Rock legend, president of The Seeing Eye to be honored at Commencement

Rock legend, president of The Seeing Eye to be honored at Commencement

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Rock music legend Patti Smith and Dr. James A. Kutsch, Jr., president of The Seeing Eye, Inc., will receive honorary degrees at Rowan University's 84th annual undergraduate Commencement ceremony on Friday, May 16, at 10 a.m. on the University Green.


Rock music legend Patti Smith and Dr. James A. Kutsch, Jr., president of The Seeing Eye, Inc., will receive honorary degrees at Rowan University's 84th annual undergraduate Commencement ceremony on Friday, May 16, at 10 a.m. on the University Green.

Smith will receive an honorary Doctor of Letters degree in recognition of her success in the fields of music, literature and art. Kutsch will accept an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree in recognition of his dedicated work as an advocate for people with visual impairments.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Leonard Pitts, Jr., whose nationally syndicated column in The Miami Herald is read by millions of people each week, will give the Commencement address to 2,000 undergraduates.

Smith, who grew up in South Jersey and attended Deptford High School, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007. Additionally, she has received international acclaim for her art and poetry. In 2005, she was named a Commander of the Order of Arts and Literature by the Minister of Culture for the French Republic. Her artwork has been exhibited in leading galleries and museums in New York, Japan, Paris and Rome.

Smith attended Rowan--then known as Glassboro State College--from 1964 to 1966 before leaving to pursue a career in music.

Kutsch, of Morristown, leads the oldest existing guide dog school in the world. In 2006, he became the first-ever graduate of The Seeing Eye, Inc. to ascend to the organization's presidency. A frequent lecturer on disability awareness, adaptive technology and advocacy, Kutsch also designed and developed the first talking computer for blind computer users.

For almost 80 years, The Seeing Eye, Inc., located in Morristown, has paired close to 14,000 specially bred and trained dogs with people who are blind or visually impaired. Since 2004, 25 puppies from The Seeing Eye have been raised by groups of students on Rowan's campus through the Rowan University Forward to Freedom (RUFF). Altogether, nine members of the Class of 2008 have raised puppies through RUFF.

Smith and Kutsch will receive their honorary degrees and honorary doctoral hoods from Rowan President Donald J. Farish, Provost Ali Houshmand and Board of Trustees President Ronald Ianoale.

The ceremony will be broadcast live on Rowan Radio 89.7 WGLS-FM.

 

For more information about Patti Smith, visit www.pattismith.net