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04-03-2006

Leader of Small Pox Eradication Program and Entrepreneur/ Philanthropist Will Receive Honorary Clarkson University Degrees

Alphonse Fletcher Jr., chairman and chief executive officer of Fletcher Asset Management Inc., and Dr. Donald A. Henderson, professor of medicine and infectious diseases and microbiology at the University of Pittsburgh's Center for Biosecurity, will be awarded honorary degrees from Clarkson University at the 113th Commencement in Potsdam, New York, Sunday, May 14.

Alphonse Fletcher Jr. founded Fletcher Asset Management Inc. in 1991. In addition to being a graduate of Harvard College, where he studied applied mathematics and serves as First Marshal of his class, Fletcher holds a master's degree in Environmental Management from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. He has a long-standing interest in community service and philanthropy, especially in the areas of environment and education.

A variety of projects, including forest de-fragmentation, the creation of urban parks, wetlands restoration, coastal ecology studies, and the preservation of historic architecture, have benefited from Fletcher's involvement and generosity. As a strong supporter of education, he has donated over 1,000 copies of Microsoft's Encarta Africana software to public elementary, middle and high schools in New York City and surrounding areas. He has arranged for students from New York City and Connecticut to visit a company-sponsored exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art titled "African American Artists, 1929-1945: Prints, Drawings and Paintings," as well as a related exhibit at the Studio Museum in Harlem.

Fletcher's commitment to community service and his contributions to business and society, including the establishment of a University Professorship at Harvard, have earned him numerous awards and honors. In the spring of 1996, Harvard University announced the endowment of the Alphonse Fletcher University Professorship. He has also received the Ernst & Young New York City Entrepreneur of the Year award, the Sponsors for Educational Opportunity�s 2002 Leadership Award, and the 2004 United Negro College Funds Extraordinary Black Man Award.

Dr. Donald A. Henderson is most widely known for having directed the World Health Organization's (WHO) global program to eradicate smallpox, once the most widely feared of all infectious diseases. Working for little more than 10 years to address the problem, Henderson was able to lead WHO to discover and contain the final cases of smallpox in Somalia in 1977, which lead to the worldwide eradication of the disease.

Henderson received his medical degree from the University of Rochester and a master of Public Health degree from Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health. He is currently a professor of Medicine and Public Health and a Distinguished Scholar at the University of Pittsburgh's Center for Biosecurity.

Throughout his career, Henderson has played a leading role in developing policies and plans for national public health preparedness. In this role he has dealt with the challenges of new and emerging infections, such as avian influenza and monkey pox, and the threat of biological weapons. In 1966 he was appointed to direct the World Health Organization's (WHO) successful global smallpox eradication program. In 1974, he was instrumental in initiating WHO's global program of immunization, which has vaccinated 80 percent of the world's children against six major diseases and has as a goal the eradication of poliomyelitis. From 1977 through August 1990, Henderson was dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. He founded the Johns Hopkins Center for Civilian Biodefense Studies in 1998. In 2001, he became the first national director of the Office of Public Health Emergency Preparedness.

Clarkson University, located in Potsdam, New York, is a private, nationally ranked University with a reputation for developing innovative leaders in engineering, business, the sciences, health sciences and the humanities. At Clarkson, 3,000 high-ability students excel in an environment where learning is not only positive, friendly and supportive but spans the boundaries of traditional disciplines and knowledge. Faculty achieves international recognition for their research and scholarship and connects students to their leadership potential in the marketplace through dynamic, real-world problem solving.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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