Honorary Degree Recipients
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.
the Degree of Doctor of Humane Letters
Dr. William R. Harvey (citation)
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
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
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
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.
the Degree of Doctor of Humanities
August Wilson (Playwright) (citation)
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.