Former Procter & Gamble Co. Chairman and CEO to Give Commencement Address
A.G. Lafley, former chairman and CEO of the Procter & Gamble Co., and chairman of Hamilton’s board of trustees, will deliver the Commencement address at Hamilton on Sunday, May 20, at 10:30 a.m., in the Margaret Bundy Scott Field House. A live webcast of the commencement ceremony will be available online beginning at 10:15 a.m.
Lafley, a 1969 Hamilton graduate, will be awarded an honorary degree at the college’s Commencement ceremony, along with novelist Peter Cameron, a 1982 Hamilton graduate; Geoffrey Canada, CEO of the Harlem Children’s Zone; Letitia Chambers, president and CEO of the Heard Museum; and Eugenie Havemeyer, a life trustee of Hamilton College and founding trustee of Kirkland College. Canada will offer the Baccalaureate sermon on Saturday, May 19, at 3 p.m., in the Scott Field House. A class of 462 students is expected to receive degrees during Hamilton’s bicentennial year Commencement.
A.G. Lafley ’69
In 2000, A.G. Lafley was elected president and chief executive of Procter & Gamble (P&G), and in 2002, he was elected chairman of the board of directors, a position he held until his retirement in 2010. In 2006, he was honored as CEO of the Year by Chief Executive Magazine and was named one of “America’s Best Leaders” by U.S. News and World Report. In December, Lafley wrote “A Liberal Education: Preparation for Career Success” for the Huffington Post.
After graduating from Hamilton, Lafley served in the U.S. Navy from 1970 to 1975. He received an MBA from Harvard University in 1977 and then joined Procter & Gamble’s marketing department. Lafley was named P&G group vice president in 1992, and in 1995 he became executive vice president with responsibility for Asia. During his three years leading that business, he laid the foundation for a return to growth in Japan and helped build the business in China from less than $90 million to nearly $1 billion.
Lafley was named president of P&G’s global beauty care business and the North America market development organization in 1999. Under his leadership, P&G’s North America business achieved record net sales.
Lafley, who has served on Hamilton’s board of trustees for 19 years, was elected chairman of the board in 2007. During his time at P&G, he was involved in many community activities in Cincinnati, including serving as a member of the Xavier University board of trustees, as chairman of the Cincinnati Center City Development Corp. (C3DC), and as a board member for the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Lafley currently serves on the board of directors of the General Electric Co. and as a special partner at Clayton, Dubilier and Rice, a private equity firm.
Peter Cameron ’82
Novelist Peter Cameron graduated from Hamilton in 1982 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature. His most recent novel, Coral Glynn, was published in March and was selected as an Oprah.com Book of the Week.
He is the author of two collections of stories, One Way or Another and Far-flung, and five novels: Leap Year, The Weekend, Andorra, The City of Your Final Destination and Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You.
Cameron’s short fiction has been published in many magazines and journals, including The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, The Paris Review, The Kenyon Review, The New England Review and The Yale Review. Four of his short stories have been selected for The PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories, most recently “The End of My Life in New York” in 2010. The PEN/O. Henry is considered “the nation’s most prestigious awards for short fiction,” according to The Atlantic Monthly.
Cameron is the recipient of grants from The National Endowment for the Arts and the John S. Guggenheim Foundation. He has taught at Columbia University, Sarah Lawrence College and The New School, and has worked administratively for The Trust for Public Land and Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund.
In 2010, Cameron established Wallflower Press, a small private press that publishes limited-edition chapbooks featuring his work, and the work of authors he admires. Each book is edited, designed and crafted by Cameron.
A member of the board of directors of The MacDowell Colony and Yaddo, Cameron lives in New York City.
Geoffrey Canada is president and CEO of the Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ), a nonprofit geared toward helping thousands of low-income children and families in a 100-block area of New York City. In his more than two decades with HCZ, Canada has become nationally recognized for his pioneering work as an advocate for education reform that takes a comprehensive, holistic approach to building a better community.
Canada grew up in the South Bronx, in a poor, sometimes-violent neighborhood. Despite his troubled surroundings, he succeeded academically, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree from Bowdoin College and a master’s degree in education from the Harvard School of Education.
In 1983, Canada joined HCZ, Inc. (then called the Rheedlen Foundation) as education director. Prior to that, he worked as director of the Robert White School, a private day school for troubled inner-city youth in Boston.
In June 2004, a New York Times Magazine cover story declared HCZ “one of the most ambitious social experiments of our time.” A year later, Canada was named one of America’s Best Leaders by U.S. News and World Report. More recently, President Obama has spoken of the program as one he’d like to see replicated in other urban areas nationwide.
A recipient of the first Heinz Award in 1994, Canada was given the Harold W. McGraw Jr. Prize in Education in 2004 and Child Magazine’s Children’s Champion Award. In 2009, he received the Independent Sector’s John W. Gardner Leadership Award, and he was named to Time Magazine’s “Time 100” list of the world’s most influential people in 2011.
Canada recently received the second Harvard Graduate School of Education Medal for Education Impact, the highest honor given by the school. The medal is awarded to a person who is making a lasting difference in the field of education and on the lives of learners across the nation and beyond.
In 2010, Letitia Chambers was appointed director of the world-renowned Heard Museum in Phoenix Ariz., where she oversees 138 employees, 700 guild members and a $10.6 million annual budget. The Heard draws about 250,000 people annually and houses more than 32,000 works of art and objects related to the arts, heritage and life ways of the indigenous peoples of the Americas, with an emphasis on American Indian tribes of the Southwest.
Previously, Chambers was founder and CEO of the Washington, D.C., policy consulting firm Chambers Associates, which she led for two decades. She has often testified as an expert witness before the U.S. Congress and in the U.S. court system and has published or presented more than 50 papers, primarily related to public policy issues. Chambers sold the firm in 2001 to Navigant Consulting, a Chicago-based firm with global outreach. As a managing director at Navigant, she oversaw initiatives related to both public policy and management consulting.
Chambers has held a number of senior positions in the federal government, and, in 1996, she was appointed by President Clinton and confirmed by the Senate as a U.S. representative to the United Nations General Assembly, a position with ambassadorial rank.
Chambers has served in key positions on a variety of corporate and non-profit boards. She served for a decade on the board of the Institute of American Indian Arts and Culture (IAIA), which includes both a college and a contemporary Indian art museum in Santa Fe, and as a founding director of the new Native Arts and Cultures Foundation. In these and related roles, she has endeavored to preserve and enhance Indian arts and cultures, improve educational opportunities for Indian students and broaden the public’s appreciation for Native contributions to American civilization and to the world at large.
A graduate of the University of Oklahoma, Chambers holds a doctorate in educational research and curriculum development from Oklahoma State University.
Eugenie Havemeyer GP’00
Eugenie Havemeyer GP’00, a life trustee of Hamilton College, was a founding member of the board of trustees of Kirkland College, Hamilton’s coordinate institution for women that was established in 1968 and merged with Hamilton in 1978. She served as vice chair of that board from 1971 to 1978, and her selection to receive an honorary degree in Hamilton’s bicentennial year acknowledges the role Kirkland played in the 200-year history of the formerly all-male college.
A retired school psychologist, Havemeyer earned a bachelor’s degree from Vassar College. She then earned a master’s degree in 1976, a master of philosophy in 1979, and a Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1981. She served as a trustee at Vassar for 12 years and received the college’s Award for Outstanding Service in 2003.
At Vassar she also served on the President’s Advisory Council, as reunion chair of her class, and sat on the board of the Friends of the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center. Havemeyer was chair of the prospective students committee for the Vassar Club of NY and alumnae council representative.
She has also served as a trustee at St. Paul’s School in Concord, N.H., and on the governing board of the National Council of Churches.
Her brothers, Howard “Tom” Thomas, Jr. and John Thomas, graduated from Hamilton in 1938 and 1940, respectively.