May 16, 2013

University Communications

University to Celebrate 195th Commencement This Saturday

Event Details: 9:00 a.m., May 18, Chaifetz Arena, 1 S. Compton Ave., St. Louis, MO, 63103

Saint Louis University will celebrate its 2013 Commencement at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 18, at Chaifetz Arena, #1 South Compton Avenue.

Author and motivational speaker John Foppe (A&S '92, Grad '01) will address this year's graduates.

SLU will bestow honorary degrees on Foppe, as well as international alumni, Chanin Vongkusolkit (Cook Grad '77) and Metee Auapinyakul (Cook Grad '78), and local philanthropists, Joe and Loretta Scott.

For family and friends unable to attend this year's Commencement, the University will stream the ceremony live on the Internet. To learn more, visit the University's commencement website.

Below is more information on this year's honorary degree recipients:

John Foppe

John Foppe
John Foppe.

From the beginning of his life, John Foppe was faced with a set of circumstances that would be daunting to even the strongest person. Born with no arms and substantial birth defects — and a supportive family that helped him develop a strong sense of independence — Foppe focused on what he had, not on what he didn't. His optimism and tenacious spirit helped him overcome every hurdle he faced.

From everyday tasks to pursuing his education at SLU to running a business that inspires and assists others, Foppe embraces the possibilities of each new day. In 1995, he founded Visionary Velocity Worldwide, an international corporate motivational company. Foppe is also the author of What's Your Excuse? Making the Most of What You Have.

Foppe is currently the executive director of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in St. Louis, which provides assistance to those in need through a variety of programs that includes food service, shelter, counseling and many others.

The degree of Doctor of Humanities and Public Service, honoris causa, will be conferred upon John Foppe.

Metee Auapinyakul

Metee Auapinyakul
Metee Auapinyakul.

As a student at the John Cook School of Business, Metee Auapinyakul not only pursued the study of international business but developed a commitment to sustainability and met a fellow student, Chanin Vongkusolkit, who would become a lifelong friend and business partner.

Both young men envisioned the idea of an energy company that would explore new energy sources while running on traditional ones. In 1983, that vision became reality with the establishment of the Banpu Public Company Limited, which has become one of the most successful energy companies in Asia. Today, Auapnyakul serves as director and executive officer of the company.

With a commitment to both sustainable energy and education, Banpu places a strong focus on social responsibility and has pioneered alternative energy exploration and "green" power development in Asia. That commitment also reaches back to his years at SLU, where he embraced the Catholic, Jesuit values to make the world a better place. A $2 million grant from Banpu to the University's Center for Sustainability has helped advance that vision.

In addition to his leadership at Banpu, hel has shared his expertise with companies and government bodies in his native Thailand. He is a board member of the National Accreditation Council for the Ministry of India and has served as a honorary advisr to the Energy Committee of the House of Representatives in Thailand. His commitment to SLU also continues, as he serves as president of the University's Thailand Alumni Club, one of SLU's most active alumni groups in the world.

The degree of Doctor of Business, Engineering and Technology, honoris causa, will be conferred upon Metee Auapinyakul.

Chanin Vongkusolkit

Chanin Vongkusolkit
Chanin Vongkusolkit.

When Chanin Vongkusolkit (Grad Cook '77) came to the John Cook School of Business he had already earned his undergraduate degree in economics from Thammasat University, one of the most renowned institutions of higher education in Thailand. The decision to earn his MBA at SLU was one that would have far reaching effects when he struck up a friendship with fellow business student Metee Auapinyakul.

During their studies at SLU, the men formulated a shared vision for a business that would ultimately become Banpu Public Company Limited. Today, he serves as chief executive officer, president and director of the company, which is one of the leading providers of energy in Thailand, China, Indonesia, Mongolia and Australia.

Widely regarded as a highly ethical business professional committed to corporate social responsibility, Vongkusolkit and Banpu have funded student scholarships, teacher training and infrastructure improvements for schools in areas the company serves.

In addition to his leadership role at Banpu, Vongkusolkit is also director of the Erawan Group Public Company Limited and Mitr Phol Sugar Corp., Ltd. In 2006, he received an honorary doctoral degree in economics from Thailand's Chiang Mai University in recognition of his success in applying economics to a career that brings growth and prosperity to both his company and society.

The degree of Doctor of Business, Engineering and Technology, honoris causa, will be conferred upon Chanin Vongkusolkit.

Joe and Loretta Scott

Joe and Loretta Scott
Joe and Loretta Scott.

For nearly 65 years, Joe and Loretta Scott have shared a wonderful marriage, family and a commitment to making the world a better place. They are partners in everything from raising three sons and delighting in their six grandchildren to achieving great success in the world of business.

The Scott's diverse business interests range from automobile sales to home improvement to wine production. Their real estate development company manages more than two million square feet of office, medical, retail and warehouse space in the St. Louis metropolitan area. In 2011, Scott Properties ranked 92nd on the St. Louis Business Journal's Top 150 Privately Held Companies list. One of the newest additions to their entrepreneurial portfolio is Crown Valley Winery and the Crown Valley Brewery and Distillery in Ste. Genevieve, Mo.

As their business success grew so did their commitment to the community. Through their Scott Family Foundation, the couple has supported a number of philanthropic endeavors and nonprofit organizations, including the cardiology center at St. Luke's Hospital. Theyalso have established a wildlife sanctuary in St. Genevieve and donated a building in downtown St. Louis to the United Way, which has become the organization's local headquarters.

One of the latest examples of their generosity is the donation of the former AT&T building in downtown St. Louis to Saint Louis University, which will become a new state-of-the-art home to SLU's School of Law this summer. The Scotts are not SLU alumni, but for many years have admired the University's efforts to improve the community and hoped their gift would further SLU's efforts.

The degrees of Doctorsof Humanities, honoris causa, will be conferred upon Joe and Loretta Scott.

Higher purpose. Greater good.
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