Knox College to Award Honorary Degrees

Military prosecutor, Lyric Opera conductor, physical chemist

April 26, 2012

Knox College will award honorary degrees to three distinguished individuals at Commencement ceremonies on June 2, 2012. The Commencement will be held at 10 am on the South Lawn of Old Main on the Knox College campus. It is free and open to the public.

Joseph Francisco, Gen. Mark Martins, Sir Andrew DavisHonorary degrees will be conferred on Brigadier General Mark S. Martins, Chief Prosecutor of the war crimes trial system reformed by the Military Commissions Act of 2009; Sir Andrew Davis, Music Director and Principal Conductor of Lyric Opera of Chicago; and Joseph S. Francisco, William E. Moore Distinguished Professor of Physical Chemistry at Purdue University.

General Martins will deliver the Commencement Address.

As Knox celebrates the 175th anniversary of its founding, these honorees bring distinction to this year's Commencement ceremonies.

"Knox has a proud history of distinction in the fields of law, music, and science," said Knox College President Teresa Amott. "These three honorees embody the excellence to which our graduates aspire. Their presence at Commencement serves as an inspiration for us all."

Brigadier General Mark S. Martins, Chief Prosecutor, Office of Military Commissions
Brigadier General Mark Martins, Chief Prosecutor of the war crimes trial system reformed by the Military Commissions Act of 2009, will deliver the Commencement Address to the graduates. Martins has had a distinguished career as a soldier and lawyer and last year received Harvard Law School's Medal of Freedom for his efforts to promote the rule of law in Afghanistan and Iraq. More recently, he has become a noted proponent of transparency and legitimacy in legal proceedings involving detainees at Guantanamo Bay.

In 2011, Martins was awarded the Medal of Freedom, the highest honor conferred by Harvard Law School (HLS), and gave the inaugural Dean's Distinguished Lecture. According to HLS, the "Medal of Freedom was established to honor the achievements of individuals who have worked to uphold the legal system's fundamental commitment to freedom, justice, and equality. It has previously been awarded to the Brown v. Board of Education litigation team, Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Chaudhry, and to South African President Nelson Mandela."

Martins was appointed chief prosecutor of military commissions by President Obama in 2011 and oversees the prosecution of a narrow but high-profile category of international terrorism offenses that violate the laws of armed conflict. He has served in Iraq and led efforts to reform detention operations in Afghanistan. Between deployments, he worked at the Department of Justice on President Obama's Detention Policy Task Force.

Commissioned in the infantry after graduating as valedictorian from the United States Military Academy in 1983, Martins served as a platoon leader and brigade staff officer in the 82d Airborne Division. He was a Rhodes Scholar at Balliol College (1985) and a graduate of Harvard Law School (1990). He holds an L.L.M. in Military Law and a Master's Degree in National Security Strategy. He has published widely in legal journals.

Sir Andrew Davis, Music Director and Principal Conductor of Lyric Opera of Chicago
Sir Andrew Davis joined Lyric Opera in 2000 and was named a vice president of Lyric's Board of Directors in May 2011. Previously he served as principal conductor of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the BBC Symphony Orchestra, and music director of Glyndebourne Festival Opera. He is also artistic advisor to the Besancon International Music Festival.

Davis has recently led performances with the leading orchestras of Chicago, Cleveland, Montreal, Toronto, and London, as well as Berlin and Amsterdam; and with the world's great opera companies and festivals in New York, London, Milan, Bayreuth, Glyndebourne, Melbourne, Rotterdam, Edinburgh, and Toronto, among others. In 2012-13 at Lyric he will conduct Elektra, Simon Boccanegra, Werther, and Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg.

Davis records exclusively for Chandos Records. In 2008, his recording of Elgar's Violin Concertos, with violinist James Ehnes and the Philharmonia Orchestra of London, won "Best of Category - Concerto" Award from Gramophone magazine, and his recording of soprano Nicole Cabell with the London Philharmonic Orchestra won the Solti Prize from the French Academie du Disque Lyrique.

Davis studied organ at King's College, England. In 1991 he received the Royal Philharmonic Society/Charles Heidsieck Music Award. Sir Andrew was created a Commander of the British Empire in 1992 for his services to British music, and in 1999 was made a Knight Bachelor in the New Year Honours List, which recognizes outstanding achievement and service throughout the United Kingdom.

Davis is the second notable figure in Lyric Opera history to receive an honorary degree from Knox. In 1987, the College awarded an honorary doctorate to the Lyric's general director, the late Ardis Krainik. In recent years, Knox faculty members Jason Helfer and Stephen Schroth have collaborated with Lyric Opera on an educational program -- Opera in the Neighborhoods -- that brings in-depth information about opera to thousands of Chicago-area grade-school students and their teachers.

Joseph S. Francisco, William E. Moore Distinguished Professor of Physical Chemistry at Purdue University
Joseph S. Franciso, a research chemist, has conducted ground-breaking research into how the Earth's atmosphere breaks down pollutants, giving us an important understanding of how acid rain forms. Francisco and his colleague have discovered an unusual molecule that is essential to the atmosphere's ability to break down pollutants, especially the compounds that cause acid rain.

Author of more than 400 scientific papers, Francisco directs a laboratory that focuses on basic studies in spectroscopy, kinetics and photochemistry of gases that play an important role in atmospheric, biochemical and combustion processes. His research looks at how man-made materials, such as chlorofluorocarbons and their potential replacements, affect the ozone in the upper atmosphere that protects the earth from solar radiation.

Before joining the Purdue faculty in 1995, Francisco taught at Wayne State University, then conducted research at the California Institute of Technology.

From 2005 to 2007, Francisco served as president of the National Organization of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers, then in 2010, he was elected president of the American Chemical Society -- the first African-American academic to head the ACS. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Other honors include the 2007 Herbert Newby McCoy Award -- Purdue University's most prestigious research award; a Guggenheim Fellowship; Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Fellowship for outstanding young faculty in the chemical sciences; Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, and National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award.

Francisco served as mentor and dissertation advisor to Knox Professor of Chemistry Mary Crawford.

"Dr. Francisco uses his influence to empower others, and I am very proud to be his student and friend," Crawford said. "His contributions to the field of physical chemistry, his leadership and service in the scientific community, his dedication to increasing the number of American scientists while nurturing global collaboration and his dedication to his family should be an example to us all."