Honorary Degree Recipients

For the Degree of Doctor of Laws
The Honorable William H. Frist (citation)

First elected to the U.S. Senate on November 8, 1994, Frist was the only challenger to defeat a full-term incumbent in 1994 and the first practicing physician elected to the Senate since 1928. A fourth generation Tennessean whose great, great grandfather was one of Chattanooga's 53 original settlers, Frist is the 54th U.S. Senator from Tennessee. On November 7, 2000, Bill Frist was elected to a second term in the United States Senate by the largest margin ever received by a candidate for statewide election in the history of Tennessee.

Born and raised in Nashville, Frist graduated in 1974 from Princeton University where he specialized in health care policy at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. In 1978 he graduated with honors from Harvard Medical School and spent the next seven years in surgical training at Massachusetts General Hospital; Southampton General Hospital, Southampton, England; and Stanford University Medical Center. He is board certified in both general surgery and heart surgery.

In 1985 Frist joined the faculty at Vanderbilt University Medical Center where he founded and subsequently directed the multi-disciplinary Vanderbilt Transplant Center, which under his leadership became a nationally renowned center of multi-organ transplantation. A heart and lung surgeon, he performed over 150 heart and lung transplant procedures, including the first successful combined heart-lung transplant in the Southeast. Frist has written more than 100 articles, chapters, and abstracts on medical research and five books: Transplant, which examines the social and ethical issues of transplantation and organ donation; Grand Rounds in Transplantation; Tennessee Senators, 1911-2001: Portraits of Leadership in a Century of Change; When Every Moment Counts, a family guide on bioterrorism; and Good People Beget Good People.

Frist rose rapidly through Senate leadership. In 2000, he was unanimously elected chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) for the 107th Congress and in December 2002 was unanimously elected Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate (108th Congress). Under his leadership as Chairman of the NRSC, for the first time in history, the party of the President won back majority control of the U.S. Senate in a midterm election. He assumed the position of Majority Leader having served fewer total years in the U.S. Congress than any previous leader.

He currently serves on the following committees: Finance; Rules; Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP). In the past, he has served on the following committees: Foreign Relations, Budget, Banking, Commerce, and Small Business. In 2001, he was named one of two Congressional representatives to the United Nations General Assembly.
Senator Frist and his wife, Karyn, have three sons: Harrison, Jonathan, and Bryan. They are Presbyterians. He enjoys flying (commercial, instrument, and multiengine pilot), running (seven marathons), medical mission trips to Africa, and writing.

For the Degree of Doctor of Humane Letters
Dr. William R. Harvey

Dr. William R. Harvey has served with distinction as President of Hampton University since 1978. He has created a monumental legacy during his more than twenty-five year tenure – one of the longest tenures of any sitting president of a college or university in the country. During the time that he has served at the helm, Dr. Harvey has made countless contributions to the University, our state and the nation.

A native of Brewton, Alabama, he is a graduate of Southern Normal High School and Talladega College. After graduating from Talladega College, Dr. Harvey served three years on active duty with the United States Army. He is currently a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army Reserve. Dr. Harvey earned his doctorate in College Administration from Harvard University in 1972. Prior to assuming his current position, he served as Assistant for Governmental Affairs to the Dean of the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University; Administrative Assistant to the President at Fisk University; and as Administrative Vice President at Tuskegee University.

Since being named President, Dr. William R. Harvey has introduced innovations, which have solidified Hampton University’s stellar position among the nation’s colleges and universities. His innovative leadership is reflected in the growth and quality of the University’s student population, academic programs, physical facilities, and financial base. During Dr. Harvey’s tenure as President, the student enrollment at Hampton University has increased from approximately 2,700 students to over 6,000, and the average SAT score of entering freshmen has increased approximately 300 points.

His commitment to expansion and innovation in academic programs has resulted in 76 new academic programs being implemented under his watch. Some of these new thrusts include undergraduate programs in Computer Science, Marine Science, Entrepreneurship, Chemical, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Airway Science, Emergency Medical Assistance Management; graduate programs in Business Administration (MBA), Applied Mathematics and doctoral degrees in Physics, Pharmacy, Physical Therapy, and Nursing. These new programs, together with existing ones, have placed and kept Hampton on the cutting edge of higher education.

Dr. Harvey is the visionary and leader behind numerous community and educational initiatives, such as the requirement for all Hampton University students to engage in a community service project prior to graduation. The intent is to encourage students to take pride in their community and to allow them to experience first-hand the inherent value of giving back to the community through contributions of time and talents.

Enhancing the University’s physical facilities has been an integral part of Dr. Harvey’s determination to create a physical environment conducive to learning and living. During his presidency, the University has erected 17 new buildings and has spent some $50,000,000 on the renovation of existing facilities.

An astute businessman, Dr. Harvey is 100% owner of the Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company of Houghton, Michigan. He applied his business acumen to the needs of Hampton University when he initiated a University-owned commercial development consisting of a shopping center and 246 two-bedroom apartments. All after-tax profits from the Hampton Harbor Project are primarily utilized for student scholarships. Additionally, the Project creates jobs, provides services, increases the number of African-American entrepreneurs, and expands the tax base in the City of Hampton.

Dr. Harvey’s financial leadership is indicated in the financial growth and stability Hampton has achieved during his twenty-five years as President. The University has balanced its budget and achieved a surplus during each of those years. The endowment, which stood at $29 million when he became President, now exceeds $185 million. The University’s first capital fundraising campaign in 1979 had a goal of $30,000,000. That campaign raised $46.4 million. The most recent campaign had a goal of $200 million and raised $264 million.

Along with his duties as President, the corporate boards that Dr. Harvey serves on, or has served on, are Fannie Mae, Trigon Blue Cross Blue Shield, Signet Bank, Newport News Shipbuilding, Wachovia Bank (Mid-Atlantic Region), Newport News Savings Bank, Pepsi Cola Bottling Company of Houghton, Michigan, National Merit Scholarship Corporation, and the Harvard Cooperative Society. He is a member of Virginia Association of Higher Education, Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, Council of Independent Colleges in Virginia, and the Omega Psi Phi and Sigma Pi Phi fraternities.

Dr. Harvey has long been active on the national scene as a result of his appointments to national boards by five presidents of the United States. He has served on the President’s National Advisory Council on Elementary and Secondary Education, the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Service, the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education, where he currently serves as Chairman of the Board, the Commission on Presidential Scholars, the President’s Advisory Board on Historically Black Colleges, and the U. S. Department of Commerce Minority Development Advisory Board. Additionally, Dr. Harvey serves as the Chairman of the Board of the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO, the HBCU Presidential Organization)

Dr. Harvey’s achievements have been recognized through inclusion of Personalities of the South, Who’s Who in the South and Southeast, Who’s Who in Black America, Who’s Who in American Education, International Who’s Who of Intellectuals, Two Thousand Notable Americans, Who’s Who in Business and Finance, and Who’s Who in America.

Dr. Harvey is married to the former Norma Baker of Martinsville, Virginia, and they have three children—Kelly Renee, William Christopher, and Leslie Denise—and one grandchild, Taylor.

For the Degree of Doctor of Humanities
August Wilson (Playwright)

August Wilson is the author of Jitney, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Fences, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, The Piano Lesson, Two Trains Running, Seven Guitars, King Hedley II, and Gem of the Ocean. These works explore the heritage and experience of African-Americans, decade-by-decade, over the course of the twentieth century. His plays have been produced at regional theaters across the country and all over the world, as well as on Broadway. In Spring 2003, Mr. Wilson made his professional stage debut in his one-man show, How I Learned What I Learned. Mr. Wilson’s work has garnered many awards including Pulitzer Prizes for Fences (1987), and for The Piano Lesson (1990); a Tony Award for Fences; Great Britain’s Olivier Award for Jitney, as well as seven New York Drama Critics Circle Awards for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Fences, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, The Piano Lesson, Two Trains Running, Seven Guitars, and Jitney. Additionally, the cast recording of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom received a 1985 Grammy Award, and Mr. Wilson received a 1995 Emmy Award nomination for his screenplay adaptation of The Piano Lesson. Mr. Wilson’s early works include the one-act plays: The Janitor, Recycle, The Coldest Day of the Year, Malcolm X, The Homecoming, and the musical satire, Black Bart and the Sacred Hills.

Mr. Wilson has received many fellowships and awards, including Rockefeller and Guggenheim Fellowships in Playwrighting, the Whiting Writers Award, and the 2003 Heinz Award. He was also awarded a 1999 National Humanities Medal by the President of the United States, and has received numerous honorary degrees from colleges and universities, as well as the only high school diploma ever issued by the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. He is an alumnus of New Dramatists, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and in 1995, he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Mr. Wilson was born and raised in the Hill District of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and currently makes his home in Seattle, Washington. He is the father of two daughters, Sakina Ansari and Azula Carmen Wilson, and is married to costume designer, Constanza Romero.