News

May 24, 2008

Honorary Degree Citations

President Daniel H. Weiss conferred honorary degrees upon journalist Juan Williams, who delivered the Commencement address; the Rev. Samuel T. Lloyd III, dean of Washington National Cathedral; John A. Fry ’82, president of Franklin & Marshall College; and Nicholas Katzenbach, former attorney general of the United States, today at the 173rd Commencement.

The candidates were introduced by Alan R. Griffith ’64, chair of the Board of Trustees. Weiss read the citations.

JOHN ANDERSON FRY,

A park at the University of Pennsylvania was named in your honor to acknowledge your important contributions to the campus and community as Penn’s Executive Vice President. But you are not the type of leader who would spend much time relaxing on a Fry Park bench. As a comment from one of your Franklin & Marshall colleagues in a recent New York Times article indicates, “There are two speeds in Lancaster. . . . and Fry speed is fast.”

Through the aggressive timetable you have implemented during your six years as president, you have enhanced F&M’s selectivity, invigorated its programs, forged partnerships to accelerate progress, and enlarged the campus map. As you did at Penn, you have worked tirelessly within an academic setting to redefine “good neighbor” and “good neighborhood” and to build a more dynamic environment for learning and living. As chair of the NCAA Division III Presidents’ Council, you are addressing issues and challenges that are national in scope. Your alma mater has also benefited from your steadfast support.

You have called the liberal-arts experience – the type of education you received on this campus and that is offered by the college you now head – “the complete package.” This model of educational excellence is becoming even more distinctive and relevant through your strong and visionary leadership.

THEREFORE, by the authority granted by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to the Trustees of Lafayette College and by them delegated to me, I award you the degree of DOCTOR OF HUMANE LETTERS, honoris causa, with all the rights, honors, and privileges thereto appertaining, in token whereof I present you with this diploma and direct that you be vested in the hood emblematic of the degree.

May twenty-fourth
Two thousand and eight

Daniel H. Weiss, President

NICHOLAS deBELLEVILLE KATZENBACH,

The unassuming title of the lecture you delivered here at Lafayette this past fall, “Reflections on Race and Government,” gave no hint of the pivotal role you had played in advancing civil rights and civil liberties during your distinguished career in public service. A more accurate assessment (though one you would be too modest to make) would be “Justice in Action,” the name of the prestigious award you received last year from the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund.

During the turbulent 1960s you were instrumental in opening doors at the University of Alabama and the University of Mississippi and empowering disenfranchised citizens through your work on behalf of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights acts. In these and countless other instances during your service as Deputy Attorney General in the Kennedy administration and as Attorney General and Under Secretary of State during Lyndon Johnson’s presidency, you acted with courage, with character, and with conviction to uphold the noblest ideals of this nation and to achieve the highest purposes of our laws.

“Tolerance,” you have said, “is not a passive condition. It is a spirit and attitude of active inquiry, of testing one’s own views against those which are different and with which perhaps one disagrees.” Through the diligence with which you have dedicated yourself to the preservation of our identity as a free and open society, you have demonstrated the transformative power of that spirit.

THEREFORE, by the authority granted by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to the Trustees of Lafayette College and by them delegated to me, I award you the degree of DOCTOR OF LAWS, honoris causa, with all the rights, honors, and privileges thereto appertaining, in token whereof I present you with this diploma and direct that you be vested in the hood emblematic of the degree.

May twenty-fourth
Two thousand and eight

Daniel H. Weiss, President

SAMUEL THAMES LLOYD III,

Because a friend from academia had expressed bemusement upon learning that you were being “seated” as Dean of the Washington National Cathedral, you began your installation sermon by explaining the seating process. By the conclusion of your remarks, however, it was clear that your ministry would not be conducted “sitting down.” It was, you said, time “to stand up, to go to work.”

Your workplace is a great and glorious building that draws the eye from afar and inspires awe from within. But its power far exceeds its Gothic grandeur. Your aspiration as Dean is to see the Cathedral fulfill its potential to be “a voice of generous-spirited Christianity” and “a place of reconciliation in a very divided Episcopal church and a very divided nation.”

Leading by example, you have enhanced the Cathedral’s identity as a welcoming space and heightened its spiritual presence. Through thoughtful and compassionate preaching and steadfastly devoted stewardship, you have enlarged its mission. Yours is a ministry of hope, of comfort, of tolerance, and of healing. While remaining attentive to the Cathedral’s unique public purpose, including its growing role as a Church home for many Washingtonians, you have also made certain that it continues to sustain the quiet voice of private prayer.

THEREFORE, by the authority granted by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to the Trustees of Lafayette College and by them delegated to me, I award you the degree of DOCTOR OF DIVINITY, honoris causa, with all the rights, honors, and privileges thereto appertaining, in token whereof I present you with this diploma and direct that you be vested in the hood emblematic of the degree.

May twenty-fourth
Two thousand and eight

Daniel H. Weiss, President

JUAN ANTONIO WILLIAMS,

In your introduction to My Soul Looks Back in Wonder, a book that gives voice to some of the most poignant and powerful moments of the American civil rights movement, you write that, “No matter how momentous the issue, social transformation begins with individuals awakening to a new way of seeing the world.” In that book and elsewhere, including Eyes on the Prize, the acclaimed companion volume to the PBS series of that name, you have written movingly about Justice Thurgood Marshall, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and others whose vision of what’s possible is exceeded only by their determination to achieve it.

Your own keen eye and ear have been invaluable during this complicated primary season. Your commentaries and columns have helped focus and frame our thinking about the political, social, and cultural issues that are polarizing the nation. Your words have also challenged us to replace the paralyzing status quo with “new thinking” and new heroes and to create new avenues for diversity and access.

On this commencement afternoon, it is fitting for us to pay special tribute to the passion with which you champion education as the breakthrough force in social progress. You envision schools – in particular our nation’s primary and secondary schools – as places of inspiration and empowerment, as places where parents, children, and teachers share high expectations and celebrate high achievement. Above all, you value education as the foundation not only of opportunity but of leadership.

THEREFORE, by the authority granted by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to the Trustees of Lafayette College and by them delegated to me, I award you the degree of DOCTOR OF JOURNALISM, honoris causa, with all the rights, honors, and privileges thereto appertaining, in token whereof I present you with this diploma and direct that you be vested in the hood emblematic of the degree.

May twenty-fourth
Two thousand and eight

Daniel H. Weiss, President

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