Sen. Richard G. Lugar of Indiana gave the commencement address to Franklin & Marshall College students on May 14, 2011, at 10 a.m. He and four other individuals distinguished in community service, human rights, medicine and sustainable agriculture received honorary doctorates at the 2011 commencement ceremony.
Honoree degrees were awarded to:
- Akin Adesina, Ph.D., P’08, agricultural economist and leader in the Green Revolution in Africa: Doctor of Humane Letters
- Eugene Braunwald, M.D., G'11, cardiologist, founder of TIMI Study Group and professor of medicine: Doctor of Science
The U.S. Senate's most senior Republican, Lugar was first elected to the office in 1976 and won a sixth term in 2006 with 87 percent of the vote. He is perhaps best known for building bipartisan support in the Foreign Relations Committee, for which he is currently the ranking member. In 1991, he helped create the Nunn-Lugar program to reduce the threat of nuclear weapons to the U.S. and to deactivate nuclear warheads from the former Soviet Union. He continued this mission by leading Republican support for the successful passage of New START, a nuclear-reduction treaty with Russia.
Lugar also built bipartisan support as chairman of the Agriculture Committee to reform 1930s-era federal farm programs, and he proposed, with three other senators, the Lugar Energy Initiative, a national energy policy meant to reduce the country's need for foreign oil, Americans' spending on energy, and U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. His balanced approach to foreign and domestic affairs is the hallmark of his career. His is a voice of bipartisan cooperation in a time of political incivility.
A 1954 graduate of Denison University and a Rhodes Scholar, Lugar volunteered for the U.S. Navy in 1957. He serves as a board member of Denison University and of the International Foundation for Electoral Systems. In addition to his senatorial work, Lugar manages his family's 604-acre corn, soybean and tree farm in Marion County, Ind. He and his wife, Char, enjoy four sons and 13 grandchildren.
Akinwumi Adesina is a scholar of African agriculture, economics and development, and a tireless champion of the Agricultural Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), which boosts food security for the continent. A citizen of Nigeria, Adesina was recently appointed by the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, as one of 17 world leaders who will help to galvanize international support for the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. The eight goals aim to improve dramatically the lives of the world’s poorest people by 2015.
As vice president for policy and partnerships for AGRA, Adesina fosters cooperation among African governments, donors, farmers’ organizations and the private sector to stimulate agricultural growth and to unlock new opportunities for farmers. Before joining AGRA in 2008, Adesina was associate director for food security at the Rockefeller Foundation for more than a decade. He has held senior scientific positions within the international agricultural research centers of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, including the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture, West Africa Rice Development Association and the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics. He is also the current president of the African Association of Agricultural Economists.
Last year, Adesina won the Borlaug CAST Communications Prize for his passion and dedication to agricultural research and technology. He was awarded the Yara Prize in 2007 for his pioneering work developing rural agro-dealer networks that help make supplies more affordable to millions of small-scale farmers across the continent. He is currently working on innovative ways to leverage billion of dollars in affordable credit for African small-scale farmers through public and private partnerships. Adesina received a doctorate in agricultural economics from Purdue University, where he won the Outstanding Ph.D. Adesina has published extensively in international journals and books on reducing poverty and hunger in Africa. Adesina’s son, Oluwarotimi, is a 2008 graduate of Franklin & Marshall College.
Dr. Eugene Braunwald is arguably the most important cardiologist of the past half century. In 1971, he was the first doctor to realize that a heart attack is a progressive event, for which doctors could mitigate the patient's injury and prevent loss of life. This discovery launched an entire field of study and modern medicine's treatment of the heart. He directed the work that affirmed the value of "clot-busting" drugs to lessen the impact of heart attacks, and his research dramatically expanded our knowledge of congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease and valvular heart disease.
Dedicated to great teaching and great learning throughout his long and distinguished career, Braunwald serves at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston and is the Distinguished Hersey Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and vice president for academic programs at Partners HealthCare. He has trained thousands of cardiologists in the field, but he has educated thousands more through his extensive publication record and as primary editor of the definitive textbooks on internal medicine and cardiology.
Braunwald completed his residency at the Johns Hopkins Hospital after graduating first in his class at New York University School of Medicine. In 1996, Harvard created the Eugene Braunwald Professorship in Medicine, and in 1999 the American Heart Association established the annual Eugene Braunwald Academic Mentorship Award. He has three daughters and seven grandchildren, including Dana Braunwald Erines, a member of the Franklin & Marshall College class of 2011.
Chilean-American Ariel Dorfman is an author, human rights advocate and literary scholar. His books, written in both Spanish and English, have been translated into more than 40 languages and his plays performed in more than 100 countries. He is perhaps best known for his award-winning play Death and the Maiden, which premiered in London in 1991 and inspired a feature film directed by Roman Polanski. Dorfman is a prolific critic, essayist, librettist, novelist, poet and playwright and contributes to prominent newspapers and magazines worldwide.
Dorfman was a well-known intellectual and cultural advisor to President Salvador Allende, who was overthrown by General Pinochet's violent coup in 1973. While living in exile, he wrote about the bleakness of tyranny on behalf of the oppressed Chilean people. The 2007 film about his life, A Promise to the Dead: The Exile Journey of Ariel Dorfman, was shortlisted for the Academy Award and based on his best-selling memoir, Heading South, Looking North. In it, he documents “how we had dealt with our pain and overcome the legacy of terror…how I had personally dealt with the suffering, the rage, the need for reconciliation, the need never to forget."
He has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Academie Universelle des Cultures and holds numerous honorary degrees. As the Distinguished Professor of Literature and Latin American Studies at Duke University, Dorfman is a popular teacher who encourages his students to make the world a better place. In 2010 he was the first Latin American to present the Mandela Lecture in South Africa. In his speech, he said, “All humans hunger for flowers and fruit; they all ache to keep alive a hint of something that will grow in spite of the surrounding night of destruction.”
Donald K. Hess '52 is trustee emeritus of the college, former Peace Corps director and a retired university administrator. Hess spent two years as country director of the Peace Corps in Korea and was appointed to the position of director worldwide by President Richard Nixon in 1972. During his tenure, Hess initiated volunteer language and cross-culture training programs in the host countries taught by native residents. In addition to providing more realistic and effective training, the new program efficiently reduced costs.
After graduating from Franklin & Marshall with a degree in government, Hess earned a master's degree in public administration from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University and a degree in economics from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. He spent 21 years in Washington, D.C., and four of those years were at the Peace Corps. He eventually left Washington to work for the University of Rochester, where he served for nine years as vice president of campus affairs and for 13 years as vice president for administrative affairs. He retired from the university in 1996.
Hess has demonstrated a strong commitment to higher education throughout his life, and he has given back to Franklin & Marshall in a number of significant ways. He was president of the alumni board from 1981-1983 and received the alumni medal in 1986. In 1988, he was elected to the board of trustees, for which he chaired the 2001-02 presidential search committee that nominated John A. Fry for college president. Continuing his dedication to higher learning, Hess is a member of the board of directors of Associated Universities, Inc., a Washington-based organization with a mission to unite the resources of universities, research organizations and the federal government to develop cutting-edge scientific facilities.