Degree citation

Honorary degree citation: John C. Whitehead
Presented by Thomas Renyi P’97, P’04,¬†Trustee
Conferred by President Hansen

Renyi: President Hansen, I am honored to present John C. Whitehead.

Central to liberal learning is the preparation of the individual for the world after college. We strive to cultivate in our students ethical leadership, informed citizenship and service to others; they must understand that their education brings with it obligations beyond themselves. Today we recognize a person who exemplifies this ideal.

John C. Whitehead’s undergraduate experience at Haverford College prepared him well for the many roles he would play later in life. After serving in World War II, he built a successful career in investment banking at Goldman, Sachs. In the 1980s he served as deputy secretary of state, participating in diplomatic efforts at a critical time in world history, as the Soviet Union dissolved and communism in Europe waned.

For the last 20 years, Mr. Whitehead has shown tireless devotion to charitable organizations dedicated to improving people’s lives through education, international understanding, environmental preservation and the fine and performing arts. In 2001, he drew upon all of these commitments when he assumed the chairship of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, the agency charged with the revitalization of lower Manhattan in the wake of Sept. 11, 2001. To this immensely complex effort, Mr. Whitehead brings a reasoned and respectful approach to services for victims’ families, the development of new housing, the creation of business opportunities, and the redevelopment of transportation systems. At the same time, the product of this work must be a beautiful and innovative environment that is a national symbol of hope and perseverance, a phoenix rising.

For his conscientious leadership in business, government and civic life, and for his commitment to a civil society, I present John C. Whitehead for the degree Doctor of Laws.


Hansen: John C. Whitehead, through a successful career and an extraordinary record of philanthropy and service to others, your life is an eloquent expression of principled citizenship.

Therefore, by the authority vested in me by the Board of Trustees, I hereby confer upon you the degree of Doctor of Laws, with all the rights, privileges and responsibilities which here and everywhere pertain to this degree.