On June 15 at 9 a.m., Drexel University will celebrate its 126th Commencement at the Daskalakis Athletic Center. Receiving this year’s honorary degrees from LeBow College of Business are Charles E. Haldeman, Jr., noted financier; Buzz Bissinger, a prolific Pulitzer prize-winning author and Robert and Esther “Penny” Fox, chairman and CEO of his investment firm and noted philanthropist, respectively.
Charles E. Haldeman Jr. served from 2009-2012 as the chief executive officer of the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, known as Freddie Mac, a publicly traded company that is the second largest source of mortgage financing in the United States. He joined Freddie Mac when there was no CEO, CFO or COO and managed to stabilize the company by building a management team, developing a vision and establishing priorities. Prior to his position at Freddie Mac, he was chairman of Putnam Investments, where he had previously served as president and chief executive officer. During his tenure, he sold Putnam Investments to Power Financial Corporation in January 2007 for $3.9 billion. This all-cash transaction successfully closed in August 2007.
He was named by CFA Magazine as “One of the Most Influential CFA Institute Members” in 2006, which cited his personal commitment to fiduciary duty, his work to restore Putnam’s reputation and his creation of an organizational culture that reinforced trust in the firm. In 2010, Bloomberg Businessweek named Haldeman one of the “50 Most Powerful People in Real Estate.”
Among the nation’s most honored and distinguished writers, Buzz Bissinger is the winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the Livingston Award, the American Bar Association Silver Gavel Award and the National Headliners Award, among others. A Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, he is the author of the highly acclaimed nonfiction books: Friday Night Lights, A Prayer for the City, Three Nights in August, Shooting Stars and Father’s Day.
Bissinger has been a reporter for some of the nation’s most prestigious newspapers; a magazine writer with published work in Vanity Fair, The New York Times Magazine and Sports Illustrated; and a co-producer and writer for the ABC television drama “NYPD Blue.” Two of his works were made into the critically acclaimed films: Friday Night Lights and Shattered Glass. His book Friday Night Lights also served as the inspiration for the television series of the same name. The book, a New York Times number one bestseller, published in 1990, has sold roughly 2 million copies and is still in print.
His journalism career began at the Ledger-Star in Norfolk, Virginia. Bissinger then moved to The St. Paul Pioneer Press and later The Philadelphia Inquirer. It was at the Inquirer in 1987 that he and two colleagues won a Pulitzer Prize for reporting a six-part investigative series on the Philadelphia court system.
A successful businessman and philanthropist respectively, Robert and Penny Fox will also receive an honorary degree. Robert Fox is chairman and CEO of R.A.F. Industries, a private investment company acquiring and managing a diversified group of operating companies. Before R.A.F. Industries, Fox was president and chairman of the board of Warner Company and chairman of the board of the Waste Resources Corporation. He serves as a member of the board of managers of the Wistar Institute, the board of directors of the Foreign Policy Research Institute and the Scholars Academies. He is an emeritus trustee at the University of Pennsylvania.
Penny Fox is a trustee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. She also serves on the board of managers of the Moore College of Art and Design, and served as secretary of the board and chair of the trustees for several years. Since 2001, she has served on the board of the Pennsylvania Ballet.