Posted May 8, 2013

Temple to confer three honorary degrees at 2013 Commencement

  • Patrick J. O’Connor
  • Pallam Raju M. Mallipudi
  • Frank Albert Cotton

Three distinguished leaders, including two of the university's most respected alumni, will be recognized for their outstanding contributions in the fields of law, education and science at Temple's 126th Commencement ceremony. The event takes place at 10 a.m. May 16 in the Liacouras Center at Temple's Main Campus in Philadelphia.

Patrick J. O’Connor, chair of Temple University’s Board of Trustees and a leader in Philadelphia's legal community, will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree. O’Connor is current vice chair and former president and CEO of the law firm Cozen O’Connor, which is ranked among the 100 largest law firms in the United States.

The university will also confer an honorary doctor of humane letters to Temple alumnus Pallam Raju M. Mallipudi, the cabinet minister of India for Human Resources Development, and a posthumous doctor of science degree to Temple alumnus Frank Albert Cotton, a preeminent figure in the field of inorganic chemistry.

“As recipients of Temple’s honorary degrees, Chairman O’Connor, Pallam Raju M. Mallipudi and Frank Albert Cotton exemplify the university's highest aspirations for its students,” said President Neil Theobald. “We can all be inspired by their values and achievements, as well as their leadership and service.”

O’Connor, who was appointed chair of Temple’s Board of Trustees in 2009, has served on the university’s board for a combined 25 years. He is a fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, the American College of Trial Lawyers and the American Bar Foundation and a board member of the Historical Society of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

O'Connor is also chair of the board of BNY Mellon Funds Trusts and Franklin Security Bank, a member of the board of Crowley Chemical Company of New York City, a member and past chair of the board of consultors for the Villanova University School of Law and a member of the advisory board of the Litigation Counsel of America. O’Connor earned his BA at King's College, magna cum laude, in 1964 and his law degree from the Villanova School of Law in 1967.

Pallam Raju M. Mallipudi is Cabinet Minister of India for Human Resources Development, which oversees the national Department of School Education and Literacy and the Department of Higher Education. After earning an MBA from the Fox School of Business at Temple University in 1986, Pallam Raju M. Mallipudi built a private-industry career as an entrepreneur in information technology, served on the boards of several successful publicly limited companies, and also served as director on the boards of Indian Airlines and Air India.

Mallipudi was first elected to the Parliament of India in 1989, the youngest member in the 9th Lok Sabha, India's lower house of Parliament. Over the course of his career he has been an active member of the Indian National Congress and has held several important positions at both state and national levels, including chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology, minister of state for Defense and chairman of the Department of Policy Planning and Coordination.

Frank Albert Cotton was a preeminent figure in the field of inorganic chemistry, author of the standard text on the subject and one of Temple's most distinguished scientists to graduate from the university. That text, Advanced Inorganic Chemistry, co-authored with Nobel Prize-winner Sir Geoffrey Wilkinson, is now in its sixth edition and has been the standard textbook on the subject for half a century. Cotton earned his BA from Temple University in 1951, and his PhD from Harvard in 1955.

At 31, Cotton became the youngest person to achieve a full professorship at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He joined the faculty of Texas A&M University in 1972, eventually becoming the W. T. Doherty-Welch Foundation Chair and Distinguished Professor of Chemistry. Among his many professional memberships, editorial postings and honors, he received the U.S. National Medal of Science in 1982, and the Priestly Medal, the American Chemical Society’s highest recognition, in 1998. The F. Albert Cotton Award for Synthetic Inorganic Chemistry, named in his honor, is presented every year at the national meeting of that society. Cotton passed away in 2007.