Lafayette will award honorary doctorates to four distinguished leaders at the College’s 174th Commencement Saturday, May 23.
Information for parents on Commencement
Dr. Elliot J. Sussman, president and chief executive officer of Lehigh Valley Health Network, will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Public Service degree. Nechama Tec, Holocaust scholar and author, will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree. Riley K. Temple ’71, a principal in the Washington, D.C., strategic consulting firm Temple Strategies, will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.
The College previously announced that Dr. Benjamin S. Carson Sr., director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, will be the Commencement speaker. He will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Science 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, and will feature a sermon by John P. Colatch, Lafayette’s director of religious life and College chaplain. In case of rain, the ceremonies will be held in Allan P. Kirby Sports Center.
Sussman has served since 1993 as president and chief executive officer of Lehigh Valley Health Network, a comprehensive, integrated healthcare network that includes three hospitals, a 400-member employed physician group, and eight community health centers.
Under his leadership, the network has enjoyed its greatest period of growth. It is the largest employer in the Lehigh Valley, with more than 9,500 employees, and is a major a clinical affiliate of Pennsylvania State University’s College of Medicine, where Sussman also serves as the Leonard Parker Pool Professor of Health Systems Management, professor of medicine, and professor of public health sciences.
A national leader and champion of quality health care and patient safety, Sussman is chair of the board of the Association of American Medical Colleges. He is a former chair of the administrative board of the association’s Council of Teaching Hospitals and Health Systems and a member of the Society of Medical Administrators and the Healthcare Executives Study Society.
From 1989 to 1993, Sussman served as associate dean and associate professor of medicine in the Division of Biological Sciences and Pritzker School of Medicine at the University of Chicago. His professional experience also includes serving as executive director for clinical practices and associate professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and as associate administrator and director of the clinical effectiveness program at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.
Sussman earned his medical degree from Harvard Medical School. He was a fellow in general medicine and a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar at Penn and trained as a resident in internal medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Sussman also holds a master of business administration degree from the Wharton School at Penn. He earned a bachelor of arts degree magna cum laude at Yale University.
He is a trustee of Lehigh Valley Health Network, ICAD Inc., Lehigh University, and Universal Health Realty Income Trust, and several non-profit organizations in the Lehigh Valley.
Tec, a professor emerita of sociology at the University of Connecticut, Stamford, is an award-winning Holocaust scholar whose research and publications have concentrated on the intricate relationships among self-preservation, compassion, altruism, rescue, resistance, cooperation, and gender.
She is the author of Defiance: The Bielski Partisans, upon which the current movie Defiance is based. Published by Oxford University Press in 1993, the book was awarded the International Anne Frank Special Recognition Prize and first prize for Holocaust literature by the World Federation of Fighters, Partisans, and Concentration Camp Inmates.
Tec was born in Lublin, Poland, in 1931. In 1942, during the Nazi occupation of Poland, she left Lublin and went into hiding for three years, living under an assumed Christian identity. With the aid of Catholic Poles, her sister and parents also survived the war. Her third book, Dry Tears: The Story of a Lost Childhood (Oxford University Press, 1984), is an account of her life from 1939-45, and her fourth book, When Light Pierced the Darkness: Christian Rescue of Jews in Nazi-Occupied Poland (Oxford University Press, 1986), examines the phenomenon of Christian Poles who risked their own lives to save the lives of Jews. Both books received the Merit of Distinction Award from the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith.
Tec immigrated to the United States in 1952. She earned a B.A. and M.A. in sociology at Columbia University in 1954 and 1955, respectively. She became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1960. In 1963, she completed work on a Ph.D. in sociology from Columbia. She has been a faculty member at the University of Connecticut, Stamford, since 1974.
In 2002, Tec was appointed to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum Council by President Bush and serves on the academic advisory committee of the museum’s Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies. In 1997, she was a senior research fellow at the museum’s Miles Lerman Center for the Study of Jewish Resistance. In 1995, Tec was a scholar-in-residence at the International Institute for Holocaust Research at Yad Vashem, Jerusalem.
Tec’s books have been translated into Dutch, French, Hebrew, German, Italian, and Polish. In The Lion’s Den: The Life of Oswald Rufeisen (Oxford University Press, 1990) received The Christopher Award for affirming the highest values of the human spirit and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Resilience and Courage: Women. Men, and the Holocaust (Yale University Press, 2003) received the National Jewish Book Award and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award.
Also the co-editor of Every Day Lasts A Year: A Jewish Family’s Correspondence from Poland (Cambridge University Press, 2007) and the author of more than 70 scholarly articles, Tec lectures frequently at international and national meetings and conferences. She has been awarded funding for her research by the National Endowment for the Humanities, Social Science Research Council, Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture, and other organizations.
Temple’s firm, Temple Strategies, offers clients advice on federal and state policy, politics, and regulation. Temple Strategies was previously known as Halprin Temple, a telecommunications law firm founded by Temple in 1993. Temple has extensive experience in federal legislative, policy, and regulatory matters and represents telecommunications clients before Congress, the Federal Communications Commission and Executive Branch agencies. He is a former member of the federal advisory committee to the FCC on Diversity for Communications in the Digital Age and chaired its Subcommittee on New Technologies.
Temple served as a member of the Lafayette’s Board of Trustees from 1994-08, when he retired and was elected trustee emeritus. In 2000, he became secretary of the board after having served as vice chair of the trustees’ Committee on Educational Policy. He was named vice chair of the board in 2007. In 2004, Temple was chair of the search committee whose efforts culminated in the election of Daniel H. Weiss as Lafayette’s 16th president. Before becoming a trustee, Temple served as an alumni associate on the board’s committees on buildings and grounds and athletics and student affairs.
An American civilization major at Lafayette, Temple earned his law degree at Georgetown University. Before entering private law practice in 1985, he was assistant vice president for communications policy at Bell Communications Research, Inc. Prior to that, he served as assistant general counsel at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting; legislative assistant to U.S. Senator Charles McC. Mathias of Maryland; senior counsel to RCA Global Communications, New York City; and communications counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation;
Temple also has served as an Oliver Cromwell Cox lecturer at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.
In 2008, the Lafayette Alumni Association presented Temple with the Joseph E. Bell ’28 Award for distinguished service to the College. Temple endowed the David L., Sr. and Helen J. Temple Visiting Lecture Series Fund, which brings renowned artists for campus residencies, and the David L., Sr. and Helen J. Temple Study Abroad Fund, which provides stipends for students taking faculty-led courses abroad during interim session. The Riley Temple ’71 Creative/Artistic Citizenship Award is presented annually to a student whose creative scholarship in the visual and/or performance arts contributes to knowledge on societal issues of multicultural concern.
Temple has shared experiences and insights with Lafayette students as an alumni admissions representative, career planning mentor, and campus speaker. He was instrumental in the development of the McDonogh Report, which celebrates the contributions of African Americans to the Lafayette community. The Association of Black Collegians honored him with its David K. McDonogh Award in 2001.
Temple is a candidate for a master’s degree in theology at Virginia Theological Seminary and is a Bishop John L. Payne Scholar there.
The president of the board of trustees of True Colors Theatre Company, Atlanta, Ga., a national black theater company which he co-founded, he is past president of Arena Stage, Washington, D.C., and an honorary member of its board. He also is a member of the Community and Friends Board of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the boards of the Foundation for the National Archives, the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History, the Protestant Episcopal Cathedral Foundation, and the Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens Foundation.
Temple also has served on the boards of WETA, the public television station in Washington; the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia; the Ellington Fund of the Duke Ellington School of the Arts; Green Door Inc., a community program that prepares people with mental illness to work and live independently; the Corcoran Gallery of Art; and the D.C. Commission on National & Community Service.
Temple served as a member of the District of Columbia Bar’s Task Force on Sexual Orientation and the Legal Workplace and is a 1990 graduate of Leadership Washington. He was treasurer for the 1998 Jim Graham for Council campaign. He is an emeritus director of the Human Rights Campaign and the Washington Theatre Awards Society (the “Helen Hayes Awards”).
Temple was twice honored by the Whitman Walker Clinic for service as its board president and is the recipient of the Joseph Papp Racial Harmony Award from the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, Washington Life Magazine Substance & Style Award, Individual Arts Patron Founders Award from the Cultural Alliance of Greater Washington, and Mildred Claypoole Memorial Award for Community Service from the United Planning Organization.