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May 19, 2012

Four Distinguished Leaders Receive Honorary Degrees at 177th Commencement

Four distinguished leaders received honorary degrees at the 177th Commencement.

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From left: John and Marianne Loose, President Daniel Weiss, Garry Marshall, Barry Sleckman ’83, Edward W. Ahart ’69, chair of the Board of Trustees, and Nancy J. Kuenstner, secretary of the Board of Trustees.

From left: John and Marianne Loose, President Daniel Weiss, Garry Marshall, Barry Sleckman ’83, Edward W. Ahart ’69, chair of the Board of Trustees, and Nancy J. Kuenstner, secretary of the Board of Trustees.

President Daniel H. Weiss conferred the honorary degrees upon Commencement speaker Garry Marshall, an award-winning television and film director, writer, producer, and actor; John and Marianne Loose, the founders of Lauren’s First and Goal Foundation, and Barry Sleckman ’83, a noted immunologist at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Read about the honorands

The citations are below.

JOHN AND MARIANNE LOOSE, the nonprofit foundation you createdLauren’s First and Goalattests to the extraordinary difference that two humble, unassuming individuals can make when they decide to face an extreme personal challenge by embracing it as an opportunity to help others.

You have said that oftentimes it is the “smallest of people” who inspire “big change.”  Motivated by the hugs, heart, courage, and resilient example of your daughter, Lauren, and powered by the energy and commitment of hundreds of college coaches and other volunteers, your foundation has raised more than $1.5 million since 2004 to advance pediatric brain tumor research and cancer services and to support and assist families living with pediatric cancer.

Together, the two of you have created what you refer to as a “circle of strength and hope,” the dedicated team of volunteers and other supporters within the local community and across the nation who are enabling you to do enormously importantindeed, transformativework.  You and your family are an inspiration to us all.

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 PUBLIC SERVICE, 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.

GARRY KENT MARSHALL, Richard Gere introduced you to the Dalai Lama by saying “Your holiness, this is one of the funniest men you’ll ever meet.” For your countless admirers, however, no introduction is necessary.

The recipient of a drum set when you were five, you developed a keen sense of rhythm at an early age; even in high school and college you hit your punch lines with a percussionist’s sizzle and snap.  You sharpened your timing and talent by writing for Lucille Ball, Danny Thomas, and other stars of the golden era of television comedy and then went on to have a remarkable career both behind and in front of the camera in television and filmand, more recently, in theater.

Few people in the entertainment field have had this kind of impact.  But what truly sets your work apart is the uplifting spirit that animates it.  Your goal was never to change the world, you have said; you simply wanted to entertain the world.  And you are proud to have achieved that goal through wit, not mockery.

For more than five decades, you have always worked with a purpose.  And in the process of making us laugh, you continue to remind us of the enduring power of Happy Days and happy endings.

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 ARTS, 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.

BARRY PAUL SLECKMAN, Class of 1983, as a Lafayette undergraduate you flourished under the guidance of faculty and alumni mentors, individuals you credit with instilling in you “a perseverance and a set of values” that ensured your academic success and that continue to anchor and enrich your professional life as a leader in the field of DNA damage and repair.

Now a distinguished researcher and an award-winning professor yourself and the chief of the Division of Laboratory and Genomic Medicine at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and associate director of the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center, you have kept mentoring central to your work.  When you were appointed the Conan Professor of Pathology and Immunology, one colleague praised you as “a fantastic leader with vision and enthusiasm” and then added that your “commitment to the training of students and residents also stands out as a true strength.”  Among the most memorable lessons you teach young medical students is that, in your words, “they have a responsibility to make their profession better, whether it’s through improving patient care, furthering understanding of diseases through basic research, or driving important health-related public policy.”

With dedication, skill, and compassion you model the very best practices of your profession.  These practices honor the core of our humanity and repay the priceless gift you received from your Lafayette mentors by passing it forward through your students.

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 SCIENCE, 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.

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  1. [...] President Weiss’ speech Read about the honorands Read the citations Caitlin Flood '12 gives her farewell [...]

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