Honorary degree awarded to Jonathan D. Jansen, Ph.D., for his leadership in bringing educational opportunity to all in South Africa
Cleveland State University’s spring commencement ceremonies will be held on Saturday, May 15 at 10:00 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. at the Bert L. and Iris S. Wolstein Center, located at 2000 Prospect Ave.
The morning ceremony will be for graduates of the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs, College of Education and Human Services and Nance College of Business Administration. The afternoon ceremony will be for graduates of the Fenn College of Engineering, College of Science and College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences.
President Ronald M. Berkman will deliver the commencement address at both ceremonies.
Both ceremonies will be preceded by a processional of graduates and faculty, beginning at 9:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. At both ceremonies, individual graduates will be recognized by name as they cross the stage and receive their diplomas. Ph.D. and doctoral graduates will be hooded on stage.
Two honorary degrees will be awarded. In the morning, Jonathan D. Jansen, Ph.D., Rector and Vice Chancellor of the University of the Free State, South Africa, will receive an Honorary Doctor of Higher Education Administration degree. In the afternoon, William M. Martin, Ph.D. will receive the Distinguished Emeritus Faculty Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.
An Honorary Doctor of Laws degree will be awarded to James A. Thomas, Chairman of the Board, President and CEO of Thomas Properties Group, LLC in Los Angeles, at the commencement ceremony for Cleveland State’s Cleveland-Marshall College of Law on Sunday, May 16 at the Allen Theatre.
In July 2009, Jonathan D. Jansen, Ph.D. became the first black Rector and Vice Chancellor (President) of the University of the Free State, South Africa, in its 105-year history. This historic role culminates a lifetime of driving effective, peaceful and meaningful change in South Africa.
Dr. Jansen has spent his career addressing the challenging issues of politics, education and diversity in his country. As the first black Dean of Education at the University of Pretoria, an historically white university in the pre-apartheid era, Dr. Jansen infused a spirit of transformation that has become a guiding force in South Africa since the end of apartheid in 1994. He is widely credited for assuming the mantle of moral leadership of South Africa from Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu for the past 15 years.
His books, lectures and tireless efforts to improve educational opportunities have made him internationally known and respected as a transformative thinker in educational policy. An accomplished researcher, Dr. Jansen has authored or coauthored more than 40 publications in the past five years and sits on 16 editorial boards. His most recent book, Knowledge in the Blood: Confronting Race and the Apartheid Past (Stanford University Press, 2009), resonates as a universal story of education in divided communities and a lesson in solidarity and optimism against oppression.
Dr. Jansen’s many honors include Fulbright awards in 2000 and 2007-08 and an honorary degree from the University of Edinburgh.
William R. Martin, Ph.D. has devoted his talent and expertise to Cleveland State University for 27 years, from the time he joined the fledgling University in 1966 until his retirement in 1993. He helped found and develop CSU’s undergraduate and graduate Music programs to the high level of excellence for which they are known today, serving as Professor of Music and head of the divisions of Music History and Graduate Studies in the Department of Music throughout his career.
Dr. Martin devoted innumerable hours to planning Cleveland State’s state-of-the-art Music and Communication Building, which continues to provide students with outstanding professional facilities for study, teaching, composition and performance. A prolific scholar, he is co-author of Music of the Twentieth Century, a widely adopted textbook on contemporary music from Debussy through the present.
As a vocalist, he performed throughout the U.S. and England and founded CSU’s Collegium Musicum, an ensemble specializing in the performance of pre-1750 music, which has been featured around the country and on national television. He has been a frequent guest lecturer for universities, arts centers and The Cleveland Orchestra, and served on the boards of Young Audiences and the Cleveland Chamber Music Society, contributing to the development of new programs.
James A. Thomas has distinguished himself throughout his career with his leadership, business expertise and generosity. He is a magna cum laude graduate of Cleveland State’s Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. Among the many organizations that have benefited from his leadership are the Music Center of Los Angeles County and the I Have a Dream Foundation, which helps underprivileged children become productive citizens through mentoring, cultural enrichment and opportunity for higher education.
His company holds the distinction of having the first high-rise building to receive platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council in its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-Existing Building Category. Thomas Properties also received the Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award, California’s most prestigious environmental recognition.
His generous support created the James A. Thomas Distinguished Professorship at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in 2003 and, more recently, helped the College of Law create its largest scholarship fund through his $50,000 donation to the Bert L. and Iris S. Wolstein Scholarship Fund. He received a 2005 Distinguished Alumni Award from Cleveland State. He also served as Chairman of the College’s National Advisory Council.
Founded in 1964, Cleveland State University is a public research institution that provides a dynamic setting for engaged learning. With an enrollment of more than 16,000 students, 8 colleges and more than 250 academic programs, CSU provides a hands-on learning environment that connects students, ideas and real-world experience. To learn more visit www.csuohio.edu.
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