· visitor center
· news · publications
· recent releases
For Immediate Release:
Office of Public Relations
Fairleigh Dickinson University
1000 River Road
Teaneck, NJ 07666
285 Madison Avenue
Madison, NJ 07940
Distinguished Leaders to be Honored at Commencement
The Honorable Paula Dobriansky to Deliver Keynote Speech
Teaneck, NJ (April 22, 2002) — Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degrees will be conferred on four distinguished leaders at Fairleigh Dickinson University’s 59th Commencement exercises on May 21.
A global diplomat, Paula J. Dobriansky, Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs; a writer of international stature, Chinua Achebe; a photographer that has captured the human consequences of war, Steve McCurry; and an outstanding educator, Peter Falley, will be honored.
The Honorable Paula J. Dobriansky will be the keynote speaker. She was nominated as Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs by President Bush on March 12, 2001, and unanimously confirmed by the Senate on April 26. She is responsible for a broad range of foreign policy issues, including democracy, human rights, labor, refugee and humanitarian relief matters, counter-narcotics and law enforcement, and environmental/ science issues. She is the Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues.
Prior to her appointment, Dr. Dobriansky served as Senior Vice President and Director of the Washington Office of the Council on Foreign Relations. She was the Council’s first George F. Kennan Senior Fellow for Russian and Eurasian Studies.
Her government appointments include Associate Director for Policy and Programs at the United States Information Agency, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs, Deputy Head of the U.S. Delegation to the 1990 Copenhagen Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), Advisor to the U.S. Delegation to the 1985 U.N. Decade for Women Conference in Nairobi, Kenya, and Director of European and Soviet Affairs at the National Security Council, the White House.
Dr. Dobriansky received a Ph.D. in Soviet political/military affairs from Harvard University.
Chinua Achebe is considered to be the founding father of the African novel. With the publication of Things Fall Apart in 1958, Chinua Achebe opened the eyes of the world to the consequences of the collision of African and European cultures. It was the first modern novel written by an African in English to enjoy worldwide success and more than eight million copies have been sold. Things Fall Apart is required reading in Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Core course Cross-cultural Perspectives.
Achebe's work has been translated into 50 languages, and he has been hailed as one of the "1,000 Makers of the Twentieth Century" (London's Sunday Times).
His latest work, Home and Exile (2000), is based on a series of autobiographic lectures. In 1990 a car accident left him paralyzed from the waist down and since that time, he has been the Charles P. Stevenson, Jr., Professor of Languages and Literature at Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y. In 1999, he went to Nigeria for five weeks, the first time he had been home in a decade.
Award-winning photographer Steve McCurry has produced a portfolio of the most memorable photographs of our time. His 1985 photograph of a 12 year-old Afghan girl with startling green eyes has become one of the most widely reproduced photos in the world and a National Geographic icon. The photograph made news again this spring when McCurry relocated the young woman and photographed her once more.
He has covered areas of conflict that include Burma, Yemen, Kashmir, Cambodia, Iran-Iraq, Beirut, the Gulf war and the former Yugoslavia. He has been arrested and chained in Pakistan, nearly drowned in a plane crash in Slovenia, beaten up in India and nearly killed by a mujahadeen faction.
McCurry has been named Magazine Photographer of the Year by the National Press Photographers' Association and -- in one year -- won an unprecedented four first prizes in the World Press Photo Contest.
A final honorary degree will be conferred on Peter Falley, Provost of the University’s Madison Campus, who is ending his 34-year career at Fairleigh Dickinson.
A resident of Rockaway, NJ, he came to Fairleigh Dickinson as an assistant professor of mathematics and has held the position of full professor and dean of the Maxwell Becton College of Arts and Sciences prior to becoming provost.
The list of his scholarship, creative activity, professional assignments, University committee assignments and special projects is extensive. Falley played a key role as chair of the University Strategic Planning commission in 1990-91. He was the recipient of Fairleigh Dickinson’s Distinguished Faculty Award for University Service in 1988 and the State of New Jersey Faculty Recognition Award in 1989.
"It is appropriate," said University President J. Michael Adams, "that we use our Commencement to honor one of our own and no one is more deserving than Peter Falley."
Honorary degree committees were formed last fall and the campus-based groups sought input from all constituencies.
### Download photographs at www.fdu.edu/images/newspubs/dobriansky.jpg www.fdu.edu/images/newspubs/achebe.jpg www.fdu.edu/images/newspubs/mccurry.jpg www.fdu.edu/images/newspubs/falley.jpg Biographical information on each honoree at www.fdu.edu/studentlife/commencement.html