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The Echo
Taylor University, Upland, IN
Saturday, June 22, 2024
The Echo

Taylor to confer five honorary doctorates

Individuals recognized for their achievements

Taylor University will confer five honorary doctorates this spring to individuals the administration has observed as faithful representatives of Christ in their respective fields. 

The recipients are Philip Anschutz, Jamie Fellowes, Jim Morris, Edgar Sandoval and Elaine Vandermeulen.

Both Philip Anschutz and Jamie Fellowes will receive the doctor of business degree, honoris causa.

Philip Anschutz is a successful businessman recognized by publications such as Forbes and Business Insider for his accomplishments in industries, including energy, entertainment, sports and real estate. 

Jamie Fellowes serves as the Chairman of the Board at Fellowes Brands and was named “Legend of the Industry” by Business Solutions Associations in 2022. He has been a faithful supporter of Taylor University.

Jim Morris has held leadership in political and philanthropic settings. He served in positions such as chief of staff to the Indianapolis mayor, Richard Lugar, and president of the Lilly Endowment. Morris will receive the doctor of public service degree, honoris causa.

Edgar Sandoval is the president and CEO of World Vision. He grew up witnessing poverty in Central and South America and later returned to America with only $50 in his pocket, according to World Vision’s website. He will be recognized with the doctor of divinity degree, honoris causa.

Elaine Vandermeulen graduated from Taylor University in 1962 and has supported several of the university’s initiatives since. She and her late husband ran Great Lakes Fasteners for 40 years. She will be honored with the doctor of humane letters degree, honoris causa.

Will Hagen, vice president for strategy and chief of staff, said the conferral of honorary doctorates is the highest honor a university can bestow on someone else. 

“It’s a special opportunity for us to engage with and recognize individuals who have really used the gifts the Lord has given them in a superlative way,” Hagen said. 

Considering the weight of this tradition, Taylor utilizes an intricate process to decide who they will award the doctorates to each year, starting with nominations. From there, Taylor does thorough research on the nominees regarding aspects like their career history or any potential connection they have with the university, Hagen said. 

Provost Jewerl Maxwell said the candidates are passed to him from the president’s office. He then serves as a sort of liaison, sharing the names of candidates with faculty officers and reporting their feedback back to the president’s office.

After discussion, the university decides on a handful of worthy individuals to receive this unique degree, Hagen said.

Skip Trudeau, vice president for Student Development and Intercollegiate Athletics, said there is a reason why they are called “honorary” doctorates. The recipients are typically awarded the doctorates at a point in their career when they have already made notable contributions. They have earned it through the life they have lived, Trudeau said.  

“The university grants [honorary doctorates] to people that they want to say have made distinguished contributions to the cause of Christian higher education or just have lived a life so well that we want to acknowledge them for that,” Trudeau said. 
For more information on this year’s recipients, visit Taylor’s website.