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Three Distinguished DePauw Alumni to Receive Honorary Degrees at May's Commencement

March 14, 2008

debbie bial rgb.jpgMarch 14, 2008, Greencastle, Ind. - Three distinguished graduates of DePauw -- Carolyn T. Jones '58, George A. Purnell '71 and Douglas A. Smith '68 -- will receive honorary doctoral degrees at the University's 169th annual commencement on Sunday, May 18. The ceremony is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. on the lawn of historic East College (weather permitting).

In addition, as previously announced, Posse Foundation founder Deborah Bial will be presented with the McNaughton Medal for Public Service. Bial will provide the commencement address to graduates, along with DePauw DePauw Seal.jpgPresident Robert G. Bottoms, who is stepping aside at the end of the current academic year to become Chancellor of the University and director of the Janet Prindle Institute for Ethics. (top photo: President Bottoms with Debbie Bial on May 20, 2000, when she was awarded an honorary Doctor of Public Service degree)

"One of the defining characteristics of DePauw University is the tremendous loyalty to the institution that its graduates demonstrate throughout their lives," says Dr. Bottoms. "It is a joy and an honor to recognize three carolyn jones 58.jpgDePauw alumni who have had an impact on the world at large and continue to contribute to the vibrancy of their alma mater."

Carolyn T. Jones, associate executive vice president for academic affairs emerita at Purdue University, will be presented with an honorary Doctor of Pedagogy degree for her many contributions to academia over a 45-year career. A school teacher for several years, after earning advanced degrees Jones began a long career as a college administrator with an appointment as assistant dean of women at Albion College. She was named george purnell.jpgAlbion's dean of women the next year, and in 1969 moved to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In 1971, Jones became assistant dean of women in Purdue University, which she served until her retirement in 2002.

The Reverend George A. Purnell, senior pastor at the Bloomington (Indiana) First United Methodist Church, will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree. A political science major at DePauw, Purnell completed a master's degree in public administration at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and earned a master of divinity degree from Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis. Purnell was ordained a United Methodist deacon in 1987, and in 1989 was ordained an elder.

Doug Smith HDeg.jpgDouglas A. Smith, chairman and chief executive officer of Value Creation Partners and Best Brands Corporation, will receive an honorary Doctor of Business Administration degree. An economics major at DePauw, Smith has worked in the food business for nearly 40 years, leading several national/interntional companies. Last month, Doug Smith taught DePauw students in a Winter Term course on "The Pursuit of Happiness." He is also writing a book on "Abundant Leadership" and serving as a consultant to other CEOs, working "to dramatically enhance how people lead, communicate and work together." Smith has also served as a member of the Robert C. McDermond Center for Management and Entrepreneurship Board of Advisers.

Deborah Bial founded the Posse Foundation, which identifies, Debbie Bial 3.jpgrecruits, and trains student leaders from urban public high schools to form multicultural teams called "posses." Following an intensive eight-month recruitment and pre-college training program the teams enroll at top-tier colleges and universities nationwide to pursue their academics and help promote cross-cultural communication. In addition to New York, where Posse is headquartered, there are sites in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C. DePauw has been a Posse partner since 1996.

Learn more about Bial and this year's commencement ceremony in this previous story or at the official 2008 commencement Web site.

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