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WFU awards honorary degrees to leaders in public service, medicine and business


May 17, 2010

Wake Forest University awarded four honorary degrees during its commencement ceremony May 17.  The morning ceremony featured a speech by Kenneth I. Chenault, the chairman and chief executive officer of American Express Company.

Following his address to approximately 1,500 Wake Forest graduates and an estimated 15,000 assembled guests, Chenault was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.

Chenault joined American Express in 1981. He was named president and chief operating officer in 1997 and assumed his current responsibilities as chairman and CEO in 2001—five months before a terrorist attack destroyed the American Express corporate offices in the World Trade Center.

He has been recognized for his public service leadership by a number of civic and social organizations. He serves on the boards of the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health, the National Center on Addiction & Substance Abuse at Columbia University, the Smithsonian Institution's Advisory Council for the National Museum of African American History & Culture, the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation and several other companies and organizations.

Jeanette Wallace Hyde, former U.S. ambassador to Barbados, Grenada and several other countries, was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.  Hyde received the University’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 1995.

Thomas Spencer Inui, president and chief executive officer of Regenstrief Institute, Inc., the Sam Regenstrief Professor of health services research, and the associate dean for health care research at the Indiana University School of Medicine, was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science degree.  Under his leadership, the Regenstrief Institute has become a world-recognized leader in care delivery, medical informatics and aging research.

The Right Honorable Nicholas, Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, is the president of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.  He will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.  Lord Phillips, one of the most famous and important figures in British law, delivered the address at the School of Law's Hooding Ceremony on May 16.  He was named the first president of the new United Kingdom Supreme Court in 2009. Previously, he had served in a number of positions, including Judge of the High Court of Justice, Queen's Bench Division; Lord of Appeal; Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales; and Senior Lord of Appeal in Ordinary.

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Kenneth I. Chenault, Doctor of Laws

Sponsor: William E. Conner, B.A., M.S., Ph.D., Scott Faculty Fellow and Professor of Biology

Jeanette Wallace Hyde, Doctor of Laws

Sponsor: Sandra Combs Boyette, B.A., M.Ed., M.B.A., Senior Advisor to the President, Office of the President

Thomas Spencer Inui, Doctor of Science

Sponsor: Burton V. Reifler, M.P.H., M.D., Interim Chair, Department of Physician Assistant Studies and Senior    Advisor to the Dean of Wake Forest University School of Medicine

Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, Doctor of Laws

Sponsor: Robert K. Walsh, B.A., J.D., Dean Emeritus and Professor of Law, School of Law

Press Contacts:

Cheryl Walker
(336) 758-5237


Ellen Sterner Sedeno
(214) 546-8893


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