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Drexel Celebrates 2012 Commencement

June 12, 2012

Photo of graduating students in front of Dragon Park Statue

Drexel University will celebrate its 125th commencement on its University City campus with five separate ceremonies honoring Drexel’s graduating class, June 15 and16. 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, and will be Webcast live at

Drexel will award honor 17 honorary degrees to prominent individuals distinguished in their fields. The recipients are listed below:

Friday, June 15

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

Linda R. Gooden: A nationally recognized business leader and information technology pioneer, Linda Gooden is the executive vice president of Lockheed Martin’s Information Systems & Global Solutions (IS&GS) business area and an officer of the Lockheed Martin Corporation. Under her leadership, IS&GS includes 30,000 professionals who provide integrated information technology solutions, systems and services to support worldwide missions for civil, defense, intelligence and other government customers.

In 2012, Fortune magazine named Gooden one of the Top 50 Most Powerful Women in Business for the second year in a row. She was featured as one of Black Enterprise magazine’s 100 Most Powerful Executives in Corporate America for 2009. 

Honoring her dedication and leadership in the technology industry, Drexel will bestow upon Gooden the degree of Doctor of Engineering, honoris causa.

George D. Behrakis: The founder of two successful companies, Dooner Laboratories and Muro Pharmaceutical, Behrakis distinguished himself in the pharmaceutical industry as a researcher and marketer of asthma and allergy products. He then used his success as a springboard to philanthropy that has transformed education and healthcare.

Behrakis—a Drexel benefactor and the namesake of Drexel’s Behrakis Grand Hall—serves on many boards including the Museum of Fine Arts of Boston, the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Harvard School of Public Health. He is also the vice chairman  of the Board of Trustees at Northeastern University, and chairman of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, St. John’s Hospital and Saints Medical Center.

In recognition of his generous philanthropy and many contributions to the pharmaceutical industry, Drexel will confer upon Behrakis the degree of Doctor of Engineering, honoris causa.

Robert R. Buckley: Through his many contributions to the Philadelphia region, using his expertise in construction and infrastructure, Buckley has helped shape the landscapes of the city and Drexel.

From a young age, he has worked at his family’s construction business, Buckley & Company, Inc. He became vice president of the company in 1958 and assumed his current positions as president and treasurer in 1972. The company, which specializes in highway, bridge, tunnel, subway and marine construction, has worked on many landmark Philadelphia projects, including the restoration of City Hall Tower, the Schuylkill Expressway, Market East Station, the Walnut Street Bridge, Vine Street Expressway and 30th Street Station. Nationally, Buckley & Company has worked on EPCOT Center in Orlando, Fla. and the San Francisco International Airport.  

For his longstanding commitment to the University community, Drexel will confer upon Buckley the degree of Doctor of Engineering, honoris causa.

1:30 p.m. ceremony, honoring graduates of Drexel’s College of Arts and Sciences and the Goodwin College (including the School of Professional Studies and the School of Education).

Paul R. Ehrlich: A prominent ecologist and evolutionist, Ehrlich, has led the global discourse on population analytics since the 1960s with the release of his groundbreaking book, The Population Bomb. He is Bing Professor of Population Studies and president of the Center for Conservation Biology at Stanford University.

Ehrlich has carried out field, laboratory and theoretical research on the dynamics and genetics of insect populations, the ecological and evolutionary interactions of plants and herbivores, the behavioral ecology of birds and reef fishes and the effects of crowding on human beings.

Recognizing his contributions to the fields of population studies and biology, Drexel will confer upon Ehrlich the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.

Paul Levy: With his skill and experience in urban development, Levy has been a driving force in downtown and city center revitalization in Philadelphia, while advising numerous U.S., European and Australian cities on the formation of city center management organizations. He is the founding chief executive of Philadelphia’s Center City District, a downtown management district that provides security, cleaning, place marketing, planning services and capital improvements for the central business district of Philadelphia. He has also led initiatives of the Central Philadelphia Development Corp. and the Passyunk Avenue Revitalization Corporation.

In recognition of his commitment to developing a better Philadelphia, Drexel will confer upon Levy the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.

R. James Macaleer: is a co-founder of Shared Medical Systems (SMS) and served as its chairman and chief executive officer from its founding in 1969 until 1995. He then served as non-executive chairman through mid-2000. SMS was the leading provider of financial, administrative and patient care automated information processing systems and services to more than 5,000 healthcare institutions in the United States and 16 foreign countries. It employed more than 7,000 people and had revenues in excess of $1 billion.

For his strong leadership and dedicated service to the region, Drexel will bestow upon Macaleer the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.

Saturday, June 16

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

Sheila Bair: She chaired the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation from 2006 to 2011, bolstering public confidence and system stability and developing innovative stabilizing programs during a tumultuous period in the financial sector. Under her leadership, the FDIC’s resolution process was extended to systemically important financial institutions, effectively attacking the doctrine of too-big-to-fail.

In honor of her distinguished service to the nation at the epicenter of the financial crisis, Drexel will confer upon Bair the degree of Doctor of Business Administration, honoris causa.

Robert McDonald: He is chief executive officer of Procter & Gamble, ranked by Fortune and Barron’s magazines among the top 10 most admired companies in the world. In 2009, he launched a new overarching growth strategy inspired by the company’s purpose—to touch and improve lives, now and for generations to come, in more parts of the world, more completely.

Procter & Gamble has grown sales by an average of nearly four percent per year and core earnings per share an average of nearly seven percent over the past two years, despite slow to no growth in developed markets and rising commodity costs. The company has paid about $5.5 billion in dividends and marked the 121st consecutive year of paying a dividend.

In honor of his principled and service-oriented global leadership, Drexel will confer upon McDonald the degree of Doctor of Business Administration, honoris causa.

Joseph E. Neubaur: He is chairman of ARAMARK, the Philadelphia-based, world-renowned provider of a broad range of professional services including food, hospitality, facility and uniform services. He served as the company’s chief executive officer for 29 years until May 2012.

ARAMARK has sales of approximately $12.6 billion, with 254,000 employees serving 22 countries around the world.

For setting high standards in corporate and civic leadership, Neubauer received a 2010 Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal, the highest honor bestowed by the University of Virginia. He received the Woodrow Wilson Award for Corporate Citizenship in 2005. In 2002, Neubauer was honored by Drexel’s LeBow College of Business as its 49th Business Leader of the Year.

In honor of his three decades of leadership in Philadelphia’s business and cultural communities, Drexel will confer upon Neubauer the degree of Doctor of Business Administration, honoris causa.

Thomas Hindelang (deceased): Few faculty members have had a more far-reaching influence on Drexel than the late Hindelang, who died on campus in 2011. A beloved professor and academic leader for 40 years, Hindelang was called “a teacher’s teacher” in a profile by the LeBow College of Business’s Market Street magazine.

Hindelang was a professor of finance, and vice dean of LeBow College. He joined Drexel in 1973. Committed to the student experience, Hindelang founded LeBow College’s Center for Teaching Excellence, which spearheads development, mentoring and support to help faculty members be outstanding teachers. He was central in developing the College’s approach to business education, leading directly to growth in its national reputation.

In honor of his impact on generations of students, on University culture and on business education, Drexel will confer upon Hindelang the posthumous degree of Doctor of Business Administration, honoris causa.

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

David A. Kessler, M.D.: is a former commissioner of the United States Food and Drug Administration, where he worked from 1990-1997. He was appointed by President George H. W. Bush and reappointed by President Bill Clinton. It was under Kessler’s watch that FDA enacted regulations requiring standardized Nutrition Facts labels on food. He has a wide range of experience in research, clinical medicine, education, administration and the law.

Kessler has served as the dean of the medical schools at Yale University and the University of California, San Francisco, where he is currently a professor of pediatrics and epidemiology and biostatistics. He serves on the boards of various organizations and is a member of the Institute of Medicine and the recipient of numerous awards and honors.

For his dedicated career and his many contributions to an array of fields, Drexel will bestow upon Kessler the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.

Elizabeth F. and Jason Scott: are the co-executive directors for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer, which was founded by their daughter, Alexandra or Alex. The Scott’s supported Alex in her mission to find a cure for all children with cancer, including assisting her with her yearly lemonade stands, keeping in touch with supporters, making television appearances and helping to plan fundraising events.

When Alex died in 2004, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer had already raised $1 million. Under their leadership, the foundation has experienced dramatic growth since 2005, raising more than $50 million. The foundation has provided funding for more than 200 cutting-edge research projects, created a travel program to help support families of children receiving treatment and developed resources to help people everywhere affected by childhood cancer.

In recognition of their determination and effort to eradicate childhood cancer, Drexel will confer upon Elizabeth F. Scott and Jason Scott the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa. 

4:30 p.m. ceremony, honoring graduates from the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design and The iSchool at Drexel, College of Information Science and Technology.

Nile G. Rodgers: His legacy as a producer, musician, composer and arranger places Rodgers firmly in the pantheon of music legends. He began as a session guitarist in New York and backed the world’s greatest rhythm and blues artists in the house band of the famed Apollo Theater.

In 1970, Rodgers met bassist Bernard Edwards; together, they would change music. Their band CHIC pioneered a disco sound that ruled the dance floor and the radio airwaves. CHIC’s hits are pop standards, including the triple platinum “Le Freak” and the number one single “Good Times,” which was also the basis of the first multi-platinum hip hop single, Sugarhill Gang’s “A Rapper’s Delight.”

In honor of his unmatched contributions to popular music and his belief in promoting common humanity, Drexel will confer upon Rodgers the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.

Denise Scott Brown, RIBA, Int. FRIBA: is an architect, planner, urban designer, researcher and educator who has influenced generations of architects. She and Robert Venturi have collaborated professionally since 1960. As a principal of Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates she guided the firm’s projects in combining architecture, urban planning and research.

Designs guided by Scott Brown include the Sainsbury Wing of the National Gallery in London; a provincial capitol building for the Haute-Garonne in Toulouse, France; the Mielparque Kirifuri resort hotel near Nikko, Japan; the University of Michigan Life Sciences complex; the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman Quadrangle; and the Dartmouth College Baker-Berry Library.

Scott Brown’s campus plans include Brown University, the Universities of Pennsylvania and Michigan, Harvard University and Tsinghua University in Beijing. She advised on planning issues at New York’s World Trade Center, Philadelphia’s Penn’s Landing, the city of New Orleans and the Bouregreg Valley in Morocco.

In honor of her seminal influence on architecture, urban planning and design around the world, Drexel will confer upon Scott Brown the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.

Robert Venturi, FAIA Emeritus, Int. FRIBA: is known as a singular voice in contemporary architecture. He is founding principal of Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates, the world-renowned firm that over the past half century has expanded concepts of what architecture can be.

Venturi’s work as principal in charge includes the Sainsbury Wing of the National Gallery in London; a provincial capitol building for the Haute-Garonne in Toulouse, France; the Mielparque Kirifuri resort hotel near Nikko, Japan; additions to the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; the Seattle Art Museum; conceptual design for two high-rise offices in Shanghai; major expansions to Lehigh Valley Hospital; and a chapel for the Episcopal Academy near Philadelphia.

Drexel’s URBN Center, the new home for the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design, will occupy a classic Robert Venturi-designed building at 3501 Market Street. Constructed in 1978, the former Institute for Scientific Information offers one of the best examples of the iconic façade and adaptable space central to Venturi’s “decorated shed” concept.

In honor of his enduring architecture and his seminal contributions to design thought, Drexel will confer upon Venturi the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa

Wayne T. Gattinella: has provided leadership to a number of “game-changing” companies well known within their industries and to the public at large. He is currently principal of Highline Advisory Group, which helps organizations accelerate the scale and speed-to-revenue for innovative and disruptive business models, focusing at the intersection of emerging information technologies and digital communications.

Previously, Gattinella was president and chief executive officer of WebMD Health. Under his 10-year leadership, WebMD evolved as the most recognized and trusted brand of health information for consumers and healthcare professionals, and the leader in delivering online health and benefits portals for the country’s largest employers and health plans.

In honor of his vision and innovation in business and his service to his alma mater, Drexel will confer upon Gattinella the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.


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