Packaging Group before selling it to a Fortune 500 corporation in 2000. Founder of Krall Management, he is a venture capitalist, executive consultant and private investor.

He was a Drexel trustee for 12 years and became an emeritus trustee in 2010. He serves on the Board of Visitors and the LeBow College Dean’s Advisory Committee and previously served on the Alumni Board of Governors. He received Drexel’s Golden Dragon and A.J. Drexel Paul awards and has been inducted into The Drexel 100 and the College of Engineering Circle of Distinction. He and his late wife were the benefactors of LeBow College’s George and Lois Krall Center for Executive Education.

In recognition of his lifelong service to his alma mater, Drexel University proudly confers upon George Krall the degree of Doctor of Business Administration, honoris causa.

Robert S. Langer

Prominent Engineer, Inventor and Entrepreneur

Robert Langer, ScD, is a renowned engineer, biotechnologist and entrepreneur. His research is widely celebrated for advancing medicine—cancer therapies in particular—through the application of materials science and chemical engineering. At MIT, he runs one of the world’s largest biomedical engineering labs and holds the position of Institute Professor—one of only 11 professors so honored with MIT’s highest title.

During his prodigious career, Dr. Langer has written more than 1,250 articles and secured more than 1,050 patents worldwide. His inventions have been licensed or sublicensed to more than 250 companies. He is regarded as the most cited engineer in history.

Dr. Langer’s impressive list of public and professional honors includes more than 220 major awards and numerous honorary doctorates. Some highlights include the United States National Medal of Science; the Charles Stark Draper Prize, considered the Nobel Prize of the engineering field; the Millennium Prize, the world’s largest technology prize; and the Priestley Medal, the highest award of the American Chemical Society.

In 2001, Time magazine and CNN named Dr. Langer one of the 100 most important people in America and one of the 18 top people in science or medicine in America. The following year, Forbes Magazine named him one of the 15 innovators worldwide who will reinvent our future. Parade Magazine in 2004 selected him as one of six “heroes whose research may save your life.”

He holds a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and a doctor of science degree from MIT, both in chemical engineering.

Drexel University is proud to recognize Robert Langer’s innovations in the fields of medicine, materials science and engineering with the degree of Doctor of Engineering, honoris causa.

Andrea Mitchel

An Honest Voice in World News

Andrea Mitchell helps the world make sense of foreign policy, intelligence and national security issues as NBC News chief foreign affairs correspondent. An Emmy Award-winning journalist, she anchors her own daily program, “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” to cover political and foreign policy news on MSNBC.

A correspondent for NBC News since 1978, Ms. Mitchell has reported from locations around the world including North Korea, Afghanistan, the Middle East, Bosnia, Kosovo, Pakistan, Haiti and Iran, where she interviewed President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2010. She covered the late 1970s energy crisis as NBC’s chief congressional correspondent and energy correspondent.

Ms. Mitchell first covered the White House during the Reagan presidency, and was named NBC’s chief White House correspondent during President Clinton’s first term. She was lead correspondent for the 2012 presidential campaign.

Ms. Mitchell authored “Talking Back: …To Presidents, Dictators, and Assorted Scoundrels,” a memoir about her experiences covering the events and leaders in five presidencies, as well as Congress and foreign policy.

She was honored with the prestigious Goldsmith Career Award for Excellence in Journalism from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Ms. Mitchell also received the National Press Foundation 2010 Award for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism and the Radio-Television News Directors’ Foundation Zeidenberg Award for protecting the First Amendment.

Ms. Mitchell is among the 65 members of The Gridiron Club, the oldest and one of the most prestigious journalistic organizations in Washington. She is a trustee of the University of Pennsylvania, as well as a board member of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and America’s Promise Alliance.

Ms. Mitchell received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature from the University of Pennsylvania in 1967. She is married to former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan and resides in Washington.

In recognition of her efforts to report the news with insight and attention to detail, Drexel University is proud to confer upon Andrea Mitchell the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.

I. Wistar Morris III

Investor in the Institutions of Greater Philadelphia

Wistar Morris has a half century’s expertise in the financial services industry, which laid the groundwork for his extraordinary philanthropic leadership in the fields of science, medicine and technology.

After holding senior investing positions at several firms, Mr. Morris founded the Morris Investment Management Company in 1986 and merged it with Pennsylvania Trust Company in 1997, where he is now a Senior Investment Consultant. He is the author of “Adventures in Investing,” which recounts his wide-ranging interests over his career.

Mr. Morris is a trustee of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, and with his wife Martha chaired its Bicentennial Celebration and supported research in malacology and molecular systematics. He is a member of Drexel’s Board of Visitors, and has provided board service to more than 20 organizations and companies. He and Ms. Morris founded the Cotswold Foundation to support higher education, medical research, libraries and museums. He is a graduate of Cornell University and Harvard Business School.

For his distinguished career and his philanthropy, Drexel University recognizes Wistar Morris with the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.

Martha Hamilton Morris ’72

An Advocate for Philadelphia’s Cultural Institutions

Martha Morris has made a lasting contribution to Greater Philadelphia through the region’s philanthropic community, and she and her husband Wistar have supported the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University for 20 years and chaired the Academy’s Bicentennial Celebration.

A research librarian by training, Ms. Morris worked at the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s library. She joined the museum’s board in 1985, was president of the museum’s Women’s Committee and chaired the Philadelphia Craft Show. She endowed the museum’s archivist position and a scholar’s study named for the Morris family.

Ms. Morris was a founding member of Friends of Independence National Historic Park. She has served on boards for the Ludington Library, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, the Free Library of Philadelphia Foundation and the Library Company of Philadelphia and chaired the Library Advisory Board at her alma mater, Duke University, from which she graduated Phi Beta Kappa. She also holds a master’s degree from the University of Virginia in addition to her MSLS degree from Drexel.

For her tireless service to the region’s cultural life, Drexel University proudly bestows upon Martha Morris the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.

James E. Nevels

Financial and Investment Expert, Education Advocate

James E. Nevels is chairman of The Swarthmore Group, an investment advisory firm which he founded in 1991, as well as chairman of The Hershey Company board of directors. He has more than 25 years’ experience in the securities and investment industry.

In December 2001, the governor of Pennsylvania appointed Mr. Nevels as chairman of the Philadelphia School Reform Commission to oversee the turnaround of the financially distressed Philadelphia School District, then the ninth-largest school system in the United States. Mr. Nevels served as chairman until September 2007.

Mr. Nevels was appointed by President Bush to the advisory committee to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation and served a three-year term, 2004-2007. He served as chairman from 2005-2007. Mr. Nevels also served as a member of the boards of Tasty Baking Company, the Gettysburg Foundation, Bucknell University, Berea College, St. Joseph’s University, and Association of Governing Boards of Colleges and Universities, and the board of visitors for Temple University-Fox School of Business and Management, the board of overseers of the University of Pennsylvania Law School and the advisory board of the Baiada Center in Drexel’s LeBow College of Business.

In addition to The Hershey Company board of directors, Mr. Nevels is currently a member of the board of Hershey Trust Company and Milton Hershey School, chair and member of the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, corporate member of the Orange Bowl Committee, member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame board of trustees and member of the board of directors of the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation. In addition, he serves as member of council and chair of the nominations committee of The Pennsylvania Society.

He is an honors (cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa) graduate of Bucknell University, and holds an AB degree in political science and philosophy, a MBA degree from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a JD degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

In recognition of his dedication to educating future generations of leaders, Drexel University is proud to confer upon James Nevels the degree of Doctor of Business Administration, honoris causa.

Pedro A. Ramos

Attorney, Adviser and Civic Leade

Pedro A. Ramos is an attorney, adviser and civic leader well known throughout Greater Philadelphia and in a variety of national and international associations. He is a partner at the law firm of Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP, and former chair of Philadelphia’s School Reform Commission. He also served as the city solicitor and then managing director of the City of Philadelphia.

At Schnader, Mr. Ramos is co-chair of the firm’s Higher Education Practice, a member of its business services department and a member of its diversity committee. He represents business, nonprofit and government executives and organizations and focuses on compliance, transactions, risk management and investigations.

Mr. Ramos is also involved civically and professionally on the boards of Project H.O.M.E., the Independence Foundation, the Philadelphia Zoo, Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation, Pyxera Global and the Eisenhower Fellowships.

In recognition of his dedication to civic life in Philadelphia, Drexel University proudly bestows upon Pedro A. Ramos the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.

Jeffrey D. Sachs

Global Visionary for Social and Economic Development

Jeffrey D. Sachs, PhD, is considered the world’s leading expert on economic development and the fight against poverty. He is director of The Earth Institute, Quetelet Professor of Sustainable Development and professor of health policy and management at Columbia University. He also holds positions as special advisor to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the Millennium Development Goals and director of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network. Through his work on ending poverty, promoting economic growth, fighting hunger and disease and encouraging sustainable environmental practices, Dr. Sachs has visited more than 125 countries with more than 90 percent of the world’s population. He is co-founder and chief strategist of Millennium Promise Alliance and director of the Millennium Villages Project, which is working in more than a dozen African countries to alleviate extreme poverty and achieve the Millenium Developmental Goals.

Dr. Sachs served as an adviser to dozens of heads of state, governments and international organizations in the Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. In 1989 he advised Poland’s anti-communist Solidarity movement and the first post-communist government on the transition from central planning to a market democracy.

Dr. Sachs has received more than 20 honorary degrees and many international awards and honors. He holds membership in the Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Harvard Society of Fellows and the Fellows of the World Econometric Society. He has authored or co-authored hundreds of scholarly articles and several books, including three bestsellers and a macroeconomics textbook. His syndicated newspaper column appears in more than 80 countries, and he frequently contributes to major publications like Financial Times of London, International Herald Tribune, Scientific American and Time magazine.

Dr. Sachs received his BA, summa cum laude, from Harvard College in 1976, and his MA and PhD in economics from Harvard University in 1978 and 1980 respectively.

In recognition of his contributions to improve the lives of people in nations undergoing economic development, Drexel University is proud to present to Jeffrey Sachs the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.

Masahiro Shima

Pioneer in Knit Manufacturing Technology

Masahiro Shima has been at the forefront of computerized manufacturing as president and CEO of SHIMA SEIKI Manufacturing, which he founded in 1962 to develop the world’s first fully automated glove-knitting machine.

SHIMA SEIKI’s revolutionary knitting machines produce entire garments in one piece without the need for sewing labor. In 2012, the company donated more than $1 million in workstations, three state-of-the-art WholeGarment knitting machines and research and development support to promote multidisciplinary research and wearable technology at Drexel’s Shima Seiki Haute Technology Laboratory.

Dr. Shima has received numerous technological, fashion, business and industry awards internationally and in his home country of Japan. He was inducted into the American Textile Hall of Fame in 2012 and was named Commander of the Order of the Star of Italian Solidarity in 2010 for advancing the Italian fashion industry.

In recognition of his role in revolutionizing knitting and promoting wearable technology, Drexel University is proud to confer upon Masahiro Shima the degree of Doctor of Business Administration, honoris causa.

Robert A.M. Stern

Outstanding Builder, Teacher and Writer

Robert Stern is known for several things including his signature yellow socks, his dedication to preserving a sense of history and place within architectural design and his reinvigoration of the Yale School of Architecture, where he has served as dean since 1998 while continuing to lead one of New York’s most successful and eclectic design firms, Robert A.M. Stern Architects.

Stern built his 45-year career upon a portfolio of handsome buildings that share an allegiance to the traditional lines of the past, while incorporating the best of modern design.

His 300-person firm has an international reputation for quality residential, commercial and institutional buildings, including two projects at Drexel University: Gerri C. LeBow Hall, the new home of the LeBow College of Business; and the mixed-use student residential development Chestnut Square. His firm also designed Philadelphia’s tallest building—Comcast’s glass-encased, 57-story skyscraper—as well as the luxurious Ten Rittenhouse condominiums. Important projects elsewhere include the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, Texas, and two new residential colleges at Yale.

As dean of the Yale School of Architecture, where he earned his master of architecture degree in 1965, Mr. Stern’s open-minded embrace of diverse intellectual strains has won over dissenters who initially opposed his appointment. He is credited with restoring vibrancy and relevance to the school’s curriculum, prompting one past critic, a former editor of Architecture magazine, to call him “maybe the best school of architecture dean in the United States.

Mr. Stern was previously professor of architecture and director of the Historic Preservation Program at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation at Columbia University. He served as the first director of Columbia’s Temple Hoyne Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture from 1984 to 1988.

His writing credits include the five-volume New York series, which documents New York architecture from the Civil War to the millennium, and most recently “Paradise Planned: The Garden Suburb and the Modern City.”

Brooklyn-born, Stern divides his time between residences in Manhattan and New Haven, Conn. He is divorced with one son, Nicholas.

In recognition of his achievements in architecture and education, Drexel University is proud to confer upon Robert Stern the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.

Jeanne Bartholomew (Bonnie) Van Alen

Environmental Conservationist

Just 20 miles west of Philadelphia, in the heart of Chester County, there is an oasis of open space. Bonnie Van Alen, co-founder and president of the Willistown Conservation Trust, has made a career out of protecting this land and all that inhabits it.

In 1996, together with partner Alice Hausmann, Ms. Van Alen co-founded the Willistown Conservation Trust as a nonprofit land trust working to protect the rural beauty of the 28,000 acres surrounding Willistown, Pa. The trust is dedicated to permanently protecting this countryside from development and inspiring in people a lifelong love of the land and the natural world. The trust’s programs and services focus on land protection, bird conservation, habitat restoration, community farm and community outreach.

The organization also established an organic, sustainable farm on one of the trust’s preserves and has a 120-person-strong community-supported agriculture organization.

In recognition of her dedication to preserving natural places among our towns and cities, Drexel University is proud to confer upon Bonnie Van Alen the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.

Pramod K. Varshney

Pioneering Scientist and Author

Pramod K. Varshney, PhD, is a distinguished professor of electrical engineering and computer science and director of the Center for Advanced Systems and Engineering at Syracuse University. He is best known for his sustained, seminal work on the development of distributed detection theory and data fusion methods that provided the impetus for the proliferation of sensor networks and pervasive sensing found in our daily lives. His work is the foundation for many sensor network systems deployed for national defense and security. He has also made outstanding contributions in the areas of biomedical imaging and remote sensing.

Dr. Varshney has been extremely prolific and has written many influential papers that defined the field of data fusion. His 1997 book “Distributed Detection and Data Fusion” was the first on the topic and has been cited extensively. His methods provided inference approaches under the challenges of distributed sensing and the bandwidth constraints for communication of sensor information.

As one example of his achievements, in 2008 and 2009, he applied his research to fault detection in large dynamic multisensor systems in collaboration with NASA. The result was a vehicle health monitoring approach that will be important for the safety of future air and space vehicles. His groundbreaking work on data fusion also has major implications for the rapidly growing field of big data.

In recognition of his trailblazing research, Drexel is pleased to bestow upon Pramod K. Varshney the degree of Doctor of Engineering, honoris causa.


Robert G. Burris

Economist and Friend of Drexel Sacramento

Robert G. Burris is an urban economist with expertise in applied economics, economic development and real estate market analysis. His professional experience includes real estate and urban land use research, private economic consulting and two years as a research director of a commercial real estate brokerage.

Mr. Burris is senior vice president at the Sacramento Area Commerce and Trade Organization (SACTO). His responsibilities include supporting the president and CEO in all aspects of economic development, and working with firms that are interested in locating in the region. He also chairs the board of advisors of Drexel University Sacramento.

At the California State University Real Estate and Land Use Institute, Mr. Burris’s specialties included economic impact, demographics and real estate market analysis. Among his clients were the PlacerCounty Economic Development Agency, SACTO, the Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce and the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency.

Mr. Burris also worked with Economic & Planning Systems as an economic consultant. He contributed his expertise to market studies, fiscal impact studies and public finance strategies and provided economic analysis to be used in civil litigation.

Mr. Burris served as client services manager and research director for Grubb & Ellis Company in Sacramento, providing real estate and economic data and analysis to major clients in the region, as well as coordinating marketing functions.

He graduated from University of California, Santa Barbara in 1990 and earned his MBA from the California State University at Sacramento in 1995.

In honor of his thought leadership in economics in the Sacramento region, and his extensive service to Drexel University Sacramento, Drexel proudly confers upon Robert G. Burris the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.

John Kehriotis

Real Estate Expert and Civic Leader

John Kehriotis is the president and founder of JMK Investments, Inc. With more than 37 years of real estate experience, he has been involved in the brokerage of more than $2 billion in real estate sale and lease transactions, spanning the residential, office, apartment, retail and R&D sectors.

Mr. Kehriotis currently owns, operates or manages more than 2,200 apartment units in the Bay Area and Sacramento. He also has a highly successful track record in real estate development, most notably the Embassy Suites Sacramento Riverfront Promenade.

Along with numerous professional affiliations, Mr. Kehriotis is involved with more than a dozen charities, including the YMCA, Cancer Society and Boy and Girl Scouts of America. In addition, as an avid lifelong sports fan, he was able to turn a dream into reality — he is a minority owner of the Sacramento Kings of the National Basketball Association.

With his extensive and diverse business background, Mr. Kehriotis brings unique insight and perspective to all of his business dealings. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business from San Jose State University in 1977.

For his role in helping Californians find homes and business locations, and his selfless civic and charitable contributions, Drexel is proud to confer upon John Kehriotis the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.


Catherine “Deeda” Blair, Doctor of Science

Secretary and Director, Foundation for the National Institutes of Health
Former Vice President and Director Emeritus, Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation

Deeda Blair has been a singularly successful advocate for biomedical research and global public health for more than 50 years. Her unique approach goes beyond philanthropy: She works closely with the scientists to understand the experimental challenges and solutions.

A complete list of the organizations Mrs. Blair has served would take up a page of its own: The Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation, the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, the Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard Medical School and Harvard AIDS Initiative, the Scripps Research Institute and the American Cancer Society represent just a portion.

But a truer measure of her impact on the advancement of health care might be the breadth of fields in which she has been considered a leader: from cancer research to AIDS research to global vaccinations and more.

Mrs. Blair’s career in health advocacy was rooted in her relationship with her dear friend and mentor, the activist and philanthropist Mary Lasker. Mrs. Blair became a vice president and director of the Lasker Foundation in 1965. Together, the two trailblazers launched one of the most successful public health outreach campaigns in history: the National Campaign Against High Blood Pressure.

Mrs. Blair worked at the Lasker Foundation for 35 years. She has been secretary and a director of the Foundation of the National Institutes of Health since its inception, working to facilitate groundbreaking research in the United States and worldwide.

Mrs. Blair also became a sought-after adviser to pharmaceutical development and investment companies including Novartis and Health Care Ventures.

In recognition of her tireless dedication to funding and inspiring medical research, the Drexel University College of Medicine is proud to confer upon Catherine Blair the degree of Doctor of Science, honoris causa.

Arthur H. Rubenstein, MBBCh

Professor of Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine
Former Dean, Perelman School of Medicine, and Executive Vice President for the Health System, University of Pennsylvania

Dr. Arthur H. Rubenstein is one of the nation’s most honored physicians, renowned for his clinical expertise, groundbreaking research and inspired teaching. He is an internationally prominent endocrinologist and diabetes researcher, as well as a leader among administrators in academic medicine.

Dr. Rubenstein is a professor in the Department of Medicine at the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. He previously was dean of the medical school and the university’s executive vice president for the health system from 2001 until 2011. Together, those entities make up Penn Medicine, a $3.6 billion enterprise dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research and excellence in patient care.

Before joining Penn, Dr. Rubenstein served as dean of Mount Sinai School of Medicine and Gustave L. Levy Distinguished Professor. Earlier, he was the Lowell T. Coggeshall Distinguished Service Professor of Medical Sciences and chairman of the Department of Medicine at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine.

Dr. Rubenstein is the author of more than 350 publications and the recipient of many awards including the highest honor of the Association of American Physicians, the George M. Kober Medal; and the highest honor from the Association of Professors of Medicine, the Robert H. Williams Distinguished Chair of Medicine Award. He also received the John Phillips Memorial Award from the American College of Physicians, the Banting Medal from the American Diabetes Association and the David Rumbough Scientific Award from the Juvenile Diabetes Association. In 2009, he was awarded the prestigious Abraham Flexner Award for Distinguished Service to Medical Education from the Association of American Medical Colleges. He was elected to membership in the Institute of Medicine in 1987.

In honor of his leadership and innovation over a distinguished career in academic medicine, the Drexel University College of Medicine is proud to confer upon Dr. Arthur H. Rubenstein the degree of Doctor of Science, honoris causa.