Purdue to award 6 honorary degrees during commencement

April 26, 2011

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue will award six honorary doctoral degrees during May commencement ceremonies at the West Lafayette and Indianapolis campuses.

Five of the recipients will be honored during ceremonies May 13-15 in Purdue's Elliott Hall of Music in West Lafayette. One will be presented during an Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis commencement ceremony at 3:30 p.m. May 15 in halls A, B and C of the Indiana Convention Center, Indianapolis.

Among this year's honorees is Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger," who also will address students during the 9:30 a.m. May 15 ceremony in West Lafayette.

The 2011 West Lafayette honorees include:

* Hugh B. Lewis of Vancouver, Wash., a certified veterinary clinical pathologist who has been a leader in instituting change in veterinary education throughout the United States. Lewis is retired senior vice president of practice development for MMI/Banfield, The Pet Hospital™. He previously was dean of Purdue's School of Veterinary Medicine and before that had served as senior director of pathology and toxicology at Smith, Kline & French Laboratories in Philadelphia. Lewis is recognized nationally and internationally as an authority in comparative hematology. While at Smith, Kline and French Laboratories, he was instrumental in the development of several major drugs for use in human patients including Tagamet®, which was a breakthrough in the treatment of gastric ulcers. His doctor of science degree will be awarded at 9:30 a.m. May 14.

* Aelred J. Kurtenbach of Brookings, S.D., who is co-founder of Daktronics Inc. and serves as chairman of the board of directors. Since its founding in 1968 and under his leadership, the company has grown to one of the world's largest suppliers of electronic scoreboards, large screen video boards, and large computer-programmable displays. Some of Daktronics' more famous works consist of the Coca-Cola Spectacular in Times Square, signs for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, and several scoreboards for Kurtenbach's alma mater, Purdue, including the four-sided custom video display in Mackey Arena. His doctor of engineering degree will be awarded at 8 p.m. May 13.

* Za-lee Moh of Taipei, Taiwan, who is founder and chairman emeritus of Moh and Associates Inc., a leading Asian engineering and consulting service provider. The company - now employing more than 800 people in Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Taipei, Bangkok, and Singapore - operates as part of MAA. He is a leading expert in infrastructure design, and his achievements include design and consultation on bridges and structures around the world. His doctor of engineering degree will be awarded at 8 p.m. May 13.

* Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger of Danville, Calif., is the pilot who in January 2009 landed a damaged US Airways aircraft on the Hudson River and saved the lives of 155 people. Captain of what has been dubbed the "Miracle on the Hudson," Sullenberger is an aviation safety expert and accident investigator who also is the founder and chief executive officer of Safety Reliability Methods, a consulting company dedicated to management, safety, performance, and reliability consulting. His doctor of letters degree will be awarded at 9:30 a.m. May 15.

* JoAnn Suzich of Washington Grove, Md., who is a leading scientist and researcher in biochemistry and has played a critical role in the advancement and treatment of health issues affecting women and children. She is vice president of research and development at MedImmune, where she is responsible for overseeing the company's research in the development of antibodies and antibody-like molecules for the prevention and treatment of infectious disease. In addition, she recently assumed responsibility for MedImmune's research on novel vaccines. Her leadership has helped build MedImmune from a fledgling company with four employees, founded by fellow Purdue alumnus Wayne Hockmeyer, to an international biotechnology company with more than 3,000 employees worldwide. Her doctor of agriculture degree will be awarded at 2:30 p.m. May 15.

The IUPUI honoree is:

* Avner Friedman of Columbus, Ohio, who is the Distinguished University Professor of Mathematics and Physical Sciences at Ohio State University. His primary field of research is partial differential equations, with interests in stochastic processes, mathematical modeling, free boundary problems, and control theory. He has had a significant impact on the field of mathematics and its applications in academia, industry and society through his scientific and professional activities. His doctor of science degree will be awarded at 3:30 p.m. May 15 during the IUPUI commencement ceremony in Indianapolis. 

Writer:  Jim Bush, 765-494-2077, jsbush@purdue.edu 

Source:  Barbara Leonard, 765-494-2972, bhleonard@purdue.edu

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'Hero of Hudson' Sullenberger to speak at Purdue commencement