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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 2013 Honorary Degree Recipients

Bernard Amadei, PhD

Dr. Amadei is Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he holds the Mortenson Endowed Chair in Global Engineering. He also served as Faculty Director of the Mortenson Center in Engineering for Developing Communities from 2009-2012. He is co-founder of Engineers Without Borders — International network and the Founding President of Engineers Without Borders — USA, whose mission is to partner with disadvantaged communities to improve their quality of life through implementation of sustainable engineering projects, while involving and training internationally responsible engineering professionals and students. Among other distinctions, Dr. Amadei holds three honorary degrees and is the 2007 co-recipient of the Heinz Award for the Environment. He is also the recipient of the 2008 ENR Award of Excellence, an elected member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, and a Senior Knight-Ashoka Fellow. Dr. Amadei was recently appointed as a 2012 Science Envoy by the U.S. Department of State.

Buzz Bissinger

Mr. Bissinger is among the nation’s most honored and distinguished writers. 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. He has won the Pulitzer Prize, the Livingston Award and the National Headliners Award, among others, and was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. A longtime contributor to The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal,and The Philadelphia Inquirer, Mr. Bissinger is also a magazine writer with work in Vanity Fair—where he has been a contributing editor since 1996—The New York Times Magazineand 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.

Paul Citron

Mr. Citron is the former Vice President of Technology Policy and Academic Relations of Medtronic, Inc., a global medical technology company, having been with the company for 32 years before retiring in 2003. Mr. Citron holds nine U.S. medical device patents, including one that was designated “Patent of Distinction” by Medtronic for positive impact on patient wellbeing. The device permitted, for the first time, reliable long-term cardiac stimulation without the need for an open-chest surgical procedure. Mr. Citron is currently an adjunct professor at University of California San Diego’s Jacobs School of Engineering and also an advisor to medical device and biotechnology start-up firms. He also serves as a Councillor for the National Academy of Engineering, is a member of its Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy, and served as the Chair of its Draper Prize Committee in 2012. In addition, he has served on three Institute of Medicine committees.

G. Wayne Clough, PhD

Dr. Clough is Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, the world’s largest museum and research complex, where he is responsible for an annual budget of $1 billion and 6,400 employees. He spent 14 years as President of Georgia Institute of Technology (GIT), served as Virginia Tech’s Head of Civil Engineering and Dean of the Department of Engineering, and served as Provost at University of Washington. He was Chair of the National Research Council Committee on New Orleans Regional Hurricane Protection Reconstruction and served on the National Science Board and the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. In addition to nine honorary doctorates, Dr. Clough was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, inducted into the Technology Hall of Fame of Georgia and received the Joseph M. Pettit Alumni Distinguished Service Award from GIT, where the G. Wayne Clough Undergraduate Learning Commons building is named in his honor.

The Honorable Pamela Pryor Dembe

(Received at the Earle Mack School of Law Commencement on May 17, 2013)

Judge Dembe has been a Common Pleas Judge for 23 years and has served since 2008 as President Judge of the Common Pleas Court. She is Past President of the of State Trial Judges’ organization, the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Criminal Law Section, and the Brehon Law Society. She currently serves as Chair of the Pennsylvania Judicial Auditing Agency, President of the Temple Inn of Court, and Vice President of the Board of the Free Library of Philadelphia, having previously served as President. Judge Dembe also serves on numerous committees of the Union League of Philadelphia and is a Trustee of the Corinthian Yacht Club. In 2010 she was named a ‘Woman of Distinction’ by the Legal Intelligencer and named an Inspirational Irish Woman by the Commodore John Barry Society.

Penny Fox

A leader in the community, Mrs. Fox is Chair Emerita of the Moore College of Art and Design Board, having previously served as Chair for four years. She is also a Trustee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Vice Chair of the Pennsylvania Ballet and Trustee of the RAF Foundation. She has been Chair of the Philadelphia Craft Show Committee and was Chair of the Wistar Institute’s 2011 Gala.

Robert A. Fox

Mr. Fox is founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of RAF Industries, a private investment firm. He was previously Chief Executive Officer of Warner Company, where he completed more than 25 acquisitions and grew Waste Resources, a start-up subsidiary, into a national, publicly traded solid waste management firm. He is Emeritus Trustee of the University of Pennsylvania, where he endowed the Fox Leadership Program, Trustee of the Foreign Policy Research Institute, and Trustee, former Board Chair and current capital Campaign Chair of The Wistar Institute. He also serves as a Trustee of the James Frederick Fox Foundation and the RAF Foundation.

Charles E. Haldeman, JR.

Mr. Haldeman is the retired Chief Executive Officer of Freddie Mac, the second largest source of mortgage financing in the United States. He is credited with stabilizing Freddie Mac by building a new management team, reducing expenses and improving the quality of loans. Before joining Freddie Mac, Mr. Haldeman was Chairman of Putnam Investment Management, LLC and had served as President and CEO of Putnam Investments. Prior to his tenure at Putnam, Mr. Haldeman was Chairman and CEO of Delaware Investments and earlier served as President and Chief Operating Officer of United Asset Management Corporation. He is a former Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Dartmouth College, his alma mater.

Anthony J.G. Hey, PHD

As Vice President of Microsoft Research Connections, a division of Microsoft Research, Dr. Hey is responsible for the worldwide external research and technical computing strategy across Microsoft Corporation. Before joining Microsoft, Dr. 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, Dr. Hey worked as Head of the School of Electronics and Computer Science and Dean of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Southampton. Dr. Hey is a fellow of the U.K.’s Royal Academy of Engineering. He was a member of the British Computer Society, the Institute of Engineering and Technology, and the Institute of Physics.

H. Fitzgerald Lenfest, Esq.

(Received at the Earle Mack School of Law Commencement on May 17, 2013)

As Vice President of Microsoft Research Connections, a division of Microsoft Research, Dr. Hey is responsible for the worldwide external research and technical computing strategy across Microsoft Corporation. Before joining Microsoft, Dr. 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, Dr. Hey worked as Head of the School of Electronics and Computer Science and Dean of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Southampton. Dr. Hey is a fellow of the U.K.’s Royal Academy of Engineering. He was a member of the British Computer Society, the Institute of Engineering and Technology, and the Institute of Physics.

Herbert Lotman

(Received at the Drexel University College of Medicine Commencement on May 17, 2013)

Mr. Lotman pioneered a mass-production system for the manufacture of frozen hamburgers that revolutionized fast food. He founded Keystone Foods, an $8+ billion multi-national corporation headquartered in West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, acquired in 2010 by Marfig Alimentos. Active in many organizations, Mr. Lotman served as Chairman of the Board of The Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, where he continues to serve on the Board, and he co-founded the Macula Vision Research Foundation. Mr. Lotman also co-founded the McDonald’s Ladies Professional Golf Association Championship, which benefits Ronald McDonald House Charities.

Carl Safina, PhD

Dr. Safina is founding President of Blue Ocean Institute at Stony Brook University, where he also co-chairs the University’s Center for Communication Science. In addition, he hosts Save The Ocean on PBS television. He has helped lead campaigns to ban driftnets, overhaul fisheries law, achieve a United Nations fisheries treaty, and reduce seabird and sea turtle downing on commercial fishing lines. Dr. Safina is the author of six books and 200 scientific and popular publications, including features in The New York Times and National Geographic. His book A Natural Year in an Unnatural Worldwon the 2012 Orion Award and another book Voyage of the Turtle was a New York Times Editors’ Choice. In addition to two honorary doctorates, he received Pew and Guggenheim fellowships, the Rabb Medal from Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo, the James Beard Medal, the Lannan Literary Award and a MacArthur “genius” Prize, among many other recognitions.

Donald F. Schwarz, MD, MPH

(Received at the Drexel University College of Medicine Commencement on May 17, 2013)

Dr. Schwarz is Deputy Mayor for Health and Opportunity and Health Commissioner for the City of Philadelphia. He also oversees the Department of Human Services, Department of Behavioral Health and Mental Retardation Services and Office of Supportive Housing. He previously served as Vice Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and Craig-Dalsimer Division Chief for Adolescent Medicine at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. He held a secondary faculty appointment at University of Pennsylvania’s School of Nursing in the Family and Community Nursing Division, was a senior fellow of the Leonard Davis Institute for Health Economics, and was a senior scholar in the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics. Dr. Schwarz’s areas of research included adolescent risk behaviors. He served for four years as President of the Board of Philadelphia Citizens for Children and Youth, Philadelphia’s child advocacy group.

Tavis Smiley

Mr. Smiley—broadcaster, author, publisher, advocate and philanthropist—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 from Public Radio International. In addition, Mr. Smiley has written 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-seller list. Mr. Smiley is the presenter and creative force behind AMERICA I AM: The African American Imprint, an unprecedented traveling museum exhibition. Mr. Smiley has also established the Tavis Smiley Foundation to provide leadership training and development for youth. TIME magazine honored Mr. Smiley in 2009 as one of “The World’s 100 Most Influential People.”

Scott Syphax

(Will receive at the Drexel University Sacramento Commencement on June 22, 2013)

Mr. Syphax is President and CEO of Nehemiah Corporation of America (NCA), based in Sacramento, and one of the country’s largest non-profit community development organizations. Under Mr. Syphax’s leadership, Nehemiah has created over 200,000 new homeowners, nearly 10,000 jobs, and the Nehemiah Emerging Leaders Program. Before NCA, Mr. Syphax served as Manager of Public Affairs for Eli Lilly & Company and as Associate Director for the California Medical Association. He serves on the Board of the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco and Chairman of the Financial Solvency Standards Board for the California State Department of Managed Health Care. He is the Vice Chairman of the Corporate Fund Board for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC, and a member of Sacramento State University at Sacramento’s College of Business Advisory Committee. He also serves on the Board of Advisors at Drexel University Sacramento.

Reed V. Tuckson, MD, FACP

Dr. Tuckson is managing director of Tuckson Health Connections, a health and medical care consulting business. Previously, he served as Executive Vice President and Chief of Medical Affairs for UnitedHealth Group and held leadership positions as Senior Vice President for Professional Standards of the American Medical Association; President of Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in Los Angeles; Senior Vice President for Programs of the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation; and Commissioner of Public Health for the District of Columbia. He has served on or chaired boards and committees of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. He serves on the Advisory Committee to the Director of the National Institutes of Health and on the boards of Cell Therapeutics, Inc., Howard University and the American Telemedicine Association. He has served on cabinet level advisory committees and is the author of The Doctor in the Mirror.

Marc Vetri (BS, LeBow College of Business, 1990)

Chef Vetri opened Vetri, his first fine-dining restaurant in Philadelphia, in 1998 and was soon named one of Food & Wine’s Ten Best New Chefs and received the Philadelphia Inquirer’s highest rating. In 2005, he won the James Beard Award for “Best Chef Mid-Atlantic.” His next restaurant, Osteria, was nominated for “Best New Restaurant” in 2008 by the James Beard Foundation, and his third restaurant, Amis, was named one of the top “10 Places for Pasta” in the country by Bon Appetit. Mr. Vetri’s latest venture is Alla Spina. Mr. Vetri is also the author of two cookbooks Il Viaggio di Vetri and Rustic Italian Food, named one of the top cookbooks of 2011 by Bon Appetit. Actively involved in philanthropic causes, Mr. Vetri co-founded the Vetri Foundation for Children as well as the “Great Chefs Event,” which raises money and awareness for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.

Bernard C. Watson, PhD

Dr. Watson is Board Chairman of the Barnes Foundation, the world-renowned art collection in Philadelphia. Until 2004, he was a Presidential Scholar at Temple University, an appointment made following his retirement as President and Chief Executive Officer of the William Penn Foundation. He also had a distinguished career as an educator, as a teacher and administrator in Indiana public schools, Deputy Superintendent of Philadelphia public schools, and Professor of Urban Studies and Urban Education and Academic Vice President of Temple University. He was appointed by three U.S. presidents to educational initiatives and has served on numerous boards including as Senior Vice Chairman of the National Urban League and Chairman of Philadelphia’s Avenue of the Arts, Inc. and the Healthcare Management Alternatives Foundation. The author of three books, Dr. Watson has received more than 100 major awards including the prestigious Philadelphia Award, and he is the recipient of 23 honorary degrees.