R.I. Sen. Jack Reed will present Commencement address, receive honorary degree May 22

April 21st, 2010

Diana Oblinger of EDUCAUSE and architects Robert Siegel and the late Charles Gwathmey also will receive honorary degrees, as will Graduate School keynote speaker Laurent Vernerey of APC.

Sen. Jack Reed

SMITHFIELD, R.I.  - Rhode Island Sen. Jack Reed will address Bryant University's graduating seniors and guests and will receive an honorary degree during the University's undergraduate Commencement Saturday, May 22. The ceremony begins at 10 a.m. on the University campus, 1150 Douglas Pike.

Senator Reed's honorary degree is one of five to be presented by the University this year. Diana Oblinger, president and CEO of EDUCAUSE, and internationally renown architects Robert Siegel and the late Charles Gwathmey will receive honorary degrees on May 22. On Thursday, May 20, Laurent Vernerey, president and CEO of APC by Schneider Electric, will receive an honorary degree and present the keynote address during the Commencement ceremony for the Graduate School of Business, which begins at 5 p.m. on the University campus.

Sen. Jack Reed, doctor of humane letters

Reed was elected to succeed R.I. Sen. Claiborne Pell in 1996. Now the state's senior senator, Reed serves on four committees: Appropriations; Armed Services; Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs; and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

The honorary degree is being presented to the senator in recognition of his advocacy for education, especially his efforts to make higher education more accessible financially. Reed authored several bipartisan bills to increase need-based financial aid for students, including the College Cost Reduction and Access Act, the Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership Program, and a bill that simplified federal financial aid forms.

Before being elected to the U.S. Senate, Reed was a three-term member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Rhode Island's 2nd Congressional District (1990-1996). He previously served three terms as a state senator (1984-1990).

Born and raised in Cranston, R.I., Reed graduated from West Point in 1971. He served in the U.S. Army through 1979 and, during that time, received a master's degree in public policy from Harvard University (1973). After leaving active duty, Reed attended Harvard Law School, graduating with a law degree in 1982.

Robert Siegel, doctor of humane letters

Charles Gwathmey, doctor of humane letters (posthumously)

Gwathmey and SiegelIn 1968, Gwathmey (left) and Siegel founded Gwathmey Siegel & Associates. In the decades since, the architectural firm has come to represent architectural excellence confirmed by more than 100 design awards, including the American Institute of Architects' highest honor for "approaching every project with a fresh eye, a meticulous attention to detail, a keen appreciation for environmental and economic concerns and a strong belief in collaborative effort."

The firm is responsible for two of Bryant's most striking buildings: the George E. Bello Center for Information and Technology (2003) and the Interfaith Center (2009).

Siegel graduated from Pratt Institute with a bachelor's degree in architecture in 1962 and from Harvard University with a master's degree in architecture in 1963.

In 1983, the New York Chapter of the American Institute of Architects recognized Siegel's skill and leadership as an architect with its Medal of Honor. He received the Pratt Institute Centennial Alumni Award in Architecture in 1988, and in 1990, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the New York State Society of Architects. He was elected a Fellow of The American Institute of Architects in 1991.

Throughout his professional career, Siegel has served as a design critic, juror, and lecturer at schools of architecture and professional organizations.

Gwathmey, who died Aug. 3, 2009, graduated with a master's degree in architecture in 1962 from Yale University, where he won both The William Wirt Winchester Fellowship as the outstanding graduate and a Fulbright Grant.

His work earned him numerous awards and honors, including two Lifetime Achievement Awards - one from the New York State Society of Architects and the second from the Guild Hall Academy of Arts. In 1976, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters, from which he received the Brunner Prize in 1970.

From 1965 through 1991, Gwathmey taught at a number of schools of architecture, including Pratt Institute The Cooper Union, Yale and Harvard.

Diana Oblinger, doctor of business administration

Diana OblingerOblinger is president and CEO of EDUCAUSE, a nonprofit association whose mission is to advance higher education through the use of information technology. The membership comprises over 2,300 colleges, universities, and education organizations. Previously, Oblinger was EDUCAUSE's vice president responsible for its teaching and learning activities and the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative.

Oblinger serves on a variety of boards such as the National Science Foundation's Advisory Committee on Cyberinfrastructure. She has testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Employment, Safety, and Training and the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Technology.

A frequent keynote speaker, Oblinger co-wrote the award-winning What Business Wants from Higher Education. She also served as co-editor of seven books and has written or co-written dozens of monographs and articles on higher education and technology.

Before joining EDUCAUSE, Oblinger held positions in academia and business.

Laurent Vernerey, doctor of business administration

Laurent VernereyVernerey is president and chief executive officer of APC by Schneider Electric, a global leader in critical power and cooling services for the residential, business network, data center, and manufacturing environments.

Laurent began his career with Schneider Electric in 1985, and became president and CEO in 2007, when Schneider Electric acquired APC. Before assuming a leadership role, he held positions as IT project director; vice president of low-voltage power activity; senior vice president of manufacturing and logistics; and managing director of Schneider Electric's Pacific zone.

Laurent holds a bachelor of science in finance and marketing from Ecole Superieure de Commerce in Dijon, France, and an MBA from Duke University.


Keywords: APC, Commencement, Diana Oblinger, EDUCAUSE, events, graduation, Gwathmey Siegel & Associates, honorary degrees, Jack Reed, Laurent Vernerey