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Lafayette will award honorary doctorates to three distinguished leaders as part of the College’s 167th Commencement exercises Saturday, May 25. It will also confer an honorary bachelor of arts degree posthumously upon Aaron O. Hoff (1808-1902), a member of the Lafayette’s inaugural class in 1832 and its first African American student.

The Honorable Robert A. Freedberg, president judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Northampton County, Pa., a member of Lafayette’s Class of 1966, will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree. The College has already announced that journalist Jim Lehrer will deliver the commencement address and will receive an honorary Doctor of Letters, and Margaret Farley, Gilbert L. Stark Professor of Christian Ethics at Yale Divinity School, will deliver the baccalaureate address and will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity.

In addition, Charles E. Hugel, Class of 1951, will receive the Lafayette Medal for Distinguished Service, the College’s highest honor. The retired chairman of Asea Brown Boveri, Inc., Hugel chaired the spectacularly successful Lafayette Leadership Campaign, which has allowed Lafayette to achieve a national reputation for academic excellence and solidify its standing among America’s top colleges and universities. The campaign concluded in October 2001 with $213 million, far exceeding the original goal of $143 million.

Freedberg has served as president judge of the Court of Common Pleas since 1991. He began his first ten-year term in 1980, and was elected to his second ten-year term in 1989. From 1989 to 1991, he was administrative judge of the Domestic Relations Section. He was retained for a third term in 1999.

From 1970 to 1980, Freedberg maintained a private law practice in Easton. In addition, he was an assistant district attorney in Northampton County from 1973 to 1979 and assistant solicitor for the City of Easton from 1976 to 1980.

A graduate of Easton Area High School, Freedberg holds a bachelor of arts degree in government, with honors, from Lafayette. He received his J.D. degree in 1969 from Columbia University School of Law.

He is a member of the Pennsylvania Conference of State Trial Judges, was elected zone representative to the Executive Committee 1994-96, served as chairman of the Intermediate/Small Counties Subcommittee, and as a member of the Education Committee. He was chairman of the President Judges Committee. He is a member of the American, Pennsylvania, and Northampton County bar associations.

On May 6 the Lehigh County bar association honored Freedberg with its Liberty Bell Award at the eighth annual Law Day Luncheon.

Freedberg was nominated for the Arthur Rubloff Memorial Award for leadership and achievement by a disabled individual by United Cerebral Palsy of the Lehigh Valley in 1991 and 1994. In 1995, he served as chairman of the President’s Advisory Board of the Good Shepherd Home. He is a former member of the board of directors of United Cerebral Palsy of the Lehigh Valley, and the board of directors of Lehigh Valley Legal Services, and is past president of B’Nai Abraham Synagogue, Easton. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has appointed him a member of the Judicial Council of Pennsylvania, a committee of appellate judges, trial judges, lawyers, and citizens which advises the Supreme Court on administrative matters.

He frequently serves as a faculty member, lecturer, or presenter for various law seminars sponsored by Dickinson School of Law, the Pennsylvania Bar Institute, the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts, Lafayette College, Pennsylvania Association of Court Management, and Leadership Lehigh Valley.

Hoff sounded a trumpet summoning 43 students and three teachers on the very first day of classes at Lafayette, May 9, 1832. To commemorate the 100th anniversary of his death January 29, 1902, at age 94, Lafayette students led an initiative this spring to erect a memorial at Hoff’s unmarked gravesite in Easton Cemetery.

The memorial was unveiled May 5. Easton Mayor Thomas F. Goldsmith ’63 proclaimed the day “Aaron O. Hoff Day” in the city. That evening Lafayette held the 12th annual Aaron O. Hoff Awards ceremonies recognizing individuals and groups for their contributions to the College and the community.

Curlee Raven Holton, associate professor of art and director of Lafayette’s Experimental Printmaking Institute, designed a bronze statue of a horn blower standing atop a black granite memorial at the gravesite. The memorial includes bronze disks designed by Holton bearing Hoff’s image and telling his Lafayette legacy.

Money for scholarships and grants that will benefit the Easton community in Hoff’s honor is also being raised. “The purpose of this project does not stop at the cemetery,” says Landon J. Adams, a senior religion major from Columbus, Ohio, who chaired the Hoff centennial memorial project committee.

Goldsmith says, “Aaron O. Hoff was a vibrant member of our community. His service to the college and the city is truly worthy of the honor that this project is giving him. Mr. Hoff was a model citizen and our two communities are better because of him.”

The Lafayette Medal for Distinguished Service was established in 1987 to honor alumni and friends who have achieved distinguished and exemplary records of voluntary service in support of the College. The College’s highest award, it is given to those who have a demonstrated record of voluntary service in a variety of areas with noteworthy achievement in each.

The Hugel Science Center, dedicated June 1, 2001, is named for Charles Hugel and his wife, Cornelia F. (Nina) Hugel, in honor of their $10 million commitment to the campaign. The dedication coincided with his 50th reunion. A man of boundless generosity, Hugel took the opportunity to honor his lifelong mentor, Victor B. Liske, Lafayette Class of 1933, a high school teacher in his hometown of Plainfield, N.J., who encouraged Hugel to attend college. He announced the establishment of the Victor B. Liske ’33 Scholarship Fund to provide financial aid to students.

Lafayette awarded Hugel an honorary Doctor of Laws in 1986. He has held the two most prominent volunteer leadership positions at Lafayette—president of the Alumni Association and chair of the Board of Trustees. After serving as president of the Alumni Association from 1976-77, he joined the Board of Trustees. He was elected vice chair in 1981 and chair in 1986, a position he held until his retirement from the board in 1992, when he was named emeritus trustee.

As vice chair, Hugel headed the capital portion of Lafayette’s previous fund-raising campaign, The Campaign for Lafayette, a six-year development effort that raised more than $53 million.

Hugel, of Melvin Village, New Hampshire, is a member of the Société d’Honneur, created by the Board of Trustees to recognize exceptional generosity by alumni, parents, and friends of Lafayette. An earlier gift from the Hugels endowed the Cornelia F. Hugel Chair in History, a position held by a specialist in the history of American foreign policy and diplomacy.

Hugel earned a bachelor of arts in psychology from Lafayette and worked 30 years with AT&T, rising from a student engineer with New Jersey Bell to the presidency of Ohio Bell and then to the executive vice presidency of AT&T.

In 1982, Hugel became president and chief operating office of Combustion Engineering, Inc. He was named chief executive officer in 1984 and elected chairman in 1988. In December 1989 the Swiss firm ABB Asea Brown Boveri, Ltd., acquired Combustion Engineering, which became Asea Brown Boveri, Inc. Hugel served as its chairman until his retirement in 1991.

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