May 21, 2009

Candidates for Honorary Degrees

The College will recognize four distinguished leaders at the 174th Commencement
Candidates for honorary degrees at the 174th Commencement are pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Benjamin S. Carson Sr., who will deliver the Commencement address (Doctor of Science); Elliot J. Sussman, president and chief executive officer of Lehigh Valley Health Network (Doctor of Public Service); Nechama Tec, Holocaust scholar and author (Doctor of Humane Letters); and Riley K. Temple ’71, a principal in the Washington, D.C., strategic consulting firm Temple Strategies (Doctor of Laws).
BENJAMIN SOLOMON CARSON SR. is the director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, a position he has held since 1984 when, at the age of 33, he became the youngest physician ever at Johns Hopkins to head a major division. Sought around the world for his innovative and groundbreaking neurosurgeries, he performs more than 300 operations on children each year.

In June 2008, Carson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award, by President George W. Bush in a ceremony at the White House. In February 2009, President Bush presented him the Lincoln Medal, awarded by Ford’s Theatre to individuals who exemplify the accomplishments and character of Abraham Lincoln.

In 2000, the Library of Congress honored Carson with its Living Legend Award in connection with its bicentennial celebration; in 2004, President Bush appointed him to serve on the President’s Council on Bioethics; and in 2006, the NAACP awarded him its highest honor, the Spingarn Medal.

Carson’s first book, the memoir Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story, was the inspiration for Turner Network Television’s original movie of the same name, which debuted in February. His second and third books, Think Big and The Big Picture, also were best sellers. His latest book, published last year, is Take the Risk: Learning to Identify, Choose, and Live with Acceptable Risk. Carson also has authored more than 100 neurosurgical publications.

Carson earned his doctor of medicine degree at the University of Michigan and holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Yale University. Having risen from poverty to achieve success, Carson has dedicated himself to providing opportunity and motivation to young people. He and his wife, Candy, founded the Carson Scholars Fund to recognize and reward students in grades 4 through 11 who strive for academic excellence and demonstrate a strong commitment to their community. Carson also co-founded Angels of the OR, which provides grants to assist families with non-covered medical-care expenses.

ELLIOT JAY SUSSMAN has served since 1993 as president and chief executive officer of Lehigh Valley Health Network, a comprehensive, integrated health-care network that includes three hospitals, 400 employed physicians, 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 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 doctor of medicine degree at 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.

Sussman is a trustee of Lehigh Valley Health Network, ICAD Inc., Lehigh University, Universal Health Realty Income Trust, and several nonprofit organizations in the Lehigh Valley.

NECHAMA TEC, 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.

Tec is the author of Defiance: The Bielski Partisans, upon which the current movie Defiance is based. 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.

A native of Lublin, Poland, Tec left her hometown in 1942, at age 11, and lived for three years under an assumed Christian identity during the German occupation of Poland. Her parents and sister also survived the war with the aid of Catholic Poles. Her book Dry Tears: The Story of a Lost Childhood is an account of her life from 1939 to 1945, and another book, When Light Pierced the Darkness: Christian Rescue of Jews in Nazi-Occupied Poland, examines the phenomenon of Christian Poles who risked their own lives to save the lives of Jews. Both volumes received the Merit of Distinction Award from the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith.

Tec holds a bachelor of arts, a master of arts, and a doctorate in sociology from Columbia University. She was appointed to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum Council by President George W. 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.

Her books have been translated into Dutch, French, Hebrew, German, Italian, and Polish. In The Lion’s Den: The Life of Oswald Rufeisen received the Christopher Award and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. Resilience and Courage: Women. Men, and the Holocaust received the National Jewish Book Award and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award.

RILEY KEENE TEMPLE, a member of Lafayette’s Class of 1971, is a principal in the strategic consulting firm Temple Strategies, Washington, D.C. He also is a candidate for a master’s degree in theology at Virginia Theological Seminary and is a Bishop John L. Payne Scholar there.

Temple Strategies was previously known as Halprin Temple, a telecommunications law firm that Temple founded in 1993, representing clients before Congress, the Federal Communications Commission and Executive Branch agencies. Temple 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.

An American civilization major at Lafayette, Temple earned his law degree at Georgetown University. He was a member of Lafayette’s Board of Trustees from 1994 to 2008, when he retired and was elected Trustee Emeritus. He became secretary of the Board in 2000 and was named vice chair in 2007. In 2004, he 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 Grounds and Buildings and Athletics and Student Affairs.

In 2008, the Lafayette Alumni Association presented Temple with the Joseph E. Bell ’28 Award for distinguished service to the College. He 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 supports students taking interim-session courses abroad. Temple 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. 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 is president of the board of True Colors Theatre Company, Atlanta, Ga., a national black theater company which he co-founded, and past president of Arena Stage, Washington, D.C. He is a member of the Community and Friends Board of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and other boards.

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.

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