For many, commencement marks a time to celebrate bright young students entering a new chapter in their lives.
But the occasion is not only for students.
It is also a time to honor West Virginia University alumni, friends and donors whose hearts and minds have blessed the Mountaineer community in countless ways.
Four men who each embody the Mountaineer essence will receive honorary degrees from WVU during Commencement exercises May 11-13.
They are: Gregory S. Babe, an engineer who rose to the top of the Bayer Corp.; Ming Hsieh, also an engineer by trade and the namesake of Ming Hsieh Hall; G. Ogden Nutting, a longtime leader in West Virginia newspaper publishing; and Stuart M. Robbins, a financial expert who built one of the top equity businesses in the world.
Though each man excelled in a different profession, they share an unmatched passion and dedication to WVU.
Gregory S. Babe
A West Virginia native, Babe earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from WVU in 1980. That set him down the path to a successful career at one of the world’s top chemical and pharmaceutical companies.
He had already joined Bayer in 1976 while in college as an intern in the polyurethanes group.
He has risen to become president and chief executive officer and is Bayer’s senior representative for the United States and Canada. He is responsible for the North American activities of the worldwide Bayer Group, an international health care, nutrition and innovative materials organization based in Leverkusen, Germany. In addition, he is president and CEO of Bayer MaterialScience LLC.
Babe has held several management positions throughout his career at Bayer, including president and CEO of Bayer Corporate and Business Services LLC. In that role, he provided expertise and support in engineering, information systems, procurement, materials management, human resources, finance, accounting and other business services to Bayer and its affiliates.
Outside Bayer, Babe serves on several boards and committees, including the American Chemistry Council’s executive committee and board of directors, the WVU Foundation board and as chair of the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce.
A Mt. Lebanon, Pa. resident, Babe, who has announced his retirement from Bayer effective June 30, is married with four children.
He will receive an honorary doctorate of science at the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources ceremony, 2 p.m. May 12 at the Coliseum.
Hsieh may have earned his education at the University of Southern California, but the accomplished entrepreneur and philanthropist fits the Mountaineer mold.
Born in China, Hsieh co-founded Cogent Inc., a manufacturer of automated fingerprint identification systems, and served as CEO and chairman until 2010 when Cogent was purchased by 3M.
Under his leadership, Cogent became a leading provider of biometrics identification systems and solutions to government, law enforcement agencies and other worldwide organizations.
Hsieh developed a longstanding interest in training, mentoring and nurturing the next generation of forensic scientists. This desire fueled his generosity toward WVU. He has given the University more than $5.5 million, including contributions for the construction of Ming Hsieh Hall on the downtown campus in 2007.
He has also established two distinguished professorships in teaching and research for the Forensic and Investigative Science Program in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences. He also made possible a gift from Cogent to develop a state-of-the-art teaching and research facility for the Forensic Program’s home in Oglebay Hall.
As a philanthropist, he has donated more than $100 million to high schools, research institutions and universities. He has served on the University of Southern California Board of Trustees since 2007 and on the Board of Trustees of Fudan University since 2011.
Hsieh will receive an honorary doctorate of science at the Eberly College ceremony, 2 p.m. May 13 at the WVU Coliseum.
G. Ogden Nutting
This honorary degree recipient’s Mountaineer roots date back to the 19th century. Nutting, publisher of the Ogden Newspapers Inc., had a grandfather, H.C. Ogden, who graduated from WVU in 1887. H.C. published the first edition of the Wheeling News in 1890. Ogden Newspapers, West Virginia’s largest newspaper company, has had its headquarters in Wheeling ever since.
Today Nutting’s company publishes six daily and three weekly newspapers in West Virginia, as well as 34 daily newspapers in 10 other states.
Nutting’s involvement with the Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism is unparalleled. He is a member of its Visiting Committee and helped establish the Ogden Newspapers and Nutting Family Journalism Endowment Scholarship Fund for juniors and seniors studying print media. His family also created the WVU Journalism Library Endowment Fund, the Ogden Newspapers Seminar Series, the Ogden Newspapers Multimedia Classroom and the Ogden Newspapers Endowed Visiting Professor, which was held for 10 years by the late George Esper.
The Nutting family also owns Seven Springs Mountain Resort and is the major owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Nutting and his wife, Betty Woods Nutting, have two sons, William and Robert, vice president and president, respectively, of Ogden Newspapers.
Nutting will receive a doctorate of humane letters at the School of Journalism ceremony, 9:30 a.m. May 12 at the Creative Arts Center.
Stuart M. Robbins
After leading one of Wall Street’s leading investment banking firms, Robbins and his wife, Joyce, have given back to the University. They established the College of Business and Economics Center for Global Business and Strategy, a chair in history, a Distinguished Professorship in Epidemiology for the emerging School of Public Health and several other funds and scholarships.
WVU has honored Robbins by inducting him into both the Academy of Distinguished Alumni and the Order of Vandalia.
He is the former managing director of global equities for Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette. At the time of his retirement, Robbins managed a global business of more than 1,500 people in 24 offices.
Robbins is current chair of the board of directors of Open Exchange Inc., a leading provider of video networking solutions to the financial services industry. Robbins is also a former Institutional Investor All Star investment research analyst, having been ranked in the top three in his industry for 11 consecutive years. His experience includes numerous other corporate boards and participations with industry associations.
He is former chair of the WVU Foundation board and has served on advisory boards for the College of Business and Economics and the Eberly College, and is a founding member of the Mountaineer Athletic Club Development Council.
Robbins and his wife split time between Florida and Michigan and have two children.
He will receive a doctorate of humane letters at the College of Business and Economics ceremony, 6 p.m. May 12 at the Coliseum.
For more information on WVU Commencement, including webcast information, see: http://commencement.wvu.edu/.
Also, WVU’s Office of the Provost last year created a website that commemorates honorary degree recipients past and present. Visitors to http://honorarydegrees.wvu.edu/ can view the history of honorary degrees at WVU, from 1873, when the school’s first honorary degree was bestowed on Marmaduke H. Dent, to the present.
The site also includes background on the importance of significance and history of honorary degrees and guidelines for nomination.
CONTACT: University Relations/News
Follow @WVUToday on Twitter.