Honorary Doctorate Recipients Named

Contact: Ralph Derickson


The degree recipients, their titles, and the degrees they will receive are:

  • Photo of John D. Baxter
    John D. Baxter, professor of medicine, biochemistry and biophysics at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), honorary doctor of science degree;
  • Photo of James W. Stucker
    James W. Stuckert, chairman and chief executive officer of J.J.B. Hilliard Lyons Inc., an honorary doctor of letters degree, and
  • Photo of George Carlton Wright
    George Carlton Wright, president of Prairie View A&M University, Prairie View, Texas, an honorary doctor of letters degree.


LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 2, 2004) -- The University of Kentucky Board of Trustees today approved honorary doctorate degrees for a medical scientist, a business executive, and a university president. The degrees will be awarded at UK’s 137th Commencement set for Saturday, May 8, in Rupp Arena in downtown Lexington.

The degree recipients, their titles, and the degrees they will receive are:

Baxter, a Lexington native, graduated cum laude from UK with a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry in 1962. He attended Yale Medical School where he won several academic awards. In 1970, he became the Dernham Senior Fellow in Oncology at the University of California San Francisco. His research involves receptors in the nucleus of a cell and how they affect human health and disease.

During his career at UCSF, Baxter also served as director of the university’s Metabolic Research Unit from 1981 to 2000 and as chief of the division of endocrinology from 1980 to 1997. He was president of the International Endocrine Society in 2002 and was inducted into UK’s Hall of Distinguished Alumni in 1980

Information about his research, including cloning growth hormone genes for medical and agricultural purposes, has been published in several books and scientific journals.

Baxter is also the founder and director of several successful biotechnology companies that have collaborated with the pharmaceutical industry to develop and market treatments for heart failure, flesh wounds, obesity, high cholesterol, diabetes, hepatitis and cataracts.

Stuckert, a 1960 UK graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering and a master’s degree in business administration, joined W.L. Lyons and Co. in 1968. The company later merged with J.J.B. Hilliard. He became a partner in the merged company and has served on its board of directors since 1972. He was elected chairman and chief executive officer in 1995.

While a student at UK, Stuckert was a member of five academic honorary societies and served as business manager of the Kentucky Engineering Magazine. He has been a leader in the Jefferson County UK Alumni Association for 40 years and has served as president of the UK National Alumni Association.

Stuckert served as chairman of the 2000-2003 UK fund-raising campaign that brought in more than $600 million to the university. He remains the 2004 chair of the UK Development Council. He also chaired the Corporate and Foundation Committee for the William T. Young Library campaign and was a member of the UK Presidential Search Committee in 2000 and 2001. He was inducted into the UK Hall of Distinguished Alumni in 2000.

Wright, who was named the seventh president of Prairie View A&M in 2003, is a Lexington native who earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in history in 1972 and a master’s degree in history in 1974. His doctorate in history (1977) is from Duke University. His research focuses on the lives of Kentucky’s post-Civil War African-American population.

Wright has published three books about Kentucky, two of which received the Governor’s Award for the best book on Kentucky. His research has also led to the production of two television documentaries, “Trouble Behind” about the 1919 Corbin race riot and “Upon This Rock: the Black Church in Kentucky.”

He served on the faculty of the University of Texas at Austin from 1980 to 1993, where he won five teaching awards and was named a member of its Best Professor Hall of Fame in 1991.

UK President Lee T. Todd Jr. gave the board a report on efficiency efforts UK has enacted in the past three years that have enabled the university to save some $57.5 million to help offset the nearly $74 million in cumulative state-mandated budget cuts UK has experienced since July 1, 2001.

UK’s budget shortfall, the president said, was managed in three ways: reallocation of funds from efficiency efforts, reserves and working capital, and tuition. As examples, he said an administrative reorganization in 2002-2003 that eliminated one college and merged several academic departments saved $8.5 million.

The president said the saved money was invested in “people capital,” including faculty and staff raises, $9.3 million in improved health benefits for employees and their families, and $11.6 million in increased institutionally supported scholarships.
In other action, the board:

  • Appointed Jay A. Perman as dean of the College of Medicine and vice president for clinical affairs for the Chandler Medical Center, effective May 1, 2004, and
  • Approved a resolution honoring U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Jeffrey C. Graham, a 2003 UK civil engineering graduate who was killed in action Feb. 19 near Khaldiyah, Iraq.

Back to Campus News Homepage