Headshot of Amy HermanAMY HERMAN ’88

Honorary Doctor of Letters

Founder and president, The Art of Perception Inc.

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Amy Herman ’88 (who also is delivering this year’s keynote speech) is the founder and president of The Art of Perception Inc., a New York-based organization that conducts professional development courses for leaders around the world, including at NATO, the French National Police, Doctors Without Borders, and Interpol.

For 16 years, Herman has provided leadership training to top officers in the United States military, law enforcement, medicine, education, and industry. Her innovative, interactive pedagogy—which uses artwork as a means to challenge people to change how they see things, make keener observations, and tactfully glean information from any situation to more effectively perform their jobs. 

Herman, who authored Visual Intelligence: Sharpen Your Perception, Change Your Life; Fixed: How to Perfect the Fine Art of Problem Solving; and smART: Use Your Eyes to Boost Your Brain, previously was the head of education for 10 years at The Frick Collection in New York City, where she oversaw educational collaborations and community initiatives. An art historian and attorney, Herman is a member of the New Jersey and Pennsylvania Bar Associations. 

Herman holds a Juris Doctor degree from George Washington University Law School, and a Master of Arts in art history from Hunter College.

It was during her days as an international affairs major at Lafayette, where she also studied art history, that Herman “discovered something in my liberal arts education I wouldn’t have otherwise: how powerful art is,” she says. “Now, I teach others how to look at art as data they’ve never seen before, ask questions, and use the power of perception to bring a fresh set of eyes to what they do every day.”

Headshot of Rep. Robert FreemanRobert L. Freeman

Honorary Doctor of Public Service

Democratic member of Pennsylvania House of Representatives, serving 136th Legislative District

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Robert L. Freeman is a Democratic member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, serving the 136th Legislative District.

Freeman was born in Easton, Pa., March 9, 1956, and is the son of the late Joyce Styers Freeman and the late Jacob B. Freeman. He graduated from Easton Area High School in 1975. Freeman earned his bachelor’s degree in history and political science from Moravian College in 1978. He earned his master’s degree in history from Lehigh University in 1984.

Freeman was first elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 1982 and served six two-year terms before leaving as the result of an unsuccessful bid for the State Senate in 1994.

From 1995 to 1997, he served as executive director of the Senate Democratic Policy Committee and as Democratic executive director of the Senate Local Government Committee from 1997 to 1998. He returned to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 1998 and has been reelected ever since.

Freeman is a former shop steward and member of the UFCW union. He is a recipient of the Elton Stone Award and Moravian College History Prize. He authored the article “Light Rail and the Lehigh Valley,” which appeared in the New Valley Press in 1981.

During his previous 12 years in the House, Freeman served as chairman of the House Select Committee on Land Use and Growth Management (1991-92), which recommended ways to improve growth management and reduce sprawl. He was one of the leaders in revising the Municipalities Planning Code in 2000 and wrote the Traditional Neighborhood Development section of the MPC. He authored the Elm Street Program, designed to revitalize older residential neighborhoods. The Elm Street legislation was signed into law in February 2004. Freeman was elected to the Easton Home Rule Charter Study Commission in 2006 and served as its chairman. The charter was approved by voters in 2007. 

He is recognized for his work on behalf of smart growth land use policies, environmental protection, and historic preservation. He has received awards from 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania and Preservation Pennsylvania for his leadership on these issues.

Freeman is chairman of the House Local Government Committee. He has previously served on the Labor Relations, Local Government, Environmental Resources and Energy, and State Government committees. 

Freeman, who resides in Easton, is married to Terri Arshan Freeman and has two stepchildren and five grandchildren.

Headshot of John SextonJohn Sexton

Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters

President emeritus of New York University, dean emeritus of NYU Law School

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John Sexton is president emeritus of New York University and dean emeritus of NYU Law School, having served 14 years in each role.

He has been chair of the American Council on Education, the Independent Colleges of New York, and the New York Academy of Sciences, as well as president of the Association of American Law Schools. He also has chaired the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Sexton is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and is the recipient of 25 honorary degrees. He has received the ACE’s Award for Presidential Leadership, and has been named one of America’s leading university presidents by Time magazine.

Throughout his service as dean and president, Sexton taught a full schedule of courses (at least four a year). His focus on students earned him NASPA President’s Award for advancing the quality of student life on campus. He continues to teach at NYU but also has devoted himself to providing education for the displaced and the poor. Sexton was the founding chair of the University of the People, a tuition-free online accredited American university serving tens of thousands of displaced persons in 200 countries.

Commonweal Magazine honored Sexton as its Catholic in the Public Square. France has inducted him into its Legion of Honor of France, and the United Arab Emirates has awarded him its highest civilian honor. In 2000, Emory University named him “Outstanding High School Debate Coach of the Last 50 Years.”

Sexton is the author of several books, including his 2013 book, Baseball as a Road to God, which was a New York Times bestseller.

Sexton earned a B.A. in history and a Ph.D. in religion from Fordham University, as well as a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He served as a law clerk at the United States Supreme Court to Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court Warren Burger.

He married Lisa Goldberg in 1976; she died in 2007. They have two children and five grandchildren.

Categorized in: Academic News, Alumni, Commencement 2024, Featured News, News and Features

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