Vicente Fox Quesada (Commencement Speaker)
Former President of Mexico
Diplomat, collaborator, visionary
Doctor of Laws, honoris causa
Vicente Fox Quesada served as the President of Mexico from 2000 to 2006. Born in the state of Guanajuato, in central Mexico, he studied business administration at the Universidad Iberoamericana. He began his business career as a route supervisor for The Coca-Cola Company, eventually rising to the position of president of Coca-Cola Mexico. This business experience and his constant contact with everyday people led Fox to an understanding of adverse situations. Retiring from business, he returned to Guanajuato to participate in political, philanthropic, and educational spheres.
Whether as a business leader or politician, Fox has sought to foster the common good for the citizens of Mexico. He was president and founder of the Amigo Daniel Children’s Home Foundation, president of the Loyola Foundation, and a promoter of the León campus of the Universidad Iberoamericana and the Lux Institute, an educational center where thousands of state residents receive training. During the 1980s, Fox began his political career by joining the Partido Acción Nacional (PAN). He has served as federal congressman for the Third District of León and as secretary of agriculture. In 1995 he was elected governor of Guanajuato.
In 2000, running as the candidate of the Alliance for Change with a pledge to end government corruption and restore the economy, Fox became the first person elected president of Mexico independent of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, which had held power without interruption for seventy-one years. During his six-year term, Fox successfully proposed legislation to increase the rights of Mexico’s indigenous peoples; made progress in negotiating cooperation with the United States in addressing drug trafficking and illegal immigration; increased public access to governmental information and greater freedom of expression; and reduced Mexico’s foreign debt and rate of inflation.
Fox established Centro Fox in 2007, the first presidential library and museum to be established in Mexico, and its activities include a “center for the advancement of democracy” modeled loosely after the work of The Carter Center in Atlanta. Current collaborations between Emory and Centro Fox include a jointly organized research conference on migration to be held this year, an expansion of the Global Health Institute’s field partner sites in the San Cristobal area of Mexico, and academic exchanges between students and faculty from Emory and partner institutions of Centro Fox.
As the eleventh chancellor and president of Syracuse University, Nancy Cantor is helping forge a new understanding of the role of universities in society as Syracuse University pursues its vision, Scholarship in Action. This entails a view of the university not as a traditional “ivory tower” but as a public good, an anchor institution that collaborates with partners from all sectors of the economy to more effectively serve the needs of society. The success of these efforts earned Syracuse University the distinction of being, along with Emory, among the first institutions to earn the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching’s classification as a university committed to Community Engagement. They also earned Cantor a 2008 Carnegie Corporation Academic Leadership Award.
Cantor lectures and writes extensively on crucial issues in higher education, including the role of universities in their communities, sustainability, liberal education and the creative campus, the status of women in the academy, and racial justice and diversity. A social psychologist and author of numerous books, chapters, and scientific articles, Cantor is recognized for her scholarly contributions to the understanding of how individuals perceive and think about their social worlds, pursue personal goals, and regulate their behavior to adapt to life’s most challenging social environments.
Prior to her appointment at Syracuse, Cantor served in many university leadership roles, including chancellor of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at the University of Michigan and dean of its Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies; and chair of the Department of Psychology at Princeton University. She also was professor of psychology and senior research scientist at the Institute of Social Research.
Cantor has an AB from Sarah Lawrence College and a PhD in psychology from Stanford University. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. Cantor’s awards include the Distinguished Scientific Award for an Early Career Contribution to Psychology from the American Psychological Association, the Woman of Achievement Award from the Anti-Defamation League, and the Making a Difference Award from the National Council for Research on Women. Cantor serves on the board of the American Institutes for Research, the advisory board of Future of Minority Studies, and the Paul Taylor Dance Foundation Board of Directors, and as an honorary trustee of the American Psychological Foundation.
Distinguished Professor, Morehouse School of Medicine
Physician, scientist, advocate
Doctor of Science, honoris causa
David Satcher is director of the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta. The mission of the institute is to develop a diverse group of public health leaders, foster and support leadership strategies, and influence policies toward the reduction and ultimate elimination of disparities in health. The institute’s programs reflect Satcher’s experience in improving public health policy as well as his commitment to eliminating health disparities for underserved groups and shedding light on neglected issues such as mental and sexual health.
Sworn in as the sixteenth surgeon general of the United States in 1998, Satcher also served as assistant secretary for health in the Department of Health and Human Services from February 1998 to January 2001, making him only the second person in history to have held both positions simultaneously. As surgeon general and assistant secretary for health, Satcher led the department’s effort to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in health, an initiative that was incorporated as one of the two major goals of Healthy People 2010.
Satcher has served as director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and administrator of the Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. He has held top leadership positions at the Charles R. Drew University for Medicine and Science, Meharry Medical College, and the Morehouse School of Medicine. He has been a Macy Foundation fellow, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation clinical scholar, and a senior visiting fellow of the Kaiser Family Foundation. Satcher held the position of director of the new National Center for Primary Care (NCPC) and presently occupies the Poussaint-Satcher-Cosby Chair in Mental Health at the Morehouse School of Medicine.
Satcher graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Morehouse College in 1963 and went on to earn an MD and a PhD from Case Western Reserve University. He has received numerous distinguished honors, including top awards from the National Medical Association and the American Medical Association, and the Symbol of HOPE Award for health promotion and disease prevention. In 2005 he was appointed to serve on the World Health Organization Commission on Social Determinants of Health. Currently he serves on the boards of directors of Johnson and Johnson, MetLife, and the Kaiser Family Foundation. He also serves locally on the boards of United Way and the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta.
Music Director, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
Conductor, artist, innovator
Doctor of Music, honoris causa
Robert Spano is among the most innovative and imaginative conductors of his generation. Now in his eighth season as music director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, he has enriched its repertoire and elevated it to greater prominence. He has conducted the major orchestras of North America, including those in Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, and San Francisco. Among the orchestras he has led internationally are the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala, Czech Philharmonic, Berlin Radio Sinfonie Orchestra, BBC Scottish and BBC Symphony Orchestras, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, New Japan Philharmonic, and Oslo Philharmonic. He has appeared with the opera companies of Chicago, Houston, and Santa Fe, and at the Royal Opera at Covent Garden and Welsh National Opera.
Musical America’s 2008 “Conductor of the Year,” Spano was music director of the Ojai Festival in 2006; director of the Festival of Contemporary Music at the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s Tanglewood Music Center in 2003 and 2004, where he was head of the Conducting Fellowship Program from 1998 to 2002; and music director of the Brooklyn Philharmonic from 1996 to 2004. He is on the faculty of Oberlin Conservatory.
Spano’s most recent works include conducting Osvaldo Golijov’s Ainadamar with Dawn Upshaw and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s in Carnegie Hall and appearing with Carnegie’s Zankel Band as part of its Bernstein Festival in a program of Bernstein gems. Other North American engagements have included the New World Symphony and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
Through his characteristically innovative programming, he has elevated the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra to new levels of international acclaim. Spano and the ASO have also recently recorded two discs of the music of Golijov for Deutsche Grammophon: one including Three Songs and Oceana, and the other, the chamber opera Ainadamar, which was awarded two Grammys. In August 2009 Spano returns to the Seattle Opera to conduct three cycles of Wagner’s monumental Der Ring des Nibelungen.