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Last modified: Monday, November 5, 2007

Esteemed philanthropy leaders to receive honorary degrees from IU

Nov. 2, 2007

INDIANAPOLIS - As a part of the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University's 20th Anniversary Celebration, Indiana University President Michael McRobbie will award IU's highest honor, an honorary degree, to three national and international nonprofit sector leaders during a special academic convocation Nov. 5th in Indianapolis.

The honorees are Emmett D. Carson, CEO and President of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation; Patty Stonesifer, CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; and Juree Vichit-Vadakan, Chairperson of the Center for Philanthropy and Civil Society at the National Institute of Development Administration (NIDA) in Thailand.

To celebrate its 20th anniversary, the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University will host a two-day signature event in Indianapolis on Nov. 4-5. The event will bring together national and international nonprofit leaders, practitioners, and scholars to consider and discuss changes that philanthropy and the nonprofit sector may encounter in the next 20 years and how to prepare for them.

McRobbie will confer Doctor of Humane Letters degrees upon Carson and Stonesifer and a Doctor of Laws degree on Vichit-Vadakan, for their remarkable work within and impact on the philanthropic sector. The academic convocation and degree ceremony will take place Monday, Nov. 5, at 1:30 p.m., in the auditorium at the University Place Hotel and Conference Center at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis.

Internationally recognized as one of the most significant and influential voices in the study and practice of philanthropy today, Carson is known for spearheading the study of giving in communities of color. As a leading scholar dedicated to understanding diversity in the sector, his work impacts both academics and nonprofit professionals alike. In his current capacity as CEO and President of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, he manages one of the largest community foundations in the world, with assets over $1.9 billion, and continues to encourage organizations to seriously consider the engagement of people of color in nonprofits, foundations and their boards.

Carson previously was President and CEO of The Minneapolis Foundation. Under his leadership, the organization received national recognition for its grantmaking and development efforts and increased its assets more than three-fold. Carson also created and managed the Ford Foundation's first worldwide grantmaking program on philanthropy and the nonprofit sector.

A Phi Beta Kappa graduate in economics from Morehouse College, Carson earned Masters in Public Affairs and doctorate degrees from Princeton University. In addition to his numerous articles and essays on philanthropy and social justice, his actions reflect a lifelong commitment to community service and efforts to build diversity in philanthropy and nonprofit sector. As Chair of the Council on Foundations board, he utilized his unique position as its key spokesperson to further the discussion of philanthropic ideas. Carson is a former Board of Governors member at the Center on Philanthropy and is consistently listed by The NonProfit Times as one of the 50 most influential leaders in the philanthropic and nonprofit sector.

Patty Stonesifer

Patty Stonesifer

Print-Quality Photo

"Emmett Carson is an integral contributor to the discussion and development of social justice and diversity within philanthropy and the nonprofit sector," said Eugene R. Tempel, executive director of the Center on Philanthropy. "He is an influential and groundbreaking leader and is most deserving of this accolade."

Patty Stonesifer currently leads the largest philanthropic effort in the world. As CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Stonesifer assembled and guides a team of experts to build programs focused on bringing technology to underserved communities, improving public schools and eradicating the world's most serious diseases.

After a successful career as a senior vice president at Microsoft (during which Time magazine named her one of the most influential people in America in 1996), Stonesifer organized and launched Bill & Melinda Gates' first private foundation. She directed the development of the organization into the largest private foundation in the world, pursuing a strategy of grantmaking different from that of most large foundations and emphasizing strategic partnerships, the exchanging of ideas, evaluation, and transparency. Warren Buffett identified the Gates Foundation's operations as exemplary and in 2006 pledged to contribute more than $30 billion dollars to its mission during the next 10 years.

Stonesifer actively serves as a volunteer with a number of community nonprofit organizations, and she previously participated in the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on AIDS as a U.S. delegate. A native of Indianapolis, Stonesifer is an IU graduate.

"Patty Stonesifer has distinguished herself as a key leader in both business and philanthropy," said Tempel. "Her contributions to the development and impact of global philanthropy are innumerable, and it is fitting for Indiana University to award an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters to one of its most outstanding alumni."

Juree Vichit-Vadakan

Juree Vichit-Vadakan

Juree Vichit-Vadakan is a leading voice for philanthropy and the nonprofit sector in Southeast Asia. In collaboration with the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, she helped found the Center for Philanthropy and Civil Society at NIDA, which established philanthropy and nonprofit management as an academic discipline in her native Thailand. She advocates for women's rights and social justice in Thailand and advances these objectives globally through her position as a member of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. Additionally, Vichit-Vadakan serves as an influential advisor to the highest levels of policy makers in Thai government.

"Dr. Juree is a pioneer whose innovation and foresight helps to enhance a vibrant tradition of civil society not only in Southeast Asia, but around the world" remarks Tempel. "It is an honor for the Center to collaborate with her, and the partnership that she established with Indiana University has shown significant impact."

Several notable awards mark Vichit-Vadakan's distinguished career including the title "Woman of the Year" from the Foundation for the Promotion of the Status of Women (2002) and "Outstanding Woman in International Activities" (2005) from the Thai Prime Minister. She previously served as a member of the Center on Philanthropy's Board of Governors. She was instrumental in bringing the International Society for Third Sector Research (ISTR) international conference to Bangkok in 2006. Vicht-Vadakan received her master's and doctorate degrees from the University of California, Berkeley.

The event is open to media wishing to cover the ceremony. Please contact Josh Sprunger at 317-278-8932 or to register or for additional information.

The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University is a leading academic center dedicated to increasing the understanding of philanthropy, improving its practice and enhancing participation in philanthropy through research, teaching, public service and public affairs programs in philanthropy, fundraising, and management of nonprofit organizations. A part of the Indiana University School of Liberal Arts at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), the Center operates programs on the IUPUI and IU Bloomington campuses.