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Ford Center for the Fine Arts

Alan I. Leshner - Honorary Degree Presentation

Presented by Andrew Mehl, Associate Professor of Chemistry

June 07, 2008

I am honored to present Dr. Alan I. Leshner for the degree of Doctor of Science. Dr. Leshner is a specialist in the study of the biological basis of behavior, especially through his research on the nature and treatment of drug addiction and dependency.

Throughout his distinguished career, Dr. Leshner has brought science to bear on the subject of terrorism, mobilizing the scientific community and scientific expertise to serve the nation in the battle against terrorist organizations. He also has become a national spokesman in the defense of science from political interference, working tirelessly to convey to the public the importance of the integrity of science and the value of scientific research for informing policy-making.

Dr. Leshner currently serves as Chief Executive Officer of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and Executive Publisher of the journal Science. Founded in 1848, AAAS is the world?s largest, multi-disciplinary scientific and engineering society.

The organization monitors issues affecting the scientific community and promotes the value and contributions of science to the general public by managing many science-related publications, by sponsoring a variety of scientific conferences and meetings, and by providing support for scientists in the advancement of their careers.

Before assuming the leadership of AAAS, Dr. Leshner served for seven years as the Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the world?s leading sponsor of research on the health aspects of drug abuse and addiction. In this capacity, Dr. Leshner made significant contributions to altering societal perceptions of drug abuse and addiction treatment, and is known for promoting the role of NIDA as what he termed ?the source of hope about addiction in this country.?

Dr. Leshner previously served as the Deputy Director and Acting Director of the National Institute of Mental Health, and held a variety of senior positions at the National Science Foundation. Prior to that, Dr. Leshner was a Professor of Psychology at Bucknell University, and held appointments at the Postgraduate Medical School in Budapest, Hungary; at the Wisconsin Regional Primate Research Center; and as a Fulbright Scholar at the Weizmann Institute of Behavior.

Dr. Leshner has published extensively in the area of science and technology policy, science education, and public engagement with science. Dr. Leshner received an undergraduate degree in psychology from Franklin and Marshall College, and then earned M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in physiology from Rutgers University.

He holds honorary Doctor of Science degrees from Franklin and Marshall College and the Pavlov Medical University in St. Petersburg, Russia. Dr. Leshner is an elected fellow of the AAAS, the National Academy of Public Administration, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and many other professional societies. He has received numerous awards from both professional and lay groups for his many contributions to the field. Mr. President, at the founding of this College in 1837 both ?moral philosophy? and ?natural philosophy??the precursor of today?s sciences?shared the curriculum.

From the 19th century to today, from the teaching of Knox?s pioneering scientists Professor Nehemiah Losey and Milton Comstock to our current faculty of distinguished scholar-teachers, Knox?s commitment to a liberal arts education has been informed by a commitment to science?a commitment guided not only by the search for new knowledge but by our ambition to develop scientific knowledge that will improve our society and the lives of those with whom we share the planet. There is no better model for these goals and aspirations than Dr. Alan I. Leshner.

For his longstanding dedication to the promotion of science as a vehicle by which to address national and global challenges, I am honored to present Dr. Alan I. Leshner for the degree of Doctor of Science.

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