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Drexel to Celebrate Commencement in Four Ceremonies on June 13

May 21, 2009

Drexel to Celebrate Commencement in Four Ceremonies on June 13
Drexel University will celebrate its 122nd commencement Saturday, June 13, with four separate ceremonies honoring Drexel’s graduating class. The ceremonies will be held at Drexel’s John A. Daskalakis Athletic Center, 33rd and Market Streets, and will be Webcast live at

Ten honorary degrees will be awarded at the ceremonies. The recipients are listed below:

8:30 a.m. ceremony, honoring graduates of the Bennett S. LeBow College of Business.

John J. “Jack” Brennan, chairman and former president and CEO of the Vanguard Group. A member of the board of directors of each Vanguard mutual fund, Brennan is past chairman of the Investment Company Institute, governor of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and a governor of United Way of America. He is the author of Straight Talk on Investing: What You Need to Know.

Suzy Welch, commentator and business journalist, author of three books including the bestseller 10-10-10 and former editor-in-chief of the Harvard Business Review. Together with her husband Jack she co-authors “The Welch Way,” a weekly column in BusinessWeek magazine and is published by the New York Times and syndicated in more than 45 major newspapers around the world. Welch is also a columnist for O, The Oprah Magazine, where she writes frequently about balancing work and life, as well as the delicate art of managing career challenges.

Noon ceremony, honoring graduates of Drexel’s College of Engineering, the College of Information Science and Technology and the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems.

Richard E. Caruso, Ph.D., chairman and founder of the medical device company Integra LifeSciences headquartered in Plainsboro, N.J., founder and member of the venture fund the Provco Group, creator of the non-profit Uncommon Individual Foundation and chairman of the selection committee for the University’s inaugural Anthony J. Drexel Exceptional Achievement Award.

Christopher Ferguson ’84, NASA astronaut, leader of the crew of the space shuttle STS-126 Endeavour in November 2008 as mission commander. During the mission, Ferguson worked with his six-person crew on a 15-day space mission to install a system that recycles urine into drinking water at the International Space Station. Ferguson and his crew also delivered equipment to the station. Ferguson was the pilot of STS-115 Atlantis in 2006. He was honored as Drexel University College of Engineering’s 2009 Engineer of the Year.

4 p.m. ceremony, honoring graduates of the College of Nursing and Health Professions, Goodwin College of Professional Studies and School of Public Health.

Barbara L. Nichols, DHL, MS, RN, FAAN, CEO of the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS International), an immigration-neutral, non-profit organization internationally recognized as an authority on education, registration and licensure of nurses worldwide. Nichols served as past president of the American Nurses Association and former professor of nursing at the University of Wisconsin School of Nursing, director of nursing for the Wisconsin Area Health Education Center System and secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Regulation and Licensing. Malik Rose ’96, NBA basketball player with Oklahoma Thunder, 13-year veteran of the NBA including two championship teams and leader of two National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) tournament teams at Drexel.

Patrick H. Swygert, former president of Howard University and the State University of New York at Albany and former executive vice president of Temple University. Swygert has served as a visiting professor at the Tel Aviv University faculty of law and the faculty of law of the University of Ghana, and has lectured in Egypt, Greece and Italy. He is also the author of numerous articles and publications on higher education and law. He has a long history of civic service, including serving as general counsel to the U.S. Civil Service Commission.

7:30 p.m. honoring the graduates of the College of Arts and Sciences and Westphal College of Media Arts & Design.

Matthew Emmens, president, CEO and chairman of Vertex Pharmaceuticals of Cambridge, Mass., and chairman of the specialty biopharmaceutical company Shire with headquarters in Wayne, Pa., and Chineham, Basingstoke, United Kingdom. He began his career in international pharmaceuticals with Merck & Co, Inc. where he held a wide range of sales, marketing and administrative positions. He helped to establish Astra Merck, a joint venture between Merck and Astra AB of Sweden, becoming president and Chief Executive Officer. In 1999, he joined Merck KGaA and established EMD Pharmaceuticals, the company's U.S. prescription pharmaceutical business. Emmens is currently the CEO of Vertex Pharmaceuticals.

Eliana Papadakis, “first lady” of Drexel University, 1995-2009. Her Drexel activities during her husband’s presidency included extensive travel and participation in fundraising, alumni outreach, public relations and planning and organizing events at the president’s residence, where she annually hosted about 1,500 Drexel stakeholders. She has served on the board of managers of the Philadelphia Foundation, which manages $200 million in assets entrusted for philanthropic purposes; and the board of directors of Carelift International, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving global health; the Divas Committee of the Opera Company of Philadelphia and the American Red Cross, Southern Pennsylvania Chapter.

Jamie Wyeth, internationally acclaimed contemporary realist painter, third-generation member of one of America’s most distinguished artistic families. Wyeth’s works are included in many public collections, including those of the National Gallery of Art, National Portrait Gallery, John F. Kennedy Library, Museum of Modern Art, Terra Museum of American Art, Joslyn Art Museum, Farnsworth Art Museum, Delaware Art Museum, and Brandywine River Museum. Wyeth is a participating lender for the United States Department of State, Art in Embassies Program. He is the son of Andrew Wyeth and the grandson of N. C. Wyeth.


News Media Contacts: Niki Gianakaris, Director, Drexel News Bureau 215-895-6741, 215-778-7752 (cell) or

Noah Cohen, Drexel News Bureau Associate 215-895-2705, 267-228-5599 (cell) or

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