Purdue to award 9 honorary degrees during spring commencement

May 5, 2010

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University will award nine honorary doctoral degrees during May commencement ceremonies at the university's campuses in West Lafayette, Fort Wayne and Indianapolis.

Seven of the recipients will be honored during ceremonies May 14-16 in Purdue's Elliott Hall of Music in West Lafayette. One will be honored during an Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis commencement ceremony at 3:30 p.m. Sunday (May 9) in halls A, B and C of the Indiana Convention Center. One will be honored at the Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne commencement on May 12 at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum.

The 2010 honorees at West Lafayette ceremonies are:

* Robert D. Burke of Martinsville, Ind., who spent 33 years of a 38-year career at Pearson Hollowell Veneer Co. as head forester. He co-founded the Walnut Council, an organization that promotes the growth of black walnut and other hardwood trees and worked with U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar and Purdue professor Dennis LeMaster to establish the Hardwood Tree Improvement and Regeneration Center. His doctor of agriculture degree will be awarded at 8 p.m. May 14.

* Habil Khorakiwala of Mumbai, India, who in the 1960s founded Wockhardt Ltd., a small firm with 20 employees making over-the-counter medications that has grown into a global pharmaceutical and biotechnology company with more than 7,000 employees and 12 manufacturing plants around the world. His doctor of pharmacy degree will be awarded at 8 p.m. May 14.

* Christopher B. Burke of Naperville, Ill., who is founder and president of the Burke Group, which includes about nine companies and 400 employees in Indiana and Illinois and provides civil, municipal, traffic, construction, water resource, environmental, structural and mechanical engineering services. He is an author and instructor at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His doctor of engineering degree will be awarded at 9:30 a.m. May 15.

* Deborah L. Grubbe of Chadds Ford, Pa., who is owner and founder of the consulting firm Operations & Safety Solutions LLC. She was appointed 2010 chair of the Institute for Sustainability and serves on the NASA Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel. Her doctor of engineering degree will be awarded at 9:30 a.m. May 15.

* J. Timothy McGinley of Indianapolis, who served as U.S. deputy assistant of Labor from 1968-69, co-founded the Jonathan Group and founded House Investments and House Investments Securities Inc. He served on Purdue's board of trustees for 20 years, spending 16 of those as chairman. His doctor of engineering degree will be awarded at 9:30 a.m. May 15.

* Daniel C. Lewis of La Jolla, Calif., who retired in 2009 as senior partner at Booz & Co., the world's oldest management consulting firm, where he was vice president from 1984-98 and president of the worldwide commercial business from 1998 to 2008. His doctor of technology degree will be awarded at 2:30 p.m. May 15.

* Swaminathan Sivaram of Pune, India, who is director of India's National Chemical Laboratory, which employs more than 200 scientists and 450 graduates. Sivaram is an inventor and has 51 issued U.S. patents. His doctor of science degree will be awarded at 9:30 a.m. May 16.

IPFW will award one Purdue honorary doctoral degree during its May 12 commencement.

* Ronald E. Venderly of Fort Wayne, Ind., who began his career as a teacher and then spent 20 years as a stockbroker and vice president with Merrill Lynch and 13 years as a broker and vice president with Smith Barney before retiring in 2000. His Ronald E. Venderly Charitable Foundation Inc. has supported numerous community organizations since its founding in the 1990s. He will receive a doctor of letters.

IUPUI will award one Purdue honorary doctoral degree during its Sunday (May 9) ceremony.

* William M. Plater, who served the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign before joining Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis as professor, dean of the School of Liberal Arts and a graduate faculty member in 1983. During his 23-year career at IUPUI, he provided leadership in many administrative roles, including assistant dean, assistant director to the acting chancellor, dean of faculties and executive vice chancellor and played a pivotal role in the advancing the growth and quality of academic programs. He will receive a doctor of humane letters.

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

Source:  Mary King, 765-496-1074, king36@purdue.edu