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Drexel Announces 2014 Honorary Degree Recipients

May 22, 2014

Drexel seal, commencement stage

More than 5,000 students will graduate from Drexel University at its 127th Commencement on June 13 and 14 in five separate ceremonies. The ceremonies will be held at Drexel’s John A. Daskalakis Athletic Center (33rd and Market Streets) and will be webcast live at

Drexel will award 20 honorary degrees to prominent individuals distinguished in their fields including NBC News’ chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell, legendary architect Robert A.M. Stern and MIT professor Robert Langer—the most cited engineer in history. The full list of recipients follows (the asterisk indicates a speaker):

Friday, June 13

Ceremony for College of Arts and Sciences, College of Information Science and Technology, School of Education and Pennoni Honors College (10 a.m.):

Irvin Borowsky: An innovator and leader in the publishing industry, a patron of the arts and a champion of interfaith and cross-cultural understanding, Borowsky is the founder of the National Liberty Museum, the American Interfaith Institute and the North American Publishing Company. After decades of working in the publishing industry, Borowsky turned his attention to his life-long passion of building bridges of understanding between people of different faiths, and he opened the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia. The Museum promotes understanding and respect among people of all backgrounds and nationalities, and includes art and exhibits that bring this message to life. Borowsky’s philanthropic outreach reflects his interest in art, education and social services.

*Geoffrey Canada: An American social activist and educator, Canada is president and CEO of the Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ) in Harlem, New York, an organization which aims to increase high school and college graduation rates among students in Harlem. Drawing upon the experiences from his childhood and at the HCZ, he has written 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. Governor Andrew Cuomo appointed him to the New York Education Reform Commission.

Martha Morris (’72): A trustee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and chair of the Library Committee, with an archivist position named after her, Morris has also served on the Duke Library Advisory Board and as a director of the Executive Service Corps of the Delaware Valley. Morris is a trustee of the Cotswold Foundation, which she co-founded with her husband. She earned a master’s degree from the Drexel University’s School of Library Science, which is now the College of Computing and Informatics.

Wistar Morris: A senior investment consultant at Pennsylvania Trust, Morris has over 40 years of expertise in the financial services industry, consulting and managing portfolios with a value-oriented approach for both institutions and individuals. He founded and served as chairman and president of Morris Investment Management Company, which he sold to Pennsylvania Trust. He has also been a general partner in the Odyssey Value Fund. Since 2005, he serves as a trustee at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University. At Drexel, Morris is a member of the University’s Board of Visitors. He is also a trustee of the Cotswold Foundation, which he founded with his wife Martha Morris.

Pedro Ramos: is a well-known and respected attorney, advisor and civic leader in the Greater Philadelphia region. As a partner at the law firm of Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP, he focuses on compliance, transactions, risk management and investigations. He is co-chair of Schnader’s higher education practice, a member of its Business Services Department and a member of the firm’s Diversity Committee. Ramos' public service includes chairing the School Reform Commission in Philadelphia. He was also the City Solicitor (General Counsel) for the City of Philadelphia.

Jeanne “Bonnie” Bartholomew Van Alen: is the co-founder, president and executive director of the Willistown Conservation Trust, a non-profit land trust working to protect the rural beauty of the 28,000 acres surrounding Willistown, Pennsylvania. 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 Community Supported Agriculture organization.

Ceremony for College of Nursing & Health Professions and School of Public Health (2:30 p.m.):

Ann Baiada: is a director of BAYADA Home Health Care and a champion of the nursing profession. She created two training and mentoring programs at BAYADA: Project White Cap, a training program for new nurses, and Project White Shoes, an annual training for clinical leaders. A skilled clinical leader and registered nurse, she also founded BAYADAbility, the company’s rehabilitation nursing program. Her passion for nursing and her ability to empower and inspire led to the establishment of an award, the Ann Baiada Award for Excellence in Nursing Leadership and the development of the Ann Baiada Center for Clinical Excellence.

Mark Baiada: is founder and president of BAYADA Home Health Care. More than three decades after its founding, BAYADA has grown from its humble beginnings to become a national leader in home health care serving clients in 25 states from more than 250 offices. As an advocate for improving patient outcomes and advancing health care, Baiada is leading the way in providing clinical simulation training to home health care professionals and annually co-sponsors the Drexel University BAYADA Award for Technological Innovation in Nursing Education and Practice. The award recognizes nurses who innovatively use technology to advance their profession. At Drexel, he previously served as a trustee for the College of Medicine.

*Jeffrey Sachs: Widely considered the world’s leading expert on economic development and the fight against poverty, Sachs is the Quetelet Professor of Sustainable Development and professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University and director of The Earth Institute. He is a special advisor to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the Millennium Development Goals. He is also one of the Secretary-General’s MDG Advocates, a Commissioner of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) /UNESCO Broadband Commission for Development, and a director of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network. He is co-founder and chief strategist of Millennium Promise Alliance and is director of the Millennium Villages Project, which operates in more than a dozen African countries, and covers more than 500,000 people.

Saturday, June 14

Ceremony for the LeBow College of Business (9 a.m.):

Dana Dornsife (’83): is the president and founder of the Lazarex Cancer Foundation, which provides logistical and financial assistance to end-stage cancer patients seeking hope in clinical trials. She and her husband David, have also been active at the Brain and Creativity Institute at the University of Southern California (USC). They support a literacy project in Mauritania, West Africa, and through World Vision, an international humanitarian agency, underwrite water-well drilling in Ghana, Mali, Niger, Ethiopia and Zambia. They also support groundbreaking research in imaging and Cerebral Spinal Fluid Analysis for early detection of Alzheimer’s disease. At Drexel, The Dana and David Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships and The Dana and David Dornsife Office for Experiential Learning in the LeBow College of Business are named in their honor. Dana Dornsife graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Drexel's LeBow College.

David Dornsife: is the chairman of the Herrick Corporation, the largest steel fabricator on the West Coast, whose products have gone into the skylines of San Francisco, Los Angeles and other cities. He has also been the chairman of Gillig Corporation, a major supplier of metropolitan transit buses to U.S. cities. Dornsife and his wife Dana are well-known as one of the most philanthropic couples in America.

George Krall (’58): was president and CEO of Mebane Packaging Group, Inc., a supplier of paperboard packaging to the healthcare industry, until its acquisition by Westvaco Corporation. Since that time, Krall has worked as a venture capitalist, private investor and executive consultant. At Drexel, he serves on the University’s Board of Visitors and the Dean’s Advisory Board at the LeBow College of Business. Krall was recognized by Drexel with the Golden Dragon Award, A.J. Drexel Paul Award and was inducted in the Drexel 100. He is also a charter member of the College of Engineering Alumni Circle of Distinction. The George & Lois Krall Executive Education Center, located in the LeBow College of Business, is named in his and his wife’s honor. Krall earned a bachelor’s degree from the Drexel University College of Engineering and is an emeritus trustee of the Drexel University Board of Trustees.

*James Nevels: is the founder and chairman of The Swarthmore Group, one of the largest minority-owned investment advisors in the country. He has more than 34 years of experience in the securities and investment industry and is a member of the firm’s Executive Committee. He serves as the chairman of The Hershey Company, a member of the board of the Hershey Trust Company and board member of the Milton Hershey School. He is also chairman of The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia Board of Directors, a member of the board of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, a member of the board of the Harrisburg University of Science and Technology and president of the Pennsylvania Society.

Ceremony for the Westphal College of Media Arts & Design and the Goodwin College of Professional Studies (1 p.m.):

*Andrea Mitchell: As NBC’s chief foreign affairs correspondent, Mitchell covers foreign policy, intelligence and National Security issues for NBC News and MSNBC. In addition to traveling with Secretary of State John Kerry, she hosts “Andrea Mitchell Reports” on MSNBC, her daily program of political and foreign policy news. She is the author of Talking Back: …To Presidents, Dictators, and Assorted Scoundrels, a memoir about her experiences covering five Presidents, Congress and foreign policy.

Masahiro Shima: is president and CEO of Shima Seiki Mfg., Ltd., a leading manufacturer of computerized flat knitting machines that he founded. A pioneer in knitting technology, Shima began inventing knitting machinery as an adolescent, and by the age of 24 he had founded Shima Seiki to develop the world’s first fully automated glove knitting machine. Shima's company is the principal donor for the Shima Seiki Haute Technology Laboratory in Drexel University’s Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design.

*Robert A.M. Stern: A legendary architect, Stern is founder and senior partner of the world-renowned Robert A.M. Stern Architects and is Yale University’s J.M. Hoppin Professor of Architecture and dean of architecture. Some of his major works include New York City’s 15 Central Park West and the Comcast Center skyscraper in Philadelphia. He also designed Drexel University’s Chestnut Square and Gerri C. LeBow Hall.

Ceremony for the College of Engineering, School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems (4:30 p.m.):

Amit Goffer (’91): is the president of Argo Medical Technologies Ltd., an international company that develops, manufactures and markets walk restoration devices for people with lower limb disabilities. The company’s ReWalk™ exoskeleton allows an ambulation and rehabilitation alternative to wheelchair users, enabling people to stand and walk independently. Goffer is also the founder of Odin Medical Technologies Ltd. (now Medtronic Navigation Israel), a company that develops, manufactures and commercializes Intraoperative MRI systems, and he founded RehaMed Technologies Ltd., a company that aims to develop, produce and sell innovative rehabilitation and medical devices. He earned a doctorate from the Drexel University College of Engineering. 

*Leah Jamieson: is the John A. Edwardson Dean of the College of Engineering at Purdue University, as well as Ransburg Distinguished Professor of electrical and computer engineering, and she holds a courtesy appointment in Purdue’s School of Engineering Education. She is a past president and CEO of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and is also co-founder and past director of the Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS) Program, for which she was recognized with the 2005 Bernard M. Gordon Prize for Innovation in Engineering and Technology.

*Robert Langer: is the David H. Koch Institute Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology—one of only 11 Institute professors, the highest honor that can be awarded to a faculty member. His research is at the interface of medicine, cancer in particular, and materials science and chemical engineering. Nanotechnology is a major focus area for Langer, who is developing new nanoparticles to treat cancer and other diseases. His work also includes the creation of novel approaches for the engineering of new tissues and organs. Langer’s patents have been licensed or sublicensed to over 250 pharmaceutical, chemical, biotechnology and medical device companies. He is considered the most cited engineer in history.

Pramod Varshney: is a distinguished professor of electrical engineering and computer science at Syracuse University and the director of the Center for Advanced Systems and Engineering, the University’s applied research center. His work is the foundation for many U.S. Department of Defense wireless sensor network systems, with practical applications in monitoring the condition of air and space vehicles and operation of unmanned aerial vehicles. Varshney has also made vital contributions to both bio-engineering and the processing of images acquired from air and space based sensors. He has extended his methods to help improve early breast cancer detection and for detecting early stage Alzheimer’s disease.