2011 Commencement speakers announced
Dr. Lee T. Todd of the University of Kentucky and Dr. T. Pearse Lyons of Alltech will be the featured speakers at Centre College’s 188th commencement ceremony to be held Sunday, May 22. Both will receive an honorary degree of humane letters from Centre during the ceremony. In addition, both will be honored as Outstanding Kentuckians for their work with Energizing Kentucky.
Dr. Lee T. Todd, Jr.
In June 2011, Dr. Lee T. Todd will retire as the University of Kentucky’s 11th president. Since assuming the position ten years ago, Dr. Todd has concentrated his efforts on helping his alma mater achieve a greater level of national prominence, striving toward making UK a national top-20 public research university.
This state-mandated goal has led to remarkable growth across a number of university measures during Dr. Todd’s tenure. Enrollment at UK increased 13 percent between 2000 and 2008, for instance, and last year, the university set a school and state record for the highest six-year graduation rate among public universities.
One of Dr. Todd’s passions has been to make Kentucky’s economy more globally competitive. He established the position of Vice President for Commercialization and Economic Development that reports directly to him to increase substantially the use of university intellectual property to establish start-up companies. Dr. Todd was instrumental in creating the Lexington Venture Club and the Bluegrass Angels Network. His efforts have resulted in a significant increase in the amount of venture capital available in the region and the number of start-up companies formed by university faculty and staff, as well as the number of patents issued and royalties received by the university.
In 2008, Dr. Todd played an important role as co-creator of “Energizing Kentucky,” along with Berea College President Larry D. Shinn, Centre College President John A. Roush, and University of Louisville President James Ramsey. The three-part conference “public policy focus” sought to encourage Kentucky to focus on a coherent and integrated energy policy and to assist this policy formation by bringing together state and national energy experts to discuss the economic, educational and environmental opportunities and challenges presented by the world’ps current energy situation.
Todd and his collaborators believe that higher education has an important role to play in the work ahead: framing issues, seeking solutions, providing basic and applied research, and educating the next generation and that this work requires a partnership across the Commonwealth that includes business and public policy leaders, as well as those involved in education.
Dr. T. Pearse Lyons
Dr. T. Pearse Lyons, a biochemist and businessman, has received many honors for his work. As the founder and president of Alltech, a global animal health company that employs more than 2,300 people and has a presence in more than 120 countries, Dr. Lyons was recently recognized as one of the top 15 Irish‐American life scientists of the year by Biolink USA‐Ireland. His contribution to science and industry has been recognized with honorary doctorates from the University of Plymouth in England, Heriot‐Watt University in Scotland, and his alma mater, National University of Ireland in Dublin.
Dr. Lyons received his bachelor’s degree from the National University of Ireland in Dublin and pursued his master’s and doctoral degrees at the University of Birmingham in England. He later worked as a biochemist in Irish Distillers before founding Alltech in 1980. Today, the company is a global leader in the animal health industry, boasting group sales of more than $500 million.
Lyons received the State Export Award for Kentucky and was acknowledged as the leader of one of the top 100 fastest‐growing high‐tech companies by World Trade Magazine. He was the Kentucky recipient of the Entrepreneur of the Year in 1993. He has authored more than 20 books and numerous research papers in scientific journals.
In 2010, Alltech was the title sponsor of the International Federation for Equestrian Sports (FEI) World Equestrian Games held in Lexington, Ky., the first time the Games have been held in the United States. It is estimated that the Games brought more than half a million people to Central Kentucky from 63 countries and all 50 U.S. states.
In June 2008, Dr. Lyons spoke to participants of the first of the three-part “Energizing Kentucky” public policy focus on energy. In his opening session, Dr. Lyons underscored the idea that this time of energy crisis is also a time of great opportunity. “It’s time to get going,” Dr. Lyon’s told the crowd, emphasizing the importance of a long-term, sustained commitment to education, research, and deployment of energy efficiency measures and renewable, sustainable energy supplies.