Franklin & Marshall College Franklin & Marshall College

Commencement 2008 Honorees

Franklin & Marshall College’s President John Fry has announced that four individuals in the fields of public service, journalism, arts and education will receive honorary doctorates at the College’s 2008 Commencement Saturday, May 17, 2008.

The honorees and the degrees they will receive are as follows:

  • David Greene, Commencement Speaker and Doctor of Humane Letters
  • Ellen Arnold Groff, Doctor of Humane Letters
  • The Artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Doctor of Fine Arts
  • Robert Zemsky, Doctor of Humane Letters

 


David Greene, Commencement Speaker and Doctor of Humane Letters

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David Greene, NPR's White House correspondent, is a Lancaster native whose late mother, Terry R. Greene, was an associate professor of psychology at Franklin & Marshall College. 

Greene joined National Public Radio in 2005 as a White House correspondent. Lately, however, his reporting has focused almost exclusively on the presidential campaigns. He frequently travels with Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton on her campaign plane.

His presidential reporting has taken him to Iraq, South America, Asia and Europe and included the June 2006 trip to the Green Zone of Baghdad, kept secret until President George H. Bush was on the ground.

Greene has traveled with Vice President Dick Cheney to Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan and witnessed, with Cheney, the elected Afghan parliament convene for the first time since 1973.

He has also covered First Lady Laura Bush's 2005 trip to Botswana, South Africa, Tanzania and Rwanda. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Greene was aboard Air Force One with President Bush as he flew over the Gulf Coast surveying the storm's destruction.

Greene's coverage of the campaigns, the president, his policies, and people at the White House is heard on NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Weekend Edition, Day to Day, and Talk of the Nation programs.

A passionate Steelers fan, Greene spent much of his childhood in Pittsburgh. He holds a degree in government from Harvard, where he graduated magna cum laude in 1998. While in college, he began his career in journalism by serving as senior editor for the Harvard Crimson.

After graduation, he joined the Baltimore Sun, first working as a researcher in the Sun's Washington bureau, contributing to coverage of President Bill Clinton's impeachment trial.  He moved on to cover education from the paper's Carroll County office, and eventually began covering the White House during President George W. Bush's first term, including the president's response to the September 11 attacks and his management of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Greene also covered the president's 2004 re-election campaign.

In his free time, Greene has participated in the Coaching for College program, tutoring inner-city youth. He was named co-volunteer of the year for the program in 2004.


Ellen Arnold Groff, Doctor of Humane Letters

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Ellen Arnold Groff has been an art teacher, a special education teacher, a freelance designer and a vice president.  But to many she is known as a civic leader and arts patron whose commitment to Lancaster's cultural and community life has led to involvement in virtually every major cultural organization in the area, often with substantial contributions of time and energy, thus touching the lives of thousands who have never met her.

Groff holds a B.A. from William Smith College and has done graduate work at the University of Maine. She has served on numerous boards in various capacities, including as former president of the Board of Trustees of the Fulton Opera House, where she currently serves as a board member; as a board member of the Lancaster County Community Foundation; as Life Trustee, the Past Presidents Advisory Committee of the Lancaster Museum of Art; as a former vestry member, former senior warden, and co-chair of the 250th Anniversary Committee of St. James Episcopal Church; as co-chair of the Centennial Campaign for William Smith College; and on the Advisory Board of the Warfel Construction Company.

She has also supported the work of Hospice of Lancaster County, Lancaster Country Day School, the Women's Symphony Association, the Pennsylvania Academy of Music, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Samaritan Counseling Center, the Actors Company of Pennsylvania, the American Shaw Festival at Mt. Gretna (where she served as a founding board member), Lancaster's 250th Celebration, Leadership Lancaster, Lancaster's Downtown Task Force (where she served as chair of the arts and culture subcommittee), the Lancaster Town Fair, Leadership Council of the Lancaster Campaign, the Co-Motion Theater, the University of Archaeology and Anthropology and the United Way of Lancaster.

She was elected to the Franklin & Marshall Board of Trustees in 1994 and re-elected in 1999 and 2004, and is now retired from the Board as trustee emerita. She served on the executive, advancement, art collections and civic engagement committees.

She and her husband, Robert F. Groff Jr., owned and operated Groff Funeral Services for their entire careers until they sold the business in 1999. Founded by Fred F. Groff, her grandfather-in-law, Groff Funeral Services had been in the family for 100 years at the time of its sale.  With nine funeral homes, it was the largest funeral home business in Lancaster County. She served as vice president until she retired with the sale of the business.


The Artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Doctor of Fine Arts

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Christo and Jeanne-Claude are a married couple whose artistic collaboration spans five decades. Their environmental art is both visually impressive and sometimes controversial because of its scale.  For example, in 2005, their installation "The Gates" in Central Park, New York City, included 7,503 vinyl gates with free-flowing nylon fabric panels anchored to 15,006 steel bases on 23 miles of walkways. They have also "wrapped" buildings, coasts, floors and stairways with fabric and rope, and used brown wrapping paper, cotton drop cloths, concrete, steel, oil barrels, umbrellas and more in their works of art, which are often temporary installations.

Born Christo Javacheff in Gabrovo, Bulgaria, Christo studied at the Fine Arts Academy in Sofia, escaping from Prague to the West in early 1957.  His wife, Jeanne-Claude, was educated in France and Switzerland, earning degrees in philosophy and Latin from the University of Tunis.  The two met in Paris in 1958 and have worked together since collaborating on "Dockside Packages, Cologne Harbor, 1961."  At that time, the couple decided to use one name -- Christo.  Christo himself was the artist while Jeanne-Claude served as manager, art dealer, coordinator and organizer.  In 1994, they officially changed the artist name "Christo" into "the artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude."  In 1964, they immigrated, with their son Cyril, to New York, where they now reside.

In a 2002 interview, Jeanne-Claude noted that she and her husband wanted to create works "of joy and beauty." These words were echoed in a New York Times article about the Central Park installation "The Gates" when Michael Kimmelman called the work, "pure joy, a vast populist spectacle of good will and simple eloquence." Art critic David Bourdon has described Christo’s wrappings as "revelation through concealment."

The couple desires to have as much liberty as possible in creating their works, so they never accept sponsorships, commissions or public funds, which could come with strings attached.  Instead, the cost of their projects is covered by the sale of works of art and components of the works of art.  "I often say," Christo remarked in a 2002 interview, "our work is a scream of freedom."


Robert Zemsky, Doctor of Humane Letters

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Although trained as a historian, Robert Zemsky has spent his career at the University of Pennsylvania focusing on the puzzle of learning -- what kinds of institutions and strategies will best keep colleges and universities true to their missions while remaining market savvy.

He currently serves as chair of The Learning Alliance, a broad coalition of experts assisting institutions of higher learning in striking the balance between market success and public mission.

At Penn, Zemsky has been the university's chief planning officer, and served as master of Hill College House. For 20 years, he served as the founding director of the university's Institute for Research on Higher Education, one of the country's major public policy centers specializing in educational research and analysis. In his research, Zemsky pioneered the use of market analyses for higher education.

Something of a contrarian, Zemsky recently described himself in the Chronicle of Higher Education as being "old and round enough to be mistaken for a pooh-bah." He was a member of the Secretary of Education's National Commission on the Future of Higher Education. He has forcefully argued that colleges and universities need to be transformed from within. He has focused on what globalism might really mean for higher education, on what technology has not accomplished, and on how to make learning important in the higher education marketplace.

Zemsky has served as co-director of the National Center on the Educational Quality of the Workforce, as a senior scholar with the National Center for Postsecondary Improvement, as chair and convener of the Pew Higher Education Roundtable, and as senior editor for "Policy Perspectives," a publication of the Pew Higher Education Research Program. He served as a founding member of the National Advisory Board for the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) and is currently a trustee of Franklin & Marshall College, retiring this year.

Named in 1998 by Change magazine as one of higher education's top 40 leaders for his role as an agenda-setter, Zemsky is a former Woodrow Wilson Fellow and was a postdoctoral Social Science Research Council Fellow in Linguistics and later chair of that council's Committee on Social Science Personnel.

He is a frequent contributor to the Chronicle of Higher Education and the author of the book Remaking the American University: Market Smart and Mission Centered (Rutgers University Press, 2005).

In 1998 he received a Doctor of Humane Letters (Hon.) from Towson University.  He holds a B.A. from Whittier College, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Yale University.