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May 8, 2008

Lafayette Will Grant Four Honorary Degrees at 173rd Commencement

Recipients include Commencement speaker Juan Williams, Baccalaureate speaker Samuel T. Lloyd III, John A. Fry ’82, and Nicholas Katzenbach

Lafayette will award honorary doctorates to four distinguished leaders at the College’s 173rd Commencement Saturday, May 24.

John A. Fry ’82, president of Franklin & Marshall College, will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree. Nicholas Katzenbach, former attorney general of the United States, will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.

The College previously announced that journalist and author Juan Williams will be the Commencement speaker and receive an honorary Doctor of Journalism degree and that the Rev. Samuel T. Lloyd III, dean of Washington National Cathedral, will deliver the sermon at the annual Baccalaureate service and receive an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree.

Commencement will be held at 2:30 p.m. on the Quad. The academic procession will begin at 2:15 p.m. The Baccalaureate service will be held at 10:30 a.m. the same day, also on the Quad. In case of rain, the ceremonies will be held in Allan P. Kirby Sports Center.

Fry has served as the 14th president of Franklin & Marshall College since July 1, 2002. During his presidency, Franklin & Marshall has improved its admissions profile, lowered the student-faculty ratio, broadened the curriculum, and transformed the student residence environment into a college house system. New academic facilities and programs include a life sciences and philosophy building; an international center housing the international studies program, study abroad office, and international students office; a writers house; a center for Jewish life; and the Franklin & Marshall College Poll.

Fry has ensured Franklin & Marshall’s long-term growth and development and spurred revitalization of northwest Lancaster through public-private partnerships. On the College’s north campus, created through the acquisition of former industrial properties, land reuse to date includes housing for 350 students, retail establishments, a turf athletic field, and a tennis center.

Fry moved to Franklin & Marshall following seven years as executive vice president of the University of Pennsylvania, where he was responsible for all matters related to finance, investments, human resources, physical facilities, real estate, public safety, information systems and computing, auxiliary enterprises, technology transfer, corporate relations, internal audit, and compliance.

Fry helped develop and implement the plan that guided Penn’s strategic initiatives from 1996 to 2001, including a nationally recognized neighborhood revitalization of West Philadelphia. Faced with significant crime rates, deteriorating housing stock, and a lack of commercial amenities, Fry built a coalition of nonprofit, business, neighborhood, and governmental support for a multi-pronged strategy to address the key challenges facing the neighborhoods. As a result, residential property values have gone up significantly, the crime rate has been reduced by half, and hundreds of millions of dollars have been invested in commercial infrastructure and economic development.

An American civilization major at Lafayette, Fry received the George Wharton Pepper Prize, awarded annually to the senior “who most nearly represents the Lafayette ideal.” He was president of Student Government, head resident adviser, and a McKelvy House Scholar. In 1986, he earned a master of business administration degree from New York University’s Stern School of Business.

During his early professional life, Fry worked closely with premier colleges and universities, first with KPMG Peat Marwick in its educational consulting practice, and then with Coopers & Lybrand’s National Higher Education Consulting Practice, where he attained the rank of partner-in-charge of the national practice.

Fry is serving his second term as chair of the NCAA Division III Presidents Council. He was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve on the Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary Commission and was a co-chair of the transition team for Pennsylvania Governor-Elect Edward G. Rendell.

Katzenbach has distinguished himself as a courageous leader in government service and the private sector. At the U.S. Department of Justice in the 1960s he was, President Lyndon B. Johnson said, “one of the key participants in the inner councils of all the important decisions of the presidency” for six years.

President John F. Kennedy appointed Katzenbach assistant attorney general in 1961 and then deputy attorney general in 1962. In February 1965, Johnson named Katzenbach the nation’s 65th attorney general.

Katzenbach played a key role in the desegregation of the nation’s Southern universities. He was present during the 1962 riots at the University of Mississippi following the enrollment of James Meredith, the university’s first African American student. In 1963, he personally escorted James Hood and Vivian Malone, the first African American students to enroll at the University of Alabama, onto the Tuscaloosa campus.

He also played a key role in the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and helped draft the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which prohibited states from imposing racial barriers to voting. He twice defended the voting act’s constitutionality before the U.S. Supreme Court.

In October 1966, Katzenbach stepped down as attorney general and was named under secretary of state. He remained in that post, his last with the government, until 1969, when he joined IBM Corporation as senior vice president and general counsel. In 1986 he became a partner in the law firm of Riker, Danzig, Scherer, Hyland & Perretti, remaining until 1994. He was chairman of MCI from 2004 to 2006.

Last year, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund honored him with its Justice in Action Award for advancing social justice and creating lasting change.

After graduating from Phillips Exeter Academy in 1939, Katzenbach enrolled at Princeton University. In 1941, he enlisted in the Army Air Force and served until the end of the war, advancing to first lieutenant. He was a prisoner of war in Italy and Germany for two years. He was able to read so many books during his captivity that Princeton allowed him to graduate two years early, in 1945.

He earned a law degree from Yale University in 1947 and was a Rhodes Scholar at Balliol College, Oxford University, from 1947 to 1949. In 1950, he entered private law practice in Trenton, N.J., and served as attorney-advisor and consultant in the Office of the General Counsel to the Secretary of the Air Force, associate professor at Yale Law School, and professor of law at the University of Chicago before joining the justice department.

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