2010 Honorary Degree and Alumni Award Recipients

April 29th, 2010 | SMWC

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (SMWC) will celebrate its 169th commencement, Saturday, May 8, 2010. Graduation activities begin at 10:30 a.m. with the traditional baccalaureate mass in the Church of the Immaculate Conception. The class of 2010 will receive degrees during a ceremony at 2 p.m. in the Cecilian Auditorium of the Conservatory of Music. Read more about the commencement agenda.

During the ceremony, Deirdre Connelly, president, North American Pharmaceuticals, of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) will receive an honorary degree and will deliver the commencement address. Read more about Deirdre and the keynote address.

cohen-1.jpgBernard Cohen was a visiting professor at SMWC from 1963 to 1970.  He taught Contemporary Judaism allowing students to learn about a new culture and religion. Cohen was present during the introduction of ecumenism, the religious unity or cooperation of several faiths, to the Catholic campus.

Cohen received a baccalaureate from Long Island University, Brookville, N.Y., and a master of arts from Columbia University, New York City. He also earned a master's degree in psychology from International College. In 1956, he was ordained as a rabbi and received the bachelor's of Hebrew letters and the master's in Hebrew letters from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, which is the nation's oldest institution of higher Jewish education. He received an honorary doctor of divinity degree from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1981. Cohen also was a lieutenant in the U.S. Naval Reserve, 1956-1958.

Since 2003, the Distinguished Alumni Award has recognized SMWC alumni for their professional achievements and dedication to their communities. The 2010 Distinguished Alumni Award recipients are Barbara M. Fossum, Ph.D., FSME and Elizabeth Jeffries, CSP. 

fossum-1.jpgBarbara Fossum earned the bachelor's degree in physics from SMWC in 1965. She holds a master's degree in mathematics/computer science from Stevens Institute of Technology and a master of business administration and doctorate in operations management from the University of Texas. She has more than 25 years of experience in computer systems for competitive manufacturing and has extensive project management and business process redesign experience.

Fossum currently serves as the president of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME), the first woman president in the history of the 78-year-old professional society. SME is the world's leading professional society supporting manufacturing education. The organization influences more than half a million manufacturing practitioners and executives annually. It boasts members in more than 70 countries and hail from diverse manufacturing industries, including aerospace and defense, automotive and transportation, medical and more.

She also is a Fellow of SME, a highly prestigious honor for outstanding contribution spanning over 20 years of manufacturing experience in areas such as industry or educational service management, technical publishing, research and development, inventions and patents, consulting, and SME service.

Fossum brings a diverse academic and industrial background to SME. Currently, she is an independent consultant and coach in the areas of strategic planning, process engineering, technology assessment, new venture validation and business planning for entrepreneurial startups. Fossum also is a Senior Research Fellow of the IC2 Institute of the University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin), where she works in worldwide economic development projects involving technology commercialization.

Previously, Fossum was president of the Gordon Group, a Chicago-based organizational and leadership development company; president and a principal owner of Reveille Technology, Inc., a manufacturing execution system software company; a senior data processing consultant at Unisys; and a member of the technical staff at Bell Laboratories.   Fossum held various positions at the University of Texas at Austin, primarily starting and operating programs which support small to medium-sized manufacturing companies and high-technology manufacturing startups.

jefferies-1.jpgElizabeth Jeffries, a professional speaker, seminar leader, author, and executive coach, earned a bachelor's degree from SMWC in psychology in 1984. Jeffries is a seasoned professional with expertise in challenging and coaching executives and high potential managers for over twenty years. Jeffries is committed to life-long learning and holds advanced certifications including Professional Behavior Analyst, Professional Values Analyst, and Professional Skills Analyst. She also holds advanced certification in psycholinguistics, the psychology of language.

She is the author of two books including “The Heart of Leadership: How to Inspire, Encourage and Motivate People to Follow You” and as well as a best-selling CD, “From the Inside Out,” an inspirational poem with original music. Jeffries is contributing author to “Insights on Leadership.”

In 1996, Jeffries and her husband, Stephen Tweed, CSP, merged their businesses and formed a consulting firm specializing in executive coaching, speaking and relationship strategies, Tweed Jeffries, LLC.  Jeffries is CEO of her division, Executive Mastery...a Tweed Jeffries company.

Jeffries has addressed over one million people in more than 4,000 presentations to nearly 500 different organizations and has coached numerous executives and managers one-on-one. She challenges people to live and lead from the inside out and her cornerstone topics are servant-leadership, team alignment and relationship strategies.

Jeffries served six years on the board of directors of the National Speakers Association (NSA), a 3,800-member organization of professional speakers from around the world. In 1997, Jeffries received the NSA's elite award, “CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame” for platform and professional excellence.  She is one of 34 women in the world who have been awarded this honor. 

Jeffries contributes in various ways to her community, including serving as the vice chair of the board of directors of Maryhurst, a Louisville, Kentucky social service agency that serves highest needs children.

Members of the SMWC community are invited to watch the commencement ceremony in the O'Shaughnessy dining room of the Providence Center via a live video feed. Tickets are not required for baccalaureate.

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