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2012: Honorary degrees

WFU awards honorary degrees to leaders in business, law, science and service

Wake Forest awarded five honorary degrees during its commencement ceremony May 21. The morning ceremony featured a speech by Charles Ergen, chairman of the board of the Dish Network Corporation.

Following his address to more than 1,600 graduates, Ergen was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.

Under his vision and leadership, Dish Network was launched in 1996 and became the fastest growing direct-to-home satellite television company in the United States. It currently serves more than 14.1 million customers. In 2007, Ergen was named by Barron’s magazine as one of the world’s best CEOs and by Forbes magazine as one of the top 10 CEOs.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in General Business and Accounting from the University of Tennessee and an M.B.A. from Wake Forest.

Elizabeth B. Lacy – the first female deputy attorney general in Virginia, the first female judge on the State Corporation Commission, and the first woman to sit on the Supreme Court of Virginia – was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree. She is also the John Marshall Professor of Judicial Studies at the University of Richmond School of Law. Lacy was the speaker for the School of Law hooding ceremony May 20.

Lacy earned a B.A. from St. Mary’s College, a Master of Laws degree from the University of Virginia School of Law, and a J.D. from the University of Texas law school. As a justice, she has earned a reputation for her no-nonsense approach, advising lawyers to submit their briefs in English rather than in legalese. She has written hundreds of opinions on a variety of subjects.

Willie E. May, the Associate Director for Laboratory Programs at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science degree. May has been the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the U.S. Department of Commerce Gold Medal. May was the speaker for the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences hooding ceremony May 20.

May is responsible for oversight and direction of NIST’s six laboratory programs. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Knoxville College and a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland. He has published more than 100 peer-reviewed scientific manuscripts that have been cited more than 2,500 times.

Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International, a housing ministry that has helped provide shelter to more than 2.5 million people in more than 100 countries, was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree. Reckford is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He was the speaker at the University’s Baccalaureate Service May 20.

A graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill and Stanford University Graduate School of Business, Reckford spent most of his career in the private sector, including executive and managerial positions at Goldman Sachs, Marriott, Walt Disney Company, and Best Buy. Following his tenure as executive pastor at Christ Presbyterian Church in Minnesota, he was appointed CEO of HFHI in 2005.

Eric C. Wiseman, chairman, president and chief executive officer of VF Corporation, the world’s largest apparel company, was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree. Wiseman is a member of the Wake Forest Schools of Business Board of Visitors. He was the speaker at the Schools of Business hooding ceremony May 20.

Prior to being named CEO, Mr. Wiseman served as President and Chief Operating Officer, and was responsible for VF’s global business and the corporation’s day-to-day operations. Before joining VF Corporation in 1995, Mr. Wiseman held leadership positions at Kayser Roth and Hanes. He holds a B.S. degree in business and an M.B.A. from Wake Forest.