The Stephen W. Taylor Medal
The Stephen W. Taylor Medal is presented upon the recommendation of the president of the University, with the concurrence of the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees. The award, named after Stephen W. Taylor, a Bucknell founder who framed its charter, organized its first course of study, and planned the campus, represents the most significant honor granted by Bucknell. In large measure, the University has been built on Taylor’s initiative and vision.
Established in 1972, the medal is awarded in honor of those who render extraordinary service to the University. To date, there have been 17 recipients.
- 1972 - William White ‘26
White served on the Board of Trustees for 57 years (1938-1995), serving as chairman from 1957 to 1973. He received his BS in Mechanical Engineering from Bucknell and was a member of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity. He held a JD from Columbia University Law School and received an honorary doctor of laws degree from Union College. After being admitted to the New York Bar, he was appointed to a succession of positions at the New York State Banking Department. In 1936, he became the youngest man ever to be appointed superintendent of banks of the New York State Banking Board. After six years in this position, he resigned to become a vice president of the Guaranty Trust Co. of New York. Bucknell conferred an honorary doctor of laws degree upon him in 1959. He died in 1995.
White received the first Taylor Medal in a ceremony on Dec. 1, 1972, for “more than a quarter century of selfless and dedicated service to Bucknell.”
- 1975 – Guy Freas
ather of two Bucknell alums (Leanne Freas Trout ’50 and Arthur Freas ’48) and related to many others, Guy Freas was a major donor to the University. The Freas-Rooke Pool, the Freas-Rooke Computer Center, and the admissions building, Freas Hall (named after his deceased first wife, Elizabeth (Koons) Freas), were all named to recognize contributions by Freas. He was the vice president and director of The Federal Paper Board Co. He received an honorary doctor of laws degree from Bucknell in 1957 and served as trustee of the University for three decades, beginning in 1949. He received the Bison Club Award on July 13, 1982.
Freas was awarded the Taylor Medal in 1975 for his “firmness of judgment, clothed always in modesty [which] provided a touchstone of principled reason.” He died in 1982.
- 1975 – Robert Rooke ‘13
Rooke graduated from Bucknell with a degree in electrical engineering. While at Bucknell, he was a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity and Omicron Delta Kappa. He served as an active trustee from 1930-1975, and served as a trustee emeritus from 1975 until his death in 1994. Rooke served as the secretary of the board from 1948-1970.
Among his most significant contributions to Bucknell were those providing funding for Rooke Chapel, given in honor of his parents, the Freas-Rooke Swimming Pool, the Freas-Rooke Computer Center, and the Robert L. Rooke Chemistry Building. A bequest from Rooke’s estate established the Robert L. Rooke Chair in Engineering. In 1951, Rooke received an honorary doctor of laws degree from Bucknell. Robert Rooke is one of the largest lifetime donors to Bucknell.
Rooke worked for Merrill Lynch & Co. for nearly 75 years. He began as a bond salesman in 1919, eventually becoming a partner, and in 1928 became the company’s representative on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. On his 100th birthday, Merrill Lynch honored him by dedicating the Management Case Studies Room in the Rooke Chemistry Building in his honor.
Rooke received the Taylor Medal for “tirelessly and fruitfully serv[ing] his alma mater” for over four decades. The citation reads: “Your genius and your careful labor have provided Bucknell with an endowment it could have in no other way obtained. In similar fashion you have raised buildings that nourish both our spirits and our minds.” Rooke received the medal at the University’s commencement on June 1, 1975.
- 1976 – Charles Watts
Dr. Watts received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Brown University in May 1947 and a Ph.D. from the same institution in May 1953. He received his Masters from Columbia University in 1948 and two law degrees in 1965 from Dickinson School of Law and Franklin College. Dr. Watts served as president of Bucknell for 12 years, trustee of the University from 1978 to 1992, and as trustee emeritus from 1992 until his death in 2001. He received an honorary degree from Bucknell in 1979. Dr. Watts was also a trustee of St. John’s College (Annapolis, Md.) and a director of Weis Markets. He received honorary degrees from Brown University (where he had previously served as dean and English professor), Columbia University, Franklin College, Dickinson School of Law, and Alderson-Broaddus College.
Dr. Watts received the Taylor Medal in 1976 for “carry[ing] forward the traditions of Stephen W. Taylor during his 12 years as president of Bucknell.”
- 1981 – Samuel Woolley ‘32
Woolley received his undergraduate degree from Bucknell in Commerce and Finance and was a member of Phi Kappa Psi fraternity. He attended classes at New York and Columbia universities and completed the Advanced Management program at Harvard Business School in 1959. Woolley was a Bucknell trustee from 1962-1981, and served as a trustee emeritus from 1981 until his death in 1995. He was vice chairman of the board from 1976-1981. Woolley was awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree from Bucknell in 1967 and received the Alumni Award for Service to Humanity in 1981.
Woolley joined the Bank of New York in 1933, became its president in 1961, and was named CEO in 1963. He retired from the bank in 1974. Woolley became a trustee of the New York Public Library that year, eventually becoming a trustee emeritus of that institution. He was also a trustee of the American University of Beirut and of the College Retirement Equities Fund. In addition, Woolley spearheaded the most successful Salvation Army drive in the history of New York City in 1966.
Woolley received the Taylor Medal in 1981 for distinguished service to his alma mater, especially in his capacity as vice chairman of the board.
- 1988 – Sigfried Weis
Weis was the president and co-chairman of Weis Markets Inc. He was a member of the Bucknell Board of Trustees from 1968-1984, and served as an emeritus trustee from 1984 until his death in 1995. Weis served as chairman of the board from 1982-1988. The Sigmund and Claire Weis Center for the Performing Arts, opened in 1988, was made possibly largely through the generosity of Sigfried Weis and the estate of his mother, Claire G. Weis. Sigfried and Janet Weis sponsored many of the Center’s performances and Janet continues to do so. At the time of Weis’s retirement from Weis Markets, the Weis Markets Board made a contribution to Bucknell in Weis’s name, establishing an endowment fund for Weis Center programming.
Weis also served on the boards of Geisinger Medical Center, Sunbury Community Hospital, J.R. Kauffman Public Library, and the Pennsylvania State Chamber of Commerce. He received his BA from Yale University in 1938 and was a Phi Beta Kappa and was awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree from Bucknell in 1977.
Weis received the Taylor Medal in 1988 for his wise counsel and dedication to educational excellence.
- 1990 – Robert Smith ‘39
Smith served as an active member of the Board of Trustees from 1983-1990, and served as an emeritus trustee from 1990 until his death in 2002. He was chairman of the board from 1988-1990. While at Bucknell, Smith majored in economics and participated in soccer, basketball, and tennis. He was a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity and was married to Margaret “Peg” (Farrell) Smith ’41. In 1987, Smith Hall was dedicated to the Smiths in recognition of their support for the University. Smith received the Alumni Award for Loyalty to Bucknell in 1997. In 2002, the Smiths contributed $7 million to the University.
Smith began his career with Beaunit Corp. in 1971 when the company was a subsidiary of Texas El Paso Natural Gas. During his first year with Beaunit, Smith and three partners raised the money to purchase the business from the parent company, the first leveraged buy out in U.S. history. He retired as CEO of Beaunit in 1985. He received an honorary Ph.D. in 1975 from the Philadephia College of Textiles and Science.
Smith was awarded the Taylor Medal in 1990 for extraordinary service to Bucknell by means of his exemplary leadership and inspiration.
- 1993 – George Jenkins ‘43
Jenkins has served as a Bucknell trustee since 1976, becoming a trustee emeritus in 1993. He served as vice chairman of the board from 1990-1993. Jenkins received his BS in Chemical Engineering from Bucknell in 1973. While at Bucknell, he was a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity. Jenkins was an employee of the Exxon Corp. for 41 years, eventually becoming president of Esso Caribbean and Central America. He also served as president of the Exxon Education Foundation. He was chairman of The Campaign for Bucknell (1983-1990). He received the Bison Club Award in 1985 and the Alumni Association Award for Loyalty to Bucknell in 1990. In addition, Jenkins served as president of his alumni class, president of the alumni club of Texas, and two terms on the Board of Directors of the Alumni Association.
Jenkins received the Taylor Medal in 1993 for his extraordinary service as “a loyal and hard-working son of Bucknell” and specifically for his work chairing the highly successful fundraising Campaign for Bucknell.
- 1995 – Charles Baird
Baird was a member of the Bucknell Board of Trustees from 1969-1995; he became a trustee emeritus in 1995. Baird served as chairman of the board from 1976-1982. He received an honorary doctor of laws degree from Bucknell in 1976. Baird is married to Bucknell alumna Norma Baird ’46. Baird graduated from Middlebury College in 1944. He held various positions with the Standard Oil Co. of New Jersey from 1948 to 1965, and from 1969 served first as assistant secretary of the Navy and then as undersecretary of the Navy. He was the chairman and CEO of Inco Ltd.-Royal Trust. Baird has been a member of the National Advisory Committee on Oceans and Atmosphere and the Commission on Marine Science, Engineering, and Resources.
Baird was awarded the Taylor Medal in 1995 for his extraordinary service as a friend and benefactor to Bucknell, and for his service as chairman of the board.
- 1997 – Robert Rooke
Rooke became a trustee at Bucknell in 1975, serving as vice chairman of the board from 1996-1997. He became a trustee emeritus in 1997. Rooke attended the Pingry School, then graduated from the Culver Military Academy in 1943. He received his B.A. from Dartmouth College in 1949, and his M.B.A. from Dartmouth's Amos Tuck School of Business in 1950. Upon receiving his MBA, he joined Merrill Lynch in New York as a securities analyst. In 1957, he founded Robert C. Rooke & Co., a private investment firm. In 1982, the firm changed its name to The Rooke Co.
Rooke received the Taylor Medal in 1997 for his service on the board, his commitment to the religious life of the institution, and his support of music at Bucknell.
- 2003 – David Trout Jr. ‘50
A trustee emeritus, Trout was a member of the Board of Trustees for 30 years (1971-2001) and served as the vice chairman of the board from 1997 to 2001. Along with serving on numerous trustee committees, he was a member of the Campaign Cabinet for Bucknell’s second comprehensive campaign. He has been active with the Bison Club executive committee, was an alumni association director, has chaired his reunion gift committee, and has served as a class president. In 1979, Trout was a recipient of the Bison Club Award and in 2000 received the Alumni Award for Outstanding Loyalty and Service to Bucknell. Through the years, David and Leanne Trout have been true benefactors to Bucknell, establishing the Trout Family Scholarship and recently funding the Trout Family Arts Scholarship, an academic merit scholarship.
In 2003, Mr. & Mrs. Trout were honored as charter members of the William Bucknell Society, for those whose life-time giving to the University has surpassed $1 million. Leanne Freas Trout, who also graduated from Bucknell in 1950, is the daughter of former trustee Guy Freas. The auditorium of Vaughn Literature Building, originally built in 1938, was renovated and dedicated to her. Trout majored in Commerce and Finance at Bucknell and was an officer in Phi Kappa Psi fraternity, member of the L’Agenda staff, and sang in the Chorale and the Men’s Glee Club. After graduating from Bucknell, Trout accepted a position with the Massachusetts Protective and Paul Revere Insurance Co. He later joined the Federal Paper Board Co. where he served for 35 years. In 1986, Trout retired from his position as senior vice president.
Trout received the Taylor Medal for extraordinary service to the University at a surprise ceremony as part of the dedication of the Leanne Freas Trout Auditorium in the Vaughn Literature Building on Oct. 18, 2003.
- 2003 – Janet Weis
Janet Weis has been a trustee emeritus of Bucknell since 1996. She and her late husband, Sigfried Weis, have been significant donors to Bucknell as well as catalysts for a number of gifts to the University. The Sigmund and Claire Weis Center for the Performing Arts facility, opened in 1988, was made possible largely through the generosity of Mr. & Mrs. Weis and the estate of Mr. Weis’s mother, Claire Weis. She took a leading role in the planning process of the Center. In addition, Sigfried and Janet Weis sponsored many of the Center’s performances and Janet continues to do so.
At the time of Mr. Weis’s retirement, Weis Markets made a contribution to Bucknell in his name establishing an endowed fund for Weis Center programming. After his death, a gift from Janet Weis was instrumental in building The Sigfried Weis Music Building, which houses music classrooms, practice rooms, and a recital hall. In 2002, the Charles B. Degenstein Foundation made a gift to establish a visiting authors program at Bucknell in Janet Weis’s name. Toni Morrison was the first Janet Weis Fellow in Contemporary Letters.
Janet Weis is a director of Sunbury Community Hospital and Evangelical Hospital. She is chairman emeritus of the Geisinger Foundation Board of Directors, has been co-chairperson of the Geisinger Children’s Miracle Network Telethon since 1985, and Geisinger’s Janet Weis Children’s Hospital was named in her honor. In addition, Mrs. Weis is a published author and has been named Rotary International’s Woman of the Year.
Janet Weis received the Taylor Medal for extraordinary service to the University at the Weis Center on Nov. 11, 2003.
- 2005 – Arthur Kinney ‘56
Art Kinney has been a Bucknell trustee since 1986 and was made an emeritus trustee on the same evening he received the Taylor Medal. Kinney served as chairman of The Bucknell Campaign from 1993-2000, an effort that brought to the University more than $188 million. At the conclusion of the campaign, when the Kenneth Langone Athletic and Recreation Center was dedicated, Langone requested that the new pool facility - now known as Kinney Natatorium - be named in his honor. Kinney was also the recipient of the “Loyalty to Bucknell Award,” which was presented to him at his 40th reunion. As a student at Bucknell, Kinney majored in political science, while lettering in varsity football and working for the school newspaper. He was a member of Sigma Chi fraternity and ROTC, becoming a commissioned officer upon graduation.
Kinney began his professional career with the Connecticut General Life Insurance Co., a subsidiary of CIGNA, holding managerial positions in Rochester and Pittsburgh. He became regional vice president in 1972, earning numerous awards for production, profitability, and financial planning. After leaving CIGNA in 1991, he established his own consulting firm and is now retired.
Kinney received the Taylor Medal for extraordinary service to the University at a surprise ceremony on April 29, 2005. “Art Kinney has given back to Bucknell more than anyone could ever receive,” said President Brian C. Mitchell. “He possesses the traits and character of a true Bucknellian – hard working, goal-oriented, and successful – not to mention his passionate loyalty to our University.”
- 2006 – Lee Idleman ‘54
Deceased 6/26/2006. Lee Idleman served as an active member of the Board of Trustees from 1980-1998, and served as an emeritus trustee from 1998-2005, shortly before his death. He was vice-chairman of the board from 1988-1990, and chairman from 1990-1996. As chair of the presidential search committee in 1984, Idleman successfully enlisted Gary Sojka to serve as Bucknell’s 13th president. He established the Idleman Family Scholarship in 1986, providing financial aid to talented students. While at Bucknell, Idleman majored in commerce and finance, was the manager of the Bucknell football team, and played an active role in the Kappa Delta Rho fraternity. Following graduation, he had a stint in the U.S. Army before rising through the ranks of the investment business, taking on increasingly more responsible positions with some of the leading firms in the nation, including Merrill Lynch, Dean Witter Reynolds, and Neuberger Berman.
Idleman received the Stephen W. Taylor Medal for “the tremendous service and contributions he made to Bucknell throughout his career.” His wife, Sue Idleman, accepted the medal on Nov. 11, 2006, at a service to honor him.
- 2007 – Kenneth Langone ‘57
Langone graduated from Bucknell with a degree in economics, later achieving an M.B.A. from New York University in 1960. Langone has served as a Bucknell trustee since 1980, serving at various times as chairman of the nominating, endowment, and executive committees. In 1996, he attained emeritus status. As an alumnus, he served as chair of the National Committee on Annual Giving and as a host for many Bucknell functions.
Langone’s business career included positions with the Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States and R.W. Pressprich & Co. before founding Invemed Associates Inc. in 1974 and co-founding Home Depot in 1978. Langone also has served on numerous boards including AutoFinance Group, St. Jude Medical and as the Board of Overseers at New York University's Stern School of Business. His charitable activities have included serving on the boards of the Children's Oncology Society of New York, the Damon Runyon-Walter Winchell Cancer Research Fund and the Geisinger Foundation.
While a student at Bucknell, Langone was active with the student newspaper, The Bucknellian, and intramurals. He was also a member of Sigma Chi fraternity and the ROTC Pershing Rifles. In addition, the Kenneth G. Langone Athletics and Recreation Center and the Elaine Langone Center honor the contributions of the Langone family.
Langone received the Taylor Medal for his extraordinary service to the University on June 2, 2007, at his 50th reunion. Langone has “brought to Bucknell a spirit and determination that have touched the lives of generations of Bucknellians,” President Brian C. Mitchell said. He has “displayed generosity of the highest order and left an indelible imprint upon our campus.”
- 2008 -- Philip Roth '54
One of the most celebrated writers of his era, Philip Roth, Bucknell Class of 1954, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1997 for American Pastoral and, in 1998, the National Medal of Arts. In 2002, he received the Gold Medal in Fiction, the highest award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Roth, the only living American writer to have his work published in a comprehensive, definitive edition by the Library of America, has twice won the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. He is a three-time winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award.
In 2007, he won the PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction, given to a writer whose "scale of achievement over a sustained career … places him or her in the highest rank of American literature."
Roth's books include the best-selling Portnoy's Complaint (1969), Our Gang (1971), The Great American Novel (1973), The Ghost Writer (1979), Zuckerman Unbound (1981), American Pastoral (1997), The Human Stain (2000), and The Plot Against America (2004). His latest book, Exit Ghost, features his alter ego Nathan Zuckerman and was released in October.
- 2012 -- D. Lee Hamilton
For nearly 30 years Lee Hamilton served as a Trustee and for three years as Chairman of the Board. Lee's wisdom, insight and support have helped guide Bucknell University toward a place of national prominence as a highly regarded liberal arts university.
Himself a scholarship recipient, Lee and his wife, Molly Wolford Hamilton '59, established the Barbara Wolford Wyma Endowed Scholarship, recognizing that financial aid opens doors to new opportunities for outstanding students and is often the pivotal factor in enabling students to reach their full potential.
In 2007, Lee received the Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award from the Bucknell Engineering Alumni Association. For his extraordinary service to the University, he received Bucknell's highest honor, the Stephen W. Taylor Medal, in 2012.
Lee's leadership and legacy have greatly benefited and will continue to enrich the lives of generations of Bucknellians.
Posted July 30, 2007
Updated July 1, 2010