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Honorary degree recipients named

This year's honorary degree recipients include commencement speaker and Washington Post Executive Editor Martin "Marty" Baron '76...


Lehigh President Alice P. Gast and the university’s Board of Trustees have announced that honorary degrees will be conferred on four individuals at commencement exercises on Monday, May 19.

In addition to the awarding of an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree to commencement speaker and Washington Post Executive Editor Martin “Marty” Baron ‘76, the following individuals will be honored at Lehigh’s 146th commencement ceremony:
 
  • Dr. Martha M. McCarthy, Presidential Professor of Educational Leadership at Loyola Marymount University, who will receive the honorary Doctor of Pedagogy degree.
  • Dr. Arvind Sharma, an author and internationally recognized scholar on Hinduism, comparative religion and the role of women in religion, who will receive the honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree. 
  • Daniel E Smith Jr. ‘71, a widely recognized pioneer and leader in the optical networking industry, who will receive the honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.
 
Sharma will also deliver the Baccalaureate address on Sunday, May 18th, in Packer Chapel. The title of Sharma’s talk will be “On Keeping an Open Mind.”

“We are pleased to recognize these admirable people in this way,” said Gast, “as they are each leaders in their fields whose lives and life’s work provide an inspiration to our graduates and to the entire community. I would like to thank the members of the Faculty Honorary Degree Committee for their dedicated work in selecting the honorees.”

Lehigh bestows honorary degrees to honor exceptionally accomplished individuals who epitomize the integrity, intelligence and creativity of Lehigh degree recipients. These special degrees bring honor to the institution and to the recipient.

Jesus Salas, who holds the Francis J. Ingrassia Professorship in the Perella Department of Finance and chairs the Honorary Degree Committee, said the 2014 recipients are “sought-after experts in the biggest topics of our generation: technology, religion, education and journalism." 
 
Reforming educational leadership

Martha M. McCarthy is a Presidential Professor at Loyola Marymount University, and her academic home is educational leadership in the School of Education. She’s also a Chancellor’s Professor Emeritus at Indiana University, where she chaired the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies and was founding director of the Indiana Education Policy Center.

Her research focuses primarily on education law and policy and the reform of educational leadership preparation programs.

She has served as president of the Education Law Association and the University Council for Educational Administration and as Vice-President for Division A (Administration) of the American Educational Research Association.

She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the McGhehey Award for Contributions to School Law from the Education Law Association, the Sonneborn Award for Distinguished Teaching and Research at IU-Bloomington, the Living Legend Award from the National Council of Professors of Educational Administration, the Bowman Award for Outstanding Teaching Related to American Civilization across the IU system, the Campbell Lifetime Achievement Award from the University Council for Educational Administration, and the UCEA Bridges Award for Contributions to the Preparation of School Leaders.

She also was inducted into the University of Kentucky Alumni Hall of Fame for the College of Education and named an Alumna of Outstanding Achievement to celebrate the University of Florida’s fiftieth anniversary of admitting female students.

McCarthy has written or coauthored 16 books and more than 300 articles or chapters and is a frequent presenter on various aspects of students' and teachers' rights, church-state relations, curriculum censorship, equity issues, privatization of education, school reform efforts, student engagement, and characteristics of students and faculty in leadership preparation programs. She also has served on or currently serves on 12 editorial boards for professional journals pertaining to law, educational leadership, or educational research.

McCarthy earned her B.A. in elementary education and M.A. in curriculum design from the University of Kentucky, and both her Ed.S. and Ph.D. in educational administration from the University of Florida.
 
A preeminent scholar of religions

Born in Varanasi, India, Arvind Sharma completed his early education in Delhi. After graduating from Allahabad University, he joined the Indian Administrative Service (I.A.S.) in 1962 and served in the state of Gujarat until 1968.

In 1968, he moved to the United States to pursue higher studies at the University of Syracuse in upstate New York, where he obtained an M.A. in Economics, followed by a Master in Theological Studies from the Harvard Divinity School. He was appointed as a lecturer in Asian religions at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, in 1976, while pursuing a Ph.D. in Sanskrit and Indian Studies at Harvard University, which he obtained in 1978. He moved to the University of Sydney as a lecturer in 1980 and taught there until 1987.

In 1987, he joined the Faculty of Religious Studies at McGill University as Associate Professor, where he subsequently succeeded Wilfred Cantwell Smith to the Birks Chair of Comparative Religion. He has written or edited more than 50 books and five hundred articles in the fields of comparative religion, Hinduism, Indian philosophy and ethics, and the role of women in religion. Among his best known books are Our Religions and Women in World Religions, and Gandhi: A Spiritual Biography, was published in 2013 by Yale University Press.

Recipient of the 2013 Hindu American Foundation’s Mahatma Gandhi Award for the Advancement of Religious Pluralism, Sharma organized two global congresses on the World's Religions After September 11 in 2006 and 2011, with a third being planned for 2016.  
 
Honoring accomplishment and innovation

Daniel E. Smith, Jr
. is a member and former chair of Lehigh University’s Board of Trustees. Smith co-founded and led the optical networking pioneer Sycamore Networks from 1998 to 2013. Sycamore developed a broad range of optical networking products that enabled network service providers to transform the capacity created by their fiber optic networks into bandwidth for the delivery of high-speed data services. Previously, he co-founded and led Cascade Communications, another pioneering data communications company, which became part of Alcatel-Lucent Technologies.

Widely recognized as a networking industry leader, Smith was named one of "High Tech's 30 Most Powerful CEOs" (Forbes). In 2000, the Massachusetts Telecommunications Council named him CEO of the Year and awarded Sycamore Networks with IPO of the Year. Smith was named the Ernst & Young New England Entrepreneur of the year in 1995.

In 2010, Smith and his wife, Elizabeth Riley, established the Smith Funds for Research and Innovation in Science and Engineering at Lehigh University to stimulate innovative thinking and to create incentives for collaboration across the University. In addition to supporting students and post-doctoral researchers, these funds have served as catalytic investments that have ignited successful new research programs.

They established the Daniel E. '39 and Patricia M. Smith Endowed Chair of the Center for Optical Technologies at Lehigh in honor of Daniel Smith’s parents. They provided for the creation of the Smith Family Laboratory for Optical Technologies, a three-story addition to Sinclair Laboratory housing an optoelectronics cleanroom and epitaxial growth facility.

Smith has been a generous and enthusiastic supporter of athletic projects, including the renovation of Lehigh’s historic Grace Hall, the final stage construction of the Ulrich Sports Complex for lacrosse, soccer, and field hockey, and he has provided resources for the significant expansion of the Varsity House on the Goodman Campus. In 2007, he and his wife, Elizabeth Riley, endowed the Smith Family Men's Lacrosse Coach position.

A native of Nyack, N.Y., Smith graduated from Lehigh in 1971 with a B.S. in industrial engineering. As an undergraduate, Smith was a member of the men's varsity lacrosse and swimming teams. He served as vice president and treasurer of the class of 1971 and a member of Beta Theta Pi fraternity. He continued studies at Harvard University and received an M.B.A. in finance and general management in 1976. He served as a line officer in the United States Navy following his graduation from Lehigh. 

Story by Linda Harbrecht

Posted on Monday, March 31, 2014

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