Purdue to award 10 honorary doctorates during spring commencement

May 1, 2013  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University will award 10 honorary doctorate degrees during commencement ceremonies this spring.

Nine of the honorary doctorates will be presented during ceremonies May 10-12 in the Elliott Hall of Music on the West Lafayette campus. Another will be presented May 12 during the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis ceremony at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis.

The 2013 honorees include:

W. Dwight Armstrong of Indianapolis, who is CEO at the National FFA Organization. Armstrong served on the faculty at North Carolina State University in the Animal Sciences Department from 1975-82. In 2008, he retired from Provimi and started his own consulting business with a focus on animal nutrition and agribusiness. In 2009, Armstrong joined the National FFA Organization as its chief operating officer and was later named CEO. Armstrong will receive a doctor of agriculture degree at 9:30 a.m. May 11.

Kathy (Fitchey) Calvin of Ellicott City, Md., who is president and CEO of the United Nations Foundation. Calvin joined the foundation as chief operating officer in 2003, was promoted to CEO in 2009, and was named president and CEO in 2013. Prior to joining the UN Foundation, she was president of the AOL Time Warner Foundation where she guided AOL Time Warner's philanthropic activities and was the chief architect of the company's corporate responsibility initiatives. In 2011, Calvin was named one of Newsweek's "150 Women Who Rock the World," and in 2012, she was listed in Fast Company's "League of Extraordinary Women." Her innovative work in the philanthropy and international non-governmental organizations sector was featured by the New York Times in 2011. She will receive a doctor of social sciences degree at 2:30 p.m. May 12.

Jane Chance of Galveston, Texas, who is the Andrew W. Mellon Distinguished Professor Emerita of English at Rice University in Houston. She taught medieval literature, medievalism, and the study of women and gender there from 1973 - when she became the first tenure-track woman to teach in her department - until 2011. She also taught at the University of Saskatchewan-Saskatoon and was an honorary research fellow at University College, University of London. She has published 22 books and more than 100 articles, reviews and poems - many of them reprinted. She will receive a doctor of letters degree at 2:30 p.m. May 12.

Juan Ernesto de Bedout of Atlanta, Ga., who is the former group president of Latin American Operations, Kimberly-Clark Corp. He has also held leadership roles at VF Corp. and Colombiana de Tabaco. He led the formation of Latin America's first Blue Ocean Strategy Institute in São Paulo, Brazil. Since retiring as an officer of the corporation in 2011, he has been serving as senior consultant, sitting on the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Africa leadership board, and as adviser to the newly formed Global Innovation Center in Colombia. De Bedout is chair of Purdue's Engineering Advisory Council and a member of the Industrial Engineering Advisory Council. He helped launch the Colombia-Purdue Institute for Advanced Scientific Research, promoting mutually beneficial initiatives aligned with Colombia's strategic priorities and Purdue's strengths. He will receive a doctor of engineering degree at 2:30 p.m. May 11.

Anthony "Tony" Harris of Alameda, Calif., who is president and CEO of Campbell/Harris Security Equipment Co. (CSECO), a manufacturer of contraband, explosives and "dirty bomb" detection equipment. The company's primary customers include the U.S. State Department, the Department of Homeland Security, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. He is a founder of the National Society of Black Engineers and currently serves as chair of its national advisory board. Harris is a member of the Executive Leadership Council, and he serves on the board of directors of the SFJAZZ Center Foundation and the One Pacific Coast Bank Advisory Board. He will receive a doctor of engineering degree at 2:30 p.m. May 11.

Vice Adm. Gerald L. Hoewing of Pensacola, Fla., who was the 53rd chief of naval personnel. Hoewing received his commission in May 1971 through the NROTC Scholarship Program and was designated a naval aviator in August 1972. He served with Attack Squadrons 147, 122 and 94, and completed several western Pacific deployments aboard USS Constellation (CV 64) and USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63). In 1993, he assumed command of the fast combat logistics support ship USS Seattle (AOE 3), deploying to the Mediterranean in support of the USS Theodore Roosevelt battle group. In January 1995, he became the 20th commanding officer of USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67). He later served as the senior military assistant to the under secretary of defense for personnel and readiness in Washington, D.C. In 2002, Hoewing assumed the duties of chief of naval personnel/deputy chief of naval operations (manpower and personnel). He will receive a doctor of education degree at 9:30 a.m. May 11.

Laurence H. Hurley of Tucson, Ariz., who is the Howard J. Schaffer Endowed Chair in Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Arizona, Tucson. Hurley, the scientific founder of Cylene Pharmaceuticals and of TetraGene, has served on the faculties at the universities of Maryland, Kentucky and Texas at Austin. His current research interests are in the areas of design and development of antitumor agents. In cooperation with the biopharmaceutical industry, several drugs developed from these studies have been evaluated in phase I and phase II clinical trials, and one is now approved for cancer treatment. He will receive a doctor of science degree at 2:30 p.m. May 12.

David S. Leckrone of Silver Spring, Md., who worked as an astrophysicist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center for 40 years before retiring. For more than three decades, he served in various scientific leadership roles on the Hubble Space Telescope Project. From 1992 to 2009, he was Hubble's senior project scientist. He provided scientific leadership for all aspects of the Hubble program, including program management, spacecraft and science operations, development of new scientific instruments and in-orbit servicing. From 2003-06, he was the chief scientist for the newly formed NASA Engineering and Safety Center, which was organized in response to the loss of Shuttle Columbia. He is an internationally recognized and widely published authority on ultraviolet astronomy, spectroscopic analysis of stellar atmospheres, and the abundances of the chemical elements in both normal and chemically peculiar stars. He will receive a doctor of science degree at 8 p.m. May 10.

Chris Stout of Kildeer, Ill., who is the founding director of the Center for Global Initiatives and a licensed clinical psychologist. Stout has been involved in multiple start-ups including financial management, health-care centers, engineering, two dot-coms, real estate, and consulting. He is a clinical professor in the College of Medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and adviser to their Center for Global Health. He is a Fellow in the School of Public Health and holds an academic appointment in the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. He has also been a visiting professor at Rush University. He will receive a doctor of technology degree at 3:30 p.m. May 12 at an IUPUI commencement ceremony.

Thomas S. Wilmeth of Daingerfield, Texas, who is chairman of Scot Industries. Wilmeth is a lifelong entrepreneur. He has been recognized by Purdue for his understanding and appreciation for the need to use published research outside of academe to advance industrial methods and to create new engineering processes and technological applications. In 1949, Wilmeth and his younger brother, Harvey, started Scot Industries Inc., in Milwaukee. Over the past 45 years, Wilmeth and his son, Steven, have built an international business with 11 plants. He has been a longtime supporter through his philanthropy of the goals of the Purdue University Libraries. He remains chairman of Scot Industries at age 99. He will receive a doctor of engineering information literacy at 2:30 p.m. May 11. 

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

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

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