05:09 AM

Ohio State honors five at spring 2016 commencement

Columbus, Ohio – Five individuals will be honored at The Ohio State University’s spring 2016 commencement for their contributions to society and their dedication to the university.

The honorary Doctor of Humane Letters will be presented to Anthony S. Fauci, commencement speaker and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who has played a critical role in the battle against our world’s infectious diseases. The honorary Doctor of Science will be presented to Louis J. Ignarro, a Nobel Laureate, pharmacological pioneer and research scientist who has revolutionized the field of cardiovascular biology. The honorary Doctor of Business Administration will be awarded to Richard T. Santulli, a visionary entrepreneur, businessman and founding father of two major aviation industries, NetJets and Milestone Aviation Group.

The university will present Distinguished Service Awards to Robert L. Caldwell Jr., a Columbus civic leader who has dedicated himself to enacting societal change and improving the quality of life for residents in many University District neighborhoods, and to Nancy Hardin Rogers, who devoted more than four decades of service to Ohio State, spearheading the creation of groundbreaking programs and positioning the Moritz College of Law to be one of the best law schools in the country.

Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., Doctor of Humane Letters

From HIV/AIDS and malaria to the Ebola and Zika viruses, Anthony S. Fauci has long played a critical role in the battle against our world’s infectious diseases. Since his appointment in 1984 as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, Fauci has overseen an extensive research portfolio devoted to preventing, diagnosing and treating infectious and immune-related diseases. 

A physician-scientist, Fauci has advised five U.S. presidents and the Department of Health and Human Services on domestic and global health issues. As the longtime chief of the Laboratory of Immunoregulation, he has made seminal contributions to the understanding of how HIV destroys the body's defenses, leaving it susceptible to deadly infections. His work has been instrumental in developing treatments that enable people with HIV to live long, active lives. He also was a principal architect of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, a program that has saved millions of lives throughout the developing world.

Fauci has been awarded 42 honorary doctoral degrees and is the author, co-author or editor of more than 1,200 scientific publications. From 1983 to 2002, he was the 13th most-cited scientist among the 3 million authors in all disciplines who published articles in scientific journals during that 20-year period. In a 2016 analysis of Google Scholar citations, he ranked as the 18th most highly cited researcher of all time.

A graduate of the College of the Holy Cross, he received his medical degree from Cornell University Medical College. He is a member of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Institute of Medicine and numerous professional societies. His many honors include the Presidential Medal of Freedom (the highest honor given by the United States to a civilian), the National Medal of Science and the Mary Woodard Lasker Award for Public Service.

Louis J. Ignarro, Ph.D., Doctor of Science

Nobel Laureate and esteemed pharmacologist Louis J. Ignarro has devoted his life’s work to advancing heart health around the world.

A native of Brooklyn, New York, Ignarro studied undergraduate pharmacology at Columbia University before earning his doctorate at the University of Minnesota. In 1968, he completed a postdoctoral fellowship in chemical pharmacology with

the National Institutes of Health. Upon completing his fellowship, Ignarro was recruited by Geigy Pharmaceuticals to lead the company’s biochemical and anti-inflammatory program. When Geigy merged with Ciba Pharmaceuticals in the 1970s, he left the drug industry to pursue a career in academia.

As a professor with the Tulane University School of Medicine, Ignarro began his revolutionary research into nitric oxide and its relationship with the cyclic nucleotide GMP. His numerous discoveries, including that nitric oxide relaxes vascular smooth muscle, have led to significant advancements in cardiovascular science and the prevention of heart disease.

In 1993, Ignarro became a Distinguished Professor of Pharmacology with the UCLA School of Medicine, where he currently serves as professor emeritus in the Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology. At UCLA, he has excelled as both a research scientist and a professor, winning many Golden Apple teaching awards from his students.

Ignarro received the 1998 Nobel Prize in Medicine, along with Robert F. Furchgott and Ferid Murad, for their discovery that nitric oxide acts as a signaling molecule in the cardiovascular system. He also has received the American Heart Association’s Basic Research Prize and Distinguished Scientist Award.

A prolific scholar, Ignarro has published numerous articles and books. He is the founder of the Nitric Oxide Society and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He also is well known as a Nutrition Advisory Board member for Herbalife, a global nutrition and weight-management company.

Richard T. Santulli, Doctor of Business Administration

For more than three decades, Richard T. Santulli has enjoyed an illustrious career as a visionary entrepreneur, businessman and founding father of two major aviation industries.

A New York native, Santulli earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees in applied mathematics from the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn. He made his Wall Street debut in 1969 with Goldman Sachs, a global investment firm. He rose through the ranks quickly, creating the firm’s quantitative analysis group and, later, leading its leasing business unit.

After becoming vice president of investment banking, Santulli left Goldman Sachs to start his own leasing company in 1980. His creation of RTS Helicopters helped shape the face of modern aviation leasing. At its peak, the company had amassed nearly 200 helicopters. In 1984, he purchased Columbus-based charter aviation operator Executive Jet. Two years later, he launched the first-ever fractional aircraft program which he named NetJets, and revolutionized the elite business of owning private jets.

His ingenious concept for joint ownership of private aircraft caught the attention of fellow iconic businessman and NetJets customer Warren Buffett. In 1998, Buffett and his company, Berkshire Hathaway, bought the company for nearly $730 million. As chairman and CEO, Santulli spent more than a decade building NetJets into a globally recognized brand and the largest private aviation company in the world.

In late 2009, he left NetJets to co-found Milestone Aviation Group, currently the global leader in helicopter leasing. Last year, GE Capital acquired Milestone, where Santulli continues to serve as chairman, for nearly $1.8 billion.

Santulli’s success in business is complemented by his philanthropic leadership. He and his wife, Peggy, have been major funding partners of Pelotonia since 2009, and since 2003 he has served as chairman of the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, which has provided almost $200 million in support of U.S. military personnel and families. He also serves on the board of directors at the Mercy Home for Children.

Robert L. Caldwell Jr., Distinguished Service Award

For more than 25 years, Columbus native Robert L. Caldwell Jr. has dedicated himself to enacting societal change and bringing awareness to the racial and financial struggles that exist in our neighborhoods. Drawing on his expertise in the areas of social justice, diversity and equity, collaborative leadership and urban community development, Caldwell has worked closely with Ohio State and the city of Columbus to improve the quality of life for residents in many University District neighborhoods.

At two points in his life, Caldwell lived in low-income communities with the goal of transforming them from the inside out. In 1991, while living in Greenbrier on Columbus’ east side, he helped found TEACH (The Enrichment Association for Community Healing). Nine years later, he moved into Weinland Park near Ohio State’s south campus. His mission was to revitalize the neighborhood, and he began by founding the Weinland Park Community Civic Association.

As president of the association, Caldwell led the creation of a comprehensive economic development plan that would impact more than 100,000 residents, students and employees living and working in and around Weinland Park. He also helped in the conceptualization of the Schoenbaum Family Center, a partnership between Columbus City Schools and Ohio State, and led a major employment initiative to provide training for area residents to prepare them for construction industry jobs.

He currently serves as executive director of AnswerPoverty.org and as regional director for training and development at Think Tank, Inc. He is a senior fellow at Mission Columbus, managing partner at Community Revitalization Associates, and is the board chair at the University Area Enrichment Association and the University District Freedom School Program.

An inspiring civic leader, Caldwell’s achievements have been recognized by his alma mater, Denison University; the National Alliance to End Homelessness; the Columbus Chamber of Commerce; and the governor of the state of Ohio.

Nancy Hardin Rogers, J.D., Distinguished Service Award

A 1972 graduate of Yale Law School, Nancy Hardin Rogers began her distinguished 40-year career as a faculty member at Ohio State’s law school in 1975. Thanks to her visionary leadership, Rogers rose through the ranks to become vice provost of the university, a position she left in 2001, when she was selected to serve as dean of the Moritz College of Law.

During her tenure, she spearheaded the creation of many innovative programs, including Election Law @ Moritz, the Distinguished Practitioners in Residence program, Mentoring & More @ Moritz and the Law and Leadership Institute, a statewide diversity pipeline focused on increasing law school enrollment from minority and underserved communities.

Rogers was instrumental in establishing a nationally recognized Alternative Dispute Resolution center at Ohio State. She was the first faculty adviser for the Ohio State Journal on Dispute Resolution, a student journal that is now the official journal of the American Bar Association’s Section on Dispute Resolution. She has authored numerous award-winning publications on the subject, including the nation’s foremost dispute resolution textbook, and her leadership was recognized as vital to the drafting and passage of the Uniform Mediation Act.

Respected across the nation for her leadership and legal skills, she left her role as dean in 2008, at the governor’s request, to serve as Ohio’s Attorney General. She has served as president of the Association of American Law Schools, was appointed as one of Ohio’s five commissioners on the National Conference of Commissioners of Uniform State Laws, and was appointed by President Bill Clinton to the board of directors of the Legal Services Corporation.

In 2014, she received the prestigious James F. Henry Award from the International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution. This lifetime achievement award celebrates her remarkable contributions to the legal field as a teacher, scholar and innovator.