Honorary Degree Recipients


Ms. Catherine Liggins Hughes
Founder and Chairperson
Radio One
Doctor of Humane Letters

Cathy Hughes is the founder and chairperson of Radio One, Inc., the largest African-American owned and operated broadcast-company in the nation. Radio One is the first African-American company in radio history to dominate several major markets simultaneously. Also, for the first time in the history of radio, a #l ranked major market station is owned by a woman. In 1995, Radio One purchased WKYS in Washington, D.C. for $40 million -- the largest transaction between two Black companies in broadcasting history.

In May 1999, Cathy Hughes and her son, Alfred Liggins (President & CEO), took their company public, making her the first African-American woman with a company on the stock exchange. Radio One’s value is currently in excess of $2 billion. In 2000, Black Enterprise named Radio One, “Company of the Year”, Fortune rated it one of the “100 Best Companies to Work For,” and Radio One was inducted into the Maryland Business Hall of Fame.

Radio One is recognized for its intense community involvement -- the trademark of Cathy Hughes. Her pioneering work has led Essence to name her one of “100 Who Have Changed the World,” and one of the “100 Most Powerful and Influential Persons” by both Regardies and Washingtonian. Radio Ink continues to list Hughes as one of the “20 Most Influential Women in Radio” and Ebony cites her as one of the “10 Most Powerful Women in Black America.”

The Washington Post describes Hughes as “the voice of the Black community.” Her stations reach over 18 million Black listeners daily. Her goal of building a broadcast empire with a solid foundation in the African-American community has come to fruition, with an increase in revenue and opportunities for minorities and women. Hughes currently has more than 1,500 Black broadcasters on staff at Radio One, Inc.

Her dedication to minority communities, entrepreneurial spirit, and mentoring of women are manifested in every aspect of her work and life. Hughes was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Washington Area Broadcasters Association and The Seventh Congressional District Humanitarian Award. In 2001, she received the National Association of Broadcasters’ Distinguished Service Award , as well as the Advertising Club of Metropolitan Washington’s Silver Medal Award . Most recently, Hughes was presented with the coveted Golden Mike Award from the Broadcasters’ Foundation; the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters; and a 2002 Essence Magazine Award.

Born in Omaha, Nebraska, she moved to Washington, D.C. in 1971 and became a lecturer in the newly-established School of Communications at Howard University. She entered radio in 1973 as general sales manager at Howard University’s WHUR-Radio, increasing station revenue from $250,000 to $3 million in her first year. In 1975, Hughes became the first female vice president and general manager of a station in the nation’s capital and created the format known as the "Quiet Storm" -- the most listened to nighttime radio format, heard in over 50 markets nationally. Purchasing her first station in 1980, WOL-AM (D.C.), she pioneered yet another innovative format -- “24 hour Talk from a Black Perspective.” With the theme, "Information is Power," WOL is the most listened to talk radio in the nation’s capital.

Radio One’s newest venture is TV One, Inc., launched on January 19, 2004, in partnership with Comcast, the nation’s largest pay-television provider. TV One caters to the adult lifestyles of African Americans offering quality programming such as “B. Smith with Style,” and an array of original programming. Hughes is on the board of TV One, is the Executive Producer of “The Gospel of Music with Jeff Majors,” and also hosts TV One’s interview show, “TV One on One.”

For Cathy Hughes, the foundation of Radio One is still based on the spirit of a family that strives to reach the heart of the community and remain the nation’s #1 urban radio specialist!

Dr. Benjamin F. Payton
Tuskegee University
Doctor of Humane Letters

Dr. Benjamin Franklin Payton became the fifth President of Tuskegee University (formerly Tuskegee Institute) in 1981. He has initiated numerous advances to continue the Tuskegee proud legacy of leadership into the 21 st century. He has: established the Gen. Daniel "Chappie" James Center for Aerospace Science Engineering and Health Education; l aunched the first Ph.D. programs (Materials Science and Engineering, and Integrated Biosciences); developed the Tuskegee University National Center for Bioethics in Research and Health Care; reorganized all programs, including restructuring the academic programs into five colleges; successfully completed a $150 million Capital Campaign, raising $169 million, and is now completing an additional $60 million campaign, the Legacy Campaign; and renovated the entire campus, including new parking, roadways, library, science building, student residence halls and apartments for student on-campus living; and enclosed the campus with beautiful brick and cast-iron fences and gates, creating a dramatic new set of campus entrances and exits. Moreover, Dr. Payton has secured historic landmark status for Tuskegee, the only HBCU so designated.

His distinguished career includes serving as: program officer, Higher Education and Research, The Ford Foundation, New York City; president of Benedict College, Columbia, S.C.; executive director, Commission on Religion and Race, and the Department of Social Justice of the National Council of Churches, U.S.A.; director, Office of Church and Race, Protestant Council of the City of New York; assistant professor, Howard University; and director, Howard University Community Service Project.

In recognition of his leadership, and intellectual and scholarly achievements, as well as his dedicated service to education, Dr. Payton has received many honors and honorary degrees. He was appointed by President George W. Bush in 2002 to chair the newly-formed Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. This was his third presidential appointment. He was also appointed by President Ronald Reagan to the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development, and named by President George W. Bush to lead the Task Force on Agricultural and Economic Development to Zaire.

Dr. Payton is a member of many professional and social organizations, including the American Council on Education, the American Higher Education Association, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and Sigma Pi Phi Boulé. His academic honors include membership in Phi Beta Kappa and Alpha Kappa Mu Honor Society. He serves or has served as director on numerous boards including: AmSouth Bancorporation; AmSouth Bank; Ruby Tuesday, Inc.; Liberty Corp.; Praxair Corp.; the ITT Corp.; SONAT, Inc.; and Morrison Management Specialists, Inc.

Also, he has served on the boards of: the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering; the American Society for Engineering Education Study National Advisory Council; the Alabama Shakespeare Festival Royal Council; and the Board of Governors of the U.S. Air Force Civil Air Patrol. Other service includes: Harvard University and MIT Visiting Committees for the Board of Overseers; the Board of Visitors at Air University, Maxwell Air Force Base; and as a director of the Association of Governing Boards.

Dr. Payton is the son of Mrs. Sarah M. Payton and the late Reverend Leroy R. Payton. He received a B.A. with honors from South Carolina State University; a B.D. degree from Harvard University; a M.A. from Columbia University; and a Ph.D. from Yale University.

With his wife, the former Thelma Plane of Evanston , Illinois, they have two children: Mark Steven, a graduate of Yale University, and the Columbia University Graduate School of Business; and Deborah Elizabeth, a graduate of Spelman College. They are also the proud grandparents of Danielle Marie, Maya Elizabeth, William Isaac, and Nicholas Warren Payton.

Mr. Frank Savage
Chief Executive Officer
Savage Holdings, LLC
Doctor of Humanities

Frank Savage is Chief Executive Officer of Savage Holdings LLC, a closely held company, which advises global clients on investing and doing business in international markets and provides consulting and advisory services, generally in the financial services industry.

Prior to forming Savage Holdings, Mr. Savage was Chairman of Alliance Capital Management International, a division of Alliance Capital Management Corporation. Mr. Savage was formerly Senior Vice President of The Equitable Life Assurance Society, and Chairman of Equitable Capital Management Corporation, a $35 billion Equitable Life investment management subsidiary, which was merged with Alliance Capital in July 1993.

Mr. Savage has a 33-year career in international banking, corporate finance, and global investment management. He spent the early part of his career with the International Division of Citicorp, serving in the Middle East and Africa. After a brief period as a principal in an international leasing company, TAW International Leasing, he spent several years as a Private Placement investment officer with Equitable Life, lending directly to U.S. and foreign companies. He became Chairman of Equitable Capital Management Corporation, a major investment management subsidiary of Equitable Life, and built the firm's global investment management business.

Mr. Savage serves on the boards of several corporations and not-for-profit organizations, including Lockheed Martin Corporation, Bloomberg LP, New York Philharmonic, and Johns Hopkins University. He is Chairman Emeritus of the Board of Trustees of Howard University.

He earned a B.A. in 1962 from Howard University, an M.A. in 1968 from The Johns Hopkins University Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, and received an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Humane Letters from Hofstra University.

A resident of Stamford, Connecticut, Frank is married to Lolita Valderrama Savage and is the father of six children. His hobbies are sailing and reading.