Wendy and Hank Paulson, we welcome you back to College Hill, which you first came to know when your son Merritt, Class of 1995, was here as a student. In a way, you now have another tie to the College, or at least its namesake, for in 2006, you, Hank, became the most recent successor to Alexander Hamilton, our first Secretary of the Treasury.
In addition to ties to Hamilton, you have in common a passionate dedication to the environment, and especially wildlife conservation. While residing during much of your married life in the suburbs of Chicago, you spent your free time in outdoor pursuits, including hiking and kayaking, with occasional trips to far-off places to observe the flora and fauna. During the years that you, Hank, pursued your career at Goldman Sachs, rising from entry-level associate to chief executive officer of that premier investment banking and asset management firm, you, Wendy, devoted your time and volunteer efforts to environmental education. This included many years of teaching and guiding urban children along nature’s paths, introducing them to its wonders, particularly of the ornithological kind.
Both of you have taken leadership roles in organizational efforts on behalf of conservation. Wendy, you chair the board of Rare, a U.S.-based group that works globally to counter environmental threats, and have also been vice-chairman of the board of the Nature Conservancy, the worldwide environmental organization, as well as chairing its Illinois and New York chapters. Hank, besides having chaired the board of the Nature Conservancy and co-chaired its Asia-Pacific Council before you became Secretary of the Treasury, you are chairman emeritus of the Peregrine Fund, dedicated to the preservation of birds of prey in the wild.
Throughout your busy lives, you both have somehow succeeded in generously allocating time to pursue your wholehearted commitment to the cause of conservation and ecological preservation. To that end, you have jointly founded the Bobolink Foundation, which you, Wendy, run, to support education projects and programs aiding conservation. If our planet is to survive as fit for life of any kind, that cause must be universally embraced, and you together have set an example that it behooves us all to emulate.
Wendy J. and Henry M. Paulson, Jr., acting on the authority of the Board of Trustees, I am pleased to confer on each of you the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, admitting you to all of its rights and privileges. In token whereof, we present you with these diplomas and invest you with these hoods.
Joan Hinde Stewart
May 25, 2008