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Drexel Announces 2013 Honorary Degree Recipients

May 23 2013

Drexel University seal

Drexel University will celebrate its 126th commencement on its University City campus with five separate ceremonies honoring Drexel’s graduating class on June 14 and June15. More than 5,000 students will receive a degree from Drexel this year. The ceremonies will be held at Drexel’s John A. Daskalakis Athletic Center, 33rd and Market Streets.

Drexel will award 13 honorary degrees to prominent individuals distinguished in their fields. The recipients are listed below:

Friday, June 14

9:30 a.m. ceremony honoring the graduates of Drexel’s College of Engineering and School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems

Bernard Amadei: A professor of civil engineering at the University of Colorado at Boulder, he has been appointed by the U.S. Department of State as one of three science envoys who will help strengthen U.S. ties with other countries to address global challenges.

He founded the nonprofit organization Engineers Without Borders-USA, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year with more than 12,000 students, faculty and professional members across the country. In founding the organization, Amadei pioneered a new approach to engineering education by involving students in service learning projects in the developing world, an initiative that is helping to create globally responsible engineers and to provide sustainable and appropriate technology solutions to the endemic problems faced by developing communities worldwide.

Amadei holds the Mortenson Endowed Chair in Global Engineering at the University of Colorado at Boulder and served as faculty director of the Mortenson Center in Engineering for Developing Communities from 2009-2012. Amadei has been on the CU-Boulder faculty in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering for 30 years, with a specialty in rock mechanics and engineering geology. Amadei was elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering in 2008 and has received numerous other prestigious awards, including the Heinz Award for the Environment, the Hoover Medal, the Ralph Coats Roe Medal and the Norm Augustine Award.

G. Wayne Clough: As the secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, Clough has taken the Smithsonian, the world’s largest museum and research complex with activities in nearly 100 countries, in new directions creating a new framework for goals, enterprises and operations. He is responsible for an annual budget of $1 billion, 6,400 employees and 6,200 volunteers.

Clough is currently overseeing a building and renovation program of more than $1 billion. Major elements include the renovation of the Arts and Industries Building on the National Mall, scheduled to re-open in 2014, and the construction of the National Museum of African American History and Culture located near the Washington Monument, scheduled to open in late 2015. Since coming to the Smithsonian, the Secretary has emphasized the development of collaborations with universities and other organizations. Before his appointment to the Smithsonian, Clough was president of the Georgia Institute of Technology for 14 years.

Clough’s recognitions include 2012 National Honor Member status in Chi Epsilon, the National Civil Engineering Honor Society, the 2011 Foreign Policy Association Medal, the American-Russian Cultural Cooperation Foundation Award in 2011, membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2010 and induction into the Technology Hall of Fame of Georgia. Elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1990, he was recognized with the 2008 NAE Bueche Award for his efforts in public policy. Clough has received nine national awards from the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Paul Citron: Until 2003, he was vice president of Technology Policy and Academic Relations at Medtronic, Inc., a pioneer in the medical device industry and the largest developer of implantable therapeutic devices. Previously he was Medtronic’s vice president of Science and Technology responsible for corporate-wide assessment and coordination of technology initiatives and for prioritization and funding of corporate research. Over his 32-year career at Medtronic before he retired in 2003, Citron developed and helped bring to the bedside technologies that advanced the utility, safety and effectiveness of innovative implanted medical devices.

He is currently adjunct professor at the Jacobs School of Engineering, University of California San Diego, and is an advisor to start-up firms in the medical device and biotechnology sector. He has authored numerous medical technology peer reviewed publications.  Citron holds nine U.S. medical device patents, including one that was designated “Patent of Distinction” by Medtronic for its positive impact on patient wellbeing. It permitted, for the first time, reliable long-term cardiac stimulation without the need for an open-chest surgical procedure. He currently serves as a National Academy of Engineering Councillor and is a member of the National Academies’ Committee on Science, Engineering and Public Policy.

1:30 p.m. ceremony honoring the graduates of Drexel’s College of Nursing and Health Professions and School of Public Health

Reed V. Tuckson: is currently the managing director of Tuckson Health Connections, a health and medical care consulting business that brings people and ideas together to promote optimal health outcomes. Previously, he served a long tenure as executive vice president and chief of medical affairs for UnitedHealth Group, a Fortune 25 health and wellbeing company, which includes the nation’s largest health insurer and the industry’s most comprehensive health services company. Prior to that he held numerous senior leadership positions at the American Medical Association, the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in Los Angeles, where he served as president, and the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation.

Tuckson is an active member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, serving on, or chairing, several boards and committees. He is also active on the advisory committee to the director of the National Institutes of Health. The author of The Doctor in the Mirror, a book and media presentation focused on patient empowerment to overcome everyday health issues for Americans 55 and older, Tuckson recently ranked ninth on the list of the “50 Most Powerful Physician Executives” in health care by Modern Healthcare magazine.

Saturday June 15

9 a.m. ceremony honoring the graduates of Drexel’s LeBow College of Business

Charles E. Haldeman, Jr.: served from 2009-2012 as the chief executive officer of the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, known as Freddie Mac, a publicly traded company that is the second largest source of mortgage financing in the United States. He joined Freddie Mac when there was no CEO, CFO or COO and managed to stabilize the company by building a management team, developing a vision and establishing priorities. Prior to his position at Freddie Mac, he was chairman of Putnam Investments, where he had previously served as president and chief executive officer. During his tenure, he sold Putnam Investments to Power Financial Corporation in January 2007 for $3.9 billion.  This all-cash transaction successfully closed in August 2007. 

He was named by CFA Magazine as “One of the Most Influential CFA Institute Members” in 2006, which cited his personal commitment to fiduciary duty, his work to restore Putnam's reputation and his creation of an organizational culture that reinforced trust in the firm. In 2010, Bloomberg Businessweek named Haldeman one of the “50 Most Powerful People in Real Estate”

Buzz Bissinger: Among the nation’s most honored and distinguished writers, Bissinger is the winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the Livingston Award, the American Bar Association Silver Gavel Award and the National Headliners Award, among others. A Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, he is the author of the highly acclaimed nonfiction books: Friday Night Lights, A Prayer for the City, Three Nights in August, Shooting Stars and Father’s Day.

Bissinger has been a reporter for some of the nation’s most prestigious newspapers; a magazine writer with published work in Vanity Fair, The New York Times Magazine and Sports Illustrated; and a co-producer and writer for the ABC television drama “NYPD Blue.” Two of his works were made into the critically acclaimed films: Friday Night Lights and Shattered Glass. His book Friday Night Lights also served as the inspiration for the television series of the same name. The book, a New York Times number one bestseller, published in 1990, has sold roughly two million copies and is still in print.

His journalism career began at the Ledger-Star in Norfolk, Virginia. Bissinger then moved to The St. Paul Pioneer Press and later The Philadelphia Inquirer. It was at the Inquirer in 1987 that he and two colleagues won a Pulitzer Prize for reporting a six-part investigative series on the Philadelphia court system. 

Robert and Esther “Penny” Fox: Robert Fox is chairman and CEO of R.A.F. Industries, a private investment company acquiring and managing a diversified group of operating companies. Before R.A.F. Industries, Fox was president and chairman of the board of Warner Company and chairman of the board of the Waste Resources Corporation. He serves as a member of the board of managers of The Wistar Institute, the board of directors of the Foreign Policy Research Institute and the Scholars Academies. He is an emeritus trustee at the University of Pennsylvania.

His wife, Penny Fox, is a trustee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. She also serves on the board of managers of the Moore College of Art and Design, and served as secretary of the board and chair of the trustees for several years. Since 2001, she has served on the board of the Pennsylvania Ballet.  

1 p.m. ceremony honoring the graduates of Drexel’s Goodwin College of Professional Studies, School of Education and the iSchool, College of Information, Science and Technology

Anthony Hey: As vice president of Microsoft Research Connections, a division of Microsoft Research, Hey is responsible for the worldwide external research and technical computing strategy across Microsoft Corporation. Hey also oversees Microsoft Research's efforts to enhance the quality of higher education around the world.

Before joining Microsoft, Hey served as director of the U.K.’s e-Science Initiative, managing the government's efforts to provide scientists and researchers with access to key computing technologies. Before leading this initiative, Hey worked as head of the School of Electronics and Computer Science, and as dean of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Southampton, where he helped build the department into one of the most respected computer science research institutions in England.

Hey is a fellow of the U.K.'s Royal Academy of Engineering. He also has served on several national committees in the U.K., including committees of the U.K. Department of Trade and Industry and the Office of Science and Technology.

Marc Vetri: Trained in Bergamo, Italy, by some of the region's most noted chefs, Marc Vetri brings a bold, contemporary sensibility to classic Italian cooking. Within two years of opening his eponymous Philadelphia restaurant, he was named one of Food & Wine's Ten Best New Chefs and in 2005, Vetri won the James Beard Award for “Best Chef Mid-Atlantic.”

In 1998 he opened Vetri, his intimate fine-dining restaurant in the heart of Center City Philadelphia. In February 2007, he opened Osteria, a more casual dining option and in January 2010, he opened his third restaurant, Amis, located in Washington Square, which specializes in small plates such as handcrafted pastas and house-cured meats.

Vetri is the author of Il Viaggio di Vetri, a collection of more than 125 of his most-requested dishes. The book tells the story of his culinary journey from Philadelphia to California to Italy to New York and, finally, back to Philly to share the Italian cuisine he loves with the people in his hometown. His second cookbook, Rustic Italian Food, brought artisan cooking into home kitchens and was named one of the top cookbooks of 2011 by such outlets as Bon Appetit, St. Petersburg Times and The Huffington Post.

Vetri is actively involved in many philanthropic causes. In 2009, Vetri and his business partner, Jeff Benjamin, created the Vetri Foundation for Children. Its mission is to promote healthy living styles among at-risk youth. One of the foundation’s signature initiatives is its “Eatiquette” school lunch improvement program in which children experience the connection between healthy eating and healthy living. The two are also the founders of the “Great Chefs Event,” which brings together scores of the country’s greatest chefs to raise money and awareness for the pediatric cancer charity, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.

Bernard C. Watson: is chairman of the board of trustees of the Barnes Foundation. Until 2004, he was a presidential scholar at Temple University, an appointment made following his retirement at the end of 1993 as president and CEO of the William Penn Foundation. In his distinguished career as an educator, he served as a teacher and administrator in the public schools in Indiana, deputy superintendent of the Philadelphia public schools, and professor of urban studies and urban education and academic vice president of Temple University.

He was appointed in 1967 by President Lyndon Baines Johnson to the National Council on Education Professions Development.  In 1980, he was appointed by President Jimmy Carter to the National Council on Educational Research and in 1994, he was appointed by President Clinton to the President’s Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities.  He served as senior vice chairman of the board of the National Urban League for 13 years.

Watson is the author of three books, 11 monographs, 31 book chapters and 33 articles in professional journals.  He is the recipient of more than 100 major awards including the prestigious Philadelphia Award for 2001. He is also the recipient of 23 honorary degrees, and is a member of the American Philosophical Society. In his honor, Temple established the endowed Bernard C. Watson Chair in Urban Education. The Bernard C. Watson Boys Academy in Gary, Indiana was also named in his honor.

4:30 p.m. ceremony honoring the graduates of Drexel’s Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design and College of Arts and Sciences

Carl Safina: The author of six books and roughly 200 scientific and popular publications, including features in The New York Times and National Geographic, Safina is founding president of Blue Ocean Institute at Stony Brook University, where he also co-chairs the University’s Center for Communicating Science.

His work reveals how the future of living nature and the durability of human dignity are increasingly intertwined. He has studied nature as a scientist, stood for it as an advocate and conveyed his travels among sea creatures and coastal people in lyrical non-fiction writing.

Safina’s first book, Song for the Blue Ocean, was a New York Times “Notable Book of the Year.” He has been profiled by The New York Times, Rolling Stone and on ABC’s “Nightline.” He hosts “Saving The Ocean” on PBS television.

Tavis Smiley:  From his celebrated conversations with world figures to his work to inspire the next generation of leaders, Smiley — broadcaster, author, publisher, advocate and philanthropist —has emerged as an outstanding voice for change. Smiley is currently the host of the late-night television talk show “Tavis Smiley” on PBS as well as “The Tavis Smiley Show” and “Smiley & West” on Public Radio International.

He is the author of 16 books.  His memoir, What I Know for Sure: My Story of Growing Up in America, became a New York Times best seller, and the book he edited, Covenant with Black America, became the first nonfiction book by a black-owned publisher to reach #1 on The New York Times best-sellers list.

Smiley is the presenter and creative force behind “AMERICA I AM: The African American Imprint,” a traveling museum exhibition touring the country four years now, celebrating the extraordinary impact of African American contributions to our nation and the world. The non-profit Tavis Smiley Foundation was established to provide leadership training and development for youth. Since its inception, more than 6,000 young people have participated in the foundation’s Youth to Leaders training workshops and conferences. His communications company, The Smiley Group, Inc., is dedicated to supporting human rights and related empowerment issues.