Photo of doctorate graduates cheering during a commencement celebration

CWRU to bestow three honorary degrees during commencement

Though traditional commencement ceremonies won’t be held this weekend as originally planned, Case Western Reserve University will celebrate the accomplishments of its graduates with a virtual event Sunday, May 17. Undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students will receive their degrees in the online ceremonies—as will this year’s three honorary degree recipients: William F. Baker (ADL ’66; GRS ‘68, communications sciences; GRS ‘72, communications sciences), Robert J. Herbold (GRS ’66, mathematics; GRS ‘68, computer science) and Suzanne Elise Walsh (SAS ‘94; LAW ‘97). This year, all honorary degrees are being bestowed on alumni of Case Western Reserve.

Honorary degrees from Case Western Reserve University recognize individuals whose work in wide-ranging fields exemplify the highest ideals and standards of “excellence in any valued aspect of human endeavor, including the realm of scholarship, public service and the performing arts.”

Read about this year’s recipients.

William F. Baker, PhD

Doctor of Humane Letters

Triple alumnus William F. Baker is a leader in electronic media, having served 20 years as president of WNET-Thirteen, New York’s flagship public broadcasting group. In commercial media, he served 10 years as president of Westinghouse Television and chairman of Group W Satellite Communications, where he helped launch many cable networks, including Discovery and the Disney Channel. Baker has been honored with seven Emmy Awards and two DuPont Columbia journalism awards, and has authored or co-authored five books and produced three feature films.

He serves as Journalist-in-Residence and University Professor at Fordham University in New York and Professor of Media & Entertainment at the IESE Business School, Barcelona, Spain.

Baker received his bachelor’s, master’s and PhD from Case Western Reserve University.

Robert J. Herbold, PhD, MS

Doctor of Humane Letters

Alumnus Robert J. Herbold was the executive vice president and chief operating officer of Microsoft Corp. from 1994 to 2001, during which time Microsoft saw significant increases in revenue and profits. Prior to joining Microsoft, Herbold spent 26 years at Procter & Gamble. In his last five years with P&G, he served as senior vice president of marketing and information services.

Since 2002, he has been  managing director of the Herbold Group LLC, providing speaking and consulting services to a wide variety of organizations. Also since that time, he has been president of The Herbold Foundation, which provides scholarships for students in engineering, technology, physical science and mathematics. Recently, he played a crucial role in establishing the data sciences program at Case School of Engineering.

Herbold has extensive experience as a corporate board member over the past 20 years, and has published three books, all focused on leadership, while also writing articles for the Harvard Business Review. In recent years, he has regularly appeared on numerous business news TV outlets, such as Fox Business, CNBC and Bloomberg. 

Herbold received his master’s in mathematics and PhD in computer science from Case Western Reserve.

Suzanne Elise Walsh, JD, MSSA

Doctor of Humane Letters

A leader in the field of education, alumna Suzanne Elise Walsh is president of Bennett College, one of just two historically black colleges for women in the United States. Previously, Walsh served as deputy director of Postsecondary Success with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a role that included working toward the viability and sustainability of Historically Black Colleges and Universities and transformation strategies. 

Walsh’s work has included important roles at Lumina Foundation and The Heinz Endowments. At Lumina Foundation, she worked toward helping universities implement business practices that increased productivity, and at The Heinz Endowments, she was tasked with initiatives related to community colleges, technology commercialization and transfer, and more.

Walsh received a law degree and master’s in social work from Case Western Reserve.

Tune into commencement

Watch the commencement ceremonies Sunday, May 17, on the commencement website for viewing beginning at 9 a.m. or on the Case Western Reserve University Facebook page. The ceremonies will be available to view all day. Students and families will be able view their personalized slides from Marching Order on the commencement website.

Check out the virtual celebration package for yard signs, GIFs, and more, and post on social media using the commencement hashtag: #CWRUGrad2020.