Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) will award honorary degrees to the president and CEO of BAE Systems, the president and CEO of Worcester Research Bureau, and the chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil at its 143rd Commencement exercises on Saturday, May 14.
For more than 25 years, Roberta Schaefer has worked to enlighten the people of central Massachusetts, promoting informed debate and improved decision making about the policy issues that have a direct impact on their daily lives. A passionate educator, advocate, and policy expert, Schaefer is the founding executive director of the Research Bureau, a nonprofit organization that conducts independent, nonpartisan research and analysis on public policy issues affecting the greater Worcester region. Today, she serves as the bureau's president and CEO.
On issues ranging from taxes and economic development to public education and the state of city neighborhoods, Schaefer has provided information and analysis designed to stimulate dialogue, outline options, and recommend solutions. A widely consulted voice, she is often called upon to testify before local, regional, and state committees. She is a regular panelist on Central Mass Chronicles, a local television show, and a frequent guest on WCRN radio programs. Deeply devoted to her home community, Schaefer is a corporator of the Greater Worcester Community Foundation and the Worcester Art Museum, and she serves on the Worcester Mayor's Task Force on Job Growth and Retention. Schaefer holds a BA from Queens College of the City University of New York and an MA and PhD in political science from the University of Chicago. With her husband, David Schaefer, professor of political science at the College of the Holy Cross, she has co-edited two books, Sir Henry Taylor's The Statesman and The Future of Cities, and she has authored many articles in professional journals. WPI will bestow upon Schaefer an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters.
As president and CEO of BAE Systems Inc., Linda Hudson is the first woman in the world to lead a major defense contractor. The U.S. government frequently calls on her expertise, and Fortune has twice named her one of the 50 most powerful women in business. Hudson, who began her career as a development engineer at the Harris Corporation and rose to become the first female division president at General Dynamics, has received the National Defense Industrial Association's "Firepower Award" for her contributions to the defense of the United States. She was also the first woman to receive the National Infantry Association's "Military Order of St. Maurice." Hudson serves on the U.S.O. Worldwide Board of Governors, the Association of the United States Army Council of Trustees, the board of directors of the Blue Star Mothers, and the advisory board for the Women in Engineering Program at the University of Maryland. She is also a member of the Committee of 200, the premier global organization for women business leaders. She graduated from the University of Florida in 1972 as one of the only two women in her class to earn an engineering degree. WPI will award Hudson an honorary Doctorate of Engineering.
In addition to receiving an honorary doctorate, Rex Tillerson will deliver the Commencement address. Named by Fortune as one of the "25 Most Powerful People in Business," Tillerson was appointed in 2006 to the role of chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil - one of the world's largest corporations, with 80,703 employees on six continents. He joined Exxon as a production engineer in 1975 and has held a variety of positions within the corporation over the past 36 years. Highlights of his career include serving as president and a member of the Exxon Mobil Corporation board of directors; his leadership of operations in Russia and parts of the Middle East during the mid-1990s; and his oversight of oil and gas production operations throughout a large portion of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Kansas in the late 1980s to early 1990s.
Outside of ExxonMobil, Tillerson is a member of the executive committee and a former chairman of the American Petroleum Institute. He is also a trustee of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a member of the National Petroleum Council, a member of the Business Roundtable, an honorary trustee of the Business Council for International Understanding, and a member of the Emergency Committee for American Trade. He serves as the national president of the Boy Scouts of America and vice chairman of the Ford's Theatre Society; he previously served as the director of the United Negro College Fund. In addition, Tillerson is a member of the Chancellor's Council and the Engineering Advisory Board for the Society of Petroleum Engineers chapter at his alma mater, the University of Texas at Austin, where he earned a bachelor of science in civil engineering. WPI will bestow upon Tillerson an honorary Doctorate of Engineering.
- Read more about Rex Tillerson.