Honorary Degrees, Faculty Titles, Bestowed by Trustees

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(Left to right) Maryrose Sylvester, James Bailey, Susan Brown, James Albert

At its Feb. 23 meeting, the BGSU Board of Trustees recognized the contributions and accomplishments of two alumni and two outstanding faculty members. It moved to confer honorary degrees upon alumni Maryrose Sylvester and James Bailey, who will be recognized at BGSU commencement ceremonies, she in the fall and he in May. Honorary faculty titles were approved for Drs. Susan Brown, sociology, and James Albert, mathematics and statistics.

Sylvester will receive an honorary doctorate in business administration. A 1988 graduate of the procurement and production management program in the College of Business, she has gone on to an illustrious international career with General Electric (now called GE Lighting), beginning with her 1987 internship with the company. She has held positions of increasing responsibility and authority, from head of sourcing for GE Lighting Europe, based in Budapest, to CEO of GE Lighting, since 2011. A longtime advocate for women’s professional opportunity, she is also vice chair of the Board of Governors for the National Electrical Manufacturers Assoc.

Bailey, a 1967 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and now a BGSU national trustee, will receive an honorary doctorate of humane letters. His influence can be felt in the daily lives of people across the world. As part of his distinguished banking career, he helped introduce ATMs, marketed credit cards and promoted other innovations in today’s “cashless” economy. After a long career with Citibank, he moved in 2003 to U.S. Trust as chief operating officer and was deeply involved in the global economy, assisting China’s entry into the World Trade Organization.

His impact on BGSU has also been far-reaching. He and his wife have funded numerous scholarships, including the Bailey Family Foundation Scholarship, and the Bailey Family Endowed Professorship for mathematics and mathematics education. He is a past member of the BGSU Foundation Board.

Faculty honored were Drs. Susan Brown and James Albert. They will also be formally recognized at the April 9 Faculty Excellence Awards.

Brown was conferred the title of Distinguished Research Professor. A professor and chair of the sociology department and co-founder, with Dr. Wendy Manning, Distinguished Research Professor of sociology, of the National Center for Family and Marriage Research, Brown is also a current holder of the Professorship of Research Excellence, which recognizes outstanding achievement. Recognized as one of the top and most visible family sociologists and demographers in the country, her prolific work on family dynamics and family relationships in the United States, including divorce and cohabitation among older adults, is widely cited and has created a new subfield of sociology.

Albert received the title of Distinguished University Professor. He is a professor of mathematics and statistics and an internationally known expert in Bayesian analysis. Albert has written specialized software for teaching the theory and for other topics in math and statistics. He has also carved out a new field of statistics related to sports, in particular baseball, and has heightened interest in statistics through the use of sports examples and applications presented in papers, technical reports, lectures, blogs and books. At BGSU he has developed a new undergraduate major in data science and has made numerous other contributions to the University in teaching and service.