Academic Ceremonies - Commencement
Honorary Degree Recipients
Five outstanding individuals will receive honorary degrees at the University of Vermont’s 205th commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 17. Recognized for their achievements and service to the nation, the State of Vermont, or the university are Howard Dean, Ben R. Forsyth, Anthony Marro, Gretchen B. Morse, and William Pickens III.
Commencement Speaker: Dr. Howard Dean served the State of Vermont as a six-term governor, 1991-2003, and served the Democratic National Committee as chair for the past four years. Dean took the national stage as a candidate during the 2004 presidential primaries, drawing wide voter interest early in the campaign with his strong stand against war in Iraq. Though his run for the nomination was not successful, the Dean campaign’s use of the Internet to build support revolutionized the use of technology in presidential campaigns. As chair of the DNC, Dean spearheaded the “50 State Strategy,” which sought to put grass-roots political organizations on even ground in American politics. This move is widely credited with helping the Democratic party gain seats in the Senate and the House and also with helping to elect the first African-American President of the United States. During his years as governor, Dean, a physician, led the effort to provide Vermont children and pregnant women with universal healthcare, creating a program that is among the legacies of his leadership in the state.
Dr. Ben R. Forsyth has served the University of Vermont as professor of medicine, senior vice president, trustee and advisor. He completed his medical training at New York University in 1957 and joined UVM College of Medicine in 1966. In addition to a distinguished career of teaching and research on infectious diseases, Forsyth has proved an invaluable administrator and mentor, including service from 1985-1990 as second-in-command to UVM president Lattie Coor. In 1990, he followed Coor to Arizona State University where Forsyth would serve as senior executive assistant and then provost. Forsyth’s service to UVM continued when he joined the university’s board of trustees from 1996 to 2002.
Anthony J. Marro, UVM Class of 1965, was an award-winning reporter and longtime editor of Newsday, one of the nation’s largest newspapers. His long career in journalism began at Marro’s hometown Rutland Herald, where he worked on the sports desk during his high school years. As a reporter for The New York Times and Newsweek during the Watergate years, Marro covered some of the era’s biggest stories from his Justice Department beat. Across decades at Newsday, Marro was a dogged reporter on investigative teams that won Pulitzers for Public Service Reporting in 1970 and 1974. He moved into the managing editor’s role in 1981 and six years later rose to editor, a post he held until his retirement in 2003. Newsday earned a dozen Pulitzer Prizes under Anthony Marro’s leadership.
Gretchen B. Morse, UVM Class of 1975, has spent 30 years in public service working to improve the health and well-being of Vermonters. As director of the United Way of Chittenden County for the past 18 years, Secretary of the Vermont Agency of Human Services from 1985 to 1991, and Vermont State Representative from 1977 to 1985, Morse worked to help countless numbers of residents in need and organizations dedicated to helping Vermonters improve their quality of life. In addition to serving as commissioner of the Vermont Commission on Women, Morse has served as a board member on a number of organizations including the Lake Champlain regional Chamber of Commerce; Vermont Health Foundation; Wake Robin; and Fletcher Allen Health Care.
William Pickens III is the founder and president of Bill Pickens Associates, Inc., an international consulting and executive search firm, and also the founding president and chief executive officer of the Paul Robeson Foundation. A 1958 graduate of the University of Vermont, he went on to build a successful career in business while simultaneously dedicating his efforts to public service. He was vice president for the National Committee on American Foreign Policy, where he led peacekeeping missions to South Africa and Northern Ireland, and was a founding trustee and secretary of the United States Japan Foundation. Mr. Pickens is a member and former director of the Executive Committee of the NAACP, which was co-founded by his grandfather in 1909.
Last modified May 03 2009 05:51 AM