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For Immediate Release:
FDU coat of arms

Gretchen Johnson

Office of Public Relations
Fairleigh Dickinson University
1000 River Road
Mailstop H-DH3-15
Teaneck, NJ 07666
(201) 692-7032

285 Madison Avenue
Mailstop M-MS0-01
Madison, NJ 07940
(973) 443-8661

Four Distinguished Leaders to be Honored at Commencement

60th Commencement Ceremony is on May 21 at Continental Airlines Arena

Teaneck, NJ (April 21, 2003) ó Four outstanding individuals will be awarded honorary degrees at Fairleigh Dickinson University Commencement ceremonies on Wednesday, May 21, 2003.

The University will confer honorary degrees on a dynamic business leader, Continental Airlines Chairman of the Board and CEO Gordon Bethune; an award-winning television journalist, Brenda Blackmon; a renowned British educator and barrister, Michael J. Beloff; and a foreign-policy spokesman and coordinator for German-American cooperation, Karsten D. Voigt.

The Universityís 60th Commencement will take place at Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, NJ, at 10 a.m. on May 21, with University President J. Michael Adams presiding. Stephen Tumminello, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, will hood the honorary degree recipients.

Nearly 2,000 graduates will receive doctoral, masterís, bachelorís and associate degrees and the Commencement address will be delivered by Gordon Bethune.

Bethune joined Continental Airlines, Inc., the nationís fifth largest airline, in 1994. Under his leadership, Continental has won more awards for customer satisfaction than any other airline. Continental was named among the "100 Best Companies to Work for in America" for the last five years by Fortune magazine.

He has promoted international growth at Continental, including expansion throughout Latin America and Europe. Continental is the largest carrier in the New York metropolitan area and operates the only hub in the region.

For three years, Bethune has been ranked among the 50 best CEOs in America by Worth magazine and Travel Agent magazine named him its 2001 Airline Person of the Year. Business Travel News ranked him among the business travel industryís 25 Most Influential Executives of 2000 and 1998. He is a licensed commercial pilot, type-rated on Boeing 757 and 767 aircraft as well as the DC-3.

The Honourable Michael J. Beloff is the president of Trinity College, Oxford, a position he has filled since 1996. He holds degrees in history and law from the University of Oxford, where he was president of the Oxford Union and a member of the Oxford Union Debating Tour of the USA.

As a Member of the Court of Arbitration for Sport, he was part of the ad hoc panel for dispute resolution during the Olympic Games in Atlanta, Ga., in 1996 and in Sydney, Australia, in 2000.

Beloff has appeared more than 40 times in the House of Lords and seven times in the European Court of Human Rights. His clients have included departments of State, foreign governments, international corporations, trade unions and prominent politicians, writers and sports champions.

Among his many credits, he was described in Legal Business in 1994 as "the Barís Renaissance Man," and in Chambers and Partners Director 1996-97 as one of the top three stars of the Bar. Legal Business named him one of the top ten barristers of the decade.

Brenda Blackmon anchors WWORís UPN 9 News. A Fairleigh Dickinson graduate, Blackmon has won numerous awards for her professional expertise and community service. She has garnered multiple Emmy Awards and nearly a dozen Associated Press Awards for best newscast, best spot news coverage and best coverage of a continuing story.

Her involvement with the Jerry Lewis Telethon resulted in merit awards for "exceptional support." In 2002, the United Hospital Fund presented its New Leadership Group Humanitarian Ward to Blackmon for her civic leadership and volunteer efforts on behalf of children. She was cited for distinguishing herself among a new generation of leaders in volunteerism.

Governor James E. McGreevey and Brenda Blackmon are honorary chairpersons for the May 18, 2003, AIDS Walk New Jersey.

The Governments of the Federal Republic of Germany and the U.S. appointed Coordinators for German-American relations in 1981. Since 1999, this position has been held by Karsten D. Voigt. He is a former foreign-policy spokesman of the SPD parliamentary group in the German Bundestag.

As Coordinator, Voigt widens the range of cooperation and expands contacts with decision-makers in all spheres of American society ó particularly in universities, research establishments and parliaments.

For more than 20 years, he has been active in important positions with NATO. Voigt has been a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of NATO since 1977 and served as chairman of the Defence and Security Committee, as vice-president (1992-94) and president (1994-96) of the Assembly.

Download photographs at:
Bethune photo link
Beloff photo link
Blackmon photo link
Voigt photo link

For extended biographical information, see:
bio information

Copyright © 2001, Fairleigh Dickinson University. All rights reserved.
This release authored with FDU Pagetoaster.