Purdue to award 7 honorary doctorates during spring commencement

May 2012

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University will award seven honorary doctorate degrees during spring commencement ceremonies May 11-13 in the Elliott Hall of Music on the West Lafayette campus.

Among the honorees are Purdue President France A. Córdova, whose term ends in July, and 2010 Nobel Prize in chemistry recipient Ei-ichi Negishi.

The 2012 honorees include:

* Robert M. Book of Carmel, Ind., who is a leader in agricultural marketing and president of AgriVista Inc. Book provides marketing services to agricultural and food processing companies. His agricultural industry career has spanned 60 years, and he has more than 35 years of active and reserve service in the U.S. Marines. Book traveled on trade missions to Europe and the Mediterranean and, during the Reagan administration, accompanied the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture on market development trips to Central and South America, Mexico, Korea, Japan, China, Poland, and the Soviet Union. Book will receive his doctor of agriculture degree at 2:30 p.m. May 12.

* Beth Brooke of Washington, D.C., the global vice chair of public policy at Ernst & Young. Brooke is a member of the firm's Global Executive Board and has public policy responsibility for the firm's operations in 140 countries. She worked two years for the U.S. Department of Treasury during the Clinton administration and served on the U.S. delegation to the 53rd and 54th United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. Brooke has been named four times to the list of Forbes World's 100 Most Powerful Women and was named 2009 Woman of the Year by Concern Worldwide. Brooke will be awarded her doctor of management degree at 2:30 p.m. May 12.

* Kathy Fitchey Calvin of Ellicott City, Md., who is the chief executive officer of the United Nations Foundation. The foundation advocates for the U.N. and connects people, ideas and resources to help the U.N. Calvin previously served as president of the AOL Time Warner Foundation, where she guided philanthropic activities and was the chief architect of the company's corporate responsibility initiatives, and as senior vice president and chief communications officer for America Online. Calvin was recognized in 2011 by Newsweek magazine as one of 150 Women Who Shake the World. She serves on Purdue's Foundation Development Council and was honored by Purdue in 2002 as a Distinguished Alumna of the College of Liberal Arts. She will be awarded a doctor of social sciences degree at 9:30 a.m. May 12.

* France A. Córdova of West Lafayette, Ind., who was appointed Purdue's 11th president on July 16, 2007. She has distinguished herself as a world-renowned scientist, educator and administrator. Before Purdue, Córdova was chancellor and distinguished professor of physics and astronomy at the University of California Riverside. She also was professor of physics and vice chancellor for research at the University of California Santa Barbara. From 1993-96 she was chief scientist at NASA. She is the winner of NASA's Distinguished Service Medal and was named a 2000 Kilby Laureate for "contributions to society through science, technology, innovation, invention and education." She will be awarded a doctor of science degree at 2:30 p.m. May 12.

* Ei-ichi Negishi of West Lafayette, Ind., who won the 2010 Nobel Prize for chemistry. Negishi, Purdue's H.C. Brown Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, is a pioneer in developing metal-based reactions, called palladium-catalyzed cross-coupling, that allow for easy and efficient synthesis of complex organic compounds. Negishi had worked with Brown, Purdue's first Nobel Prize winner, as a postdoctoral associate and then as an assistant. Negishi joined the Syracuse University faculty in 1972 before returning to Purdue in 1979, where he continues his work. He will receive his doctor of science degree at 2:30 p.m. May 12.

* Ben Pollard of Poway, Calif., a retired U.S. Air Force colonel who survived six years as a prisoner of war and went on to become commander of the Air Force Academy Preparatory School and co-led the academy's first class with women through their first summer training. In 1967 he was captured after being forced to eject from his fighter plane over North Vietnam. During captivity, he taught engineering and math courses to fellow POWs under crude and difficult circumstances. He was awarded the Silver Star by the president "for gallantry in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force" related to the mission during which he was captured. He also received a second Silver Star for meritorious service as a POW as well as two Purple Hearts. Pollard will be awarded a doctor of engineering degree at 8 p.m. May 11.

* Manju Sharma of New Delhi, India, the former secretary of the Department of Biotechnology of India and current president and executive director of the Indian Institute of Advanced Research. She is a renowned leader in promoting bioscience and technology in India and around the world. She has held various positions in the Indian government, including in the Department of Science and Technology, Planning Commission, Office of Scientific Adviser to the Prime Minister, and Department of Biotechnology. Sharma was the first female president of India's National Academy of Sciences. Sharma will be awarded a doctor of science degree at 2:30 p.m. May 12.

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

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

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