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2013 Honorary Degree Recipients

Roderick L. Ireland
Chief Justice Ireland

Roderick L. Ireland

Doctor of Laws (Honoris Causa)


Roderick L. Ireland is the chief justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. He began his legal career in 1969 as a Neighborhood Legal Services attorney, then worked as a public defender with the Roxbury Defenders Committee, as chief attorney, deputy director, and executive director.  He was assistant secretary and chief legal counsel for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Administration and Finance, and chair of the Massachusetts Board of Appeals on Motor Vehicle Liability Policies and Bonds.

Chief Justice Ireland has been a jurist for more than 35 years, serving as a judge of the Juvenile Court from 1977 to 1990, after which he was appointed an associate justice of the Massachusetts Appeals Court.  He was first appointed as an associate justice of the Supreme Judicial Court in 1997, and became the senior associate justice in 2008. In 2010, he was appointed as the 36th chief justice. The author of a two-volume treatise on Massachusetts Juvenile Law published by Thomson West Publishing, he is a faculty member at Northeastern University and the Appellate Judges Seminar at New York University Law School. When he was appointed to the Supreme Judicial Court in 1997, he was the first African-American justice in its then 305-year history and now serves as its first African-American chief justice.

He has received a number of honors and awards, including the Great Friend of Justice Award from the Massachusetts Bar Foundation, the Judicial Excellence Award from the Massachusetts Bar Association and Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly newspaper, the Judicial Excellence Award from the Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys, and the St. Thomas More Award from Boston College Law School, among others.

A native of Springfield, Mass., he received a Bachelor of Arts from Lincoln University; Juris Doctor from Columbia Law School; Master of Laws from Harvard Law School; and Doctor of Philosophy in Law, Policy, and Society from Northeastern University. 


Frank Mayadas
A. Frank Mayadas

A. Frank Mayadas

Doctor of Science (Honoris Causa)


As the founding president of The Sloan Consortium (Sloan-C),  Mayadas would be regarded by many as the father of online learning. Mayadas has provided funding, infrastructure, and research that were essential to the growth and acceptance of online education. He predicted that education via the Internet would be different and superior to conventional education because it would be asynchronous, allow learner-learner and learner-instructor interactions, and over time be relatively inexpensive. These attributes had never before been available in distance education.

In 1992, Mayadas left behind a stellar research and management career and began working with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation on the Anytime, Anyplace Learning Initiative. He went on to found the Sloan Consortium, an organization of academic institutions dedicated to quality, breadth, and scale in online education, and The Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks (JALN).

He earned a Distinguished Service Award from the National University Telecommunications Network (NUTN) in 1999 and was elected in 2004 to the U.S. Distance Learning Association’s Hall of Fame. The A. Frank Mayadas Leadership Award in Online Education was established in his name by the Sloan Consortium in 2009 to honor outstanding individuals who exemplify his leadership and ideals.

Prior to joining the Sloan Foundation, Mayadas spent 29 years at IBM during which he headed IBM’s West Coast research operation and served a term as secretary of the IBM Corporation Management Board, working directly with the chairman, CFO, and president on matters of corporate strategy and management.

He has published 40 refereed papers on devices, systems, and solid-state physics and has been invited as a keynote speaker on these topics at major conferences. He holds a PhD in applied physics from Cornell University, and is a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, a former director of the Society of Engineering Science, and former chair of the advisory board, University of Illinois College of Engineering.