May 03, 2018, BY Christina Masciere Wallace

Ken Freeman and John Bravman
Ken Freeman '72, chair of the University Board of Trustees, accepts the Stephen W. Taylor Medal from President John Bravman. Photo by Gordon Wenzel

Kenneth W. Freeman, a member of Bucknell University's Class of 1972 and chairman of the Board of Trustees, was honored with the Stephen W. Taylor Medal during the University's spring board meeting.

Named for the Bucknell's first president, the Taylor Medal is the University's highest honor and is awarded to those who render extraordinary service to Bucknell and who best exemplify the spirit of Taylor, who inspired his fellow University founders to "rise and build." Freeman, who is completing his third and final term as chair of the board, is the 19th recipient of the award, which was established in 1972.  

"Under Ken's leadership, Bucknell has greatly strengthened its standing in higher education," said Bucknell University President John Bravman. "He helped guide Bucknell through some of its most significant challenges and capitalize on a number of historic opportunities."

Freeman has served on the Board of Trustees since 2001 and as the board chair since 2009. During his tenure, he chaired the Executive Committee and the Campaign Organizing Group for WE DO, The Campaign for Bucknell University. He was instrumental in recruiting Bravman to the University in 2010.

Freeman also served on a number of the board's committees, including the Nominating & Governance Committee and Executive Resources Subcommittee. He has given his time to Bucknell in many other capacities, including as an alumni admissions volunteer and as a member of the Campaign Kick-off Committee, the Alumni Association Board of Directors and the Committee for Leadership in Annual Giving. He was the class gift chair for his 20th Reunion in 1992.

Freeman and his wife, Janice, have also supported Bucknell through extraordinary philanthropy. Earlier this year, the University named the Kenneth W. Freeman College of Management in recognition of their financial commitment to management education at Bucknell.

"Few individuals in the University's 172-year history have contributed more to Bucknell's success," Bravman added. "Ken's business acumen and passion for the University have helped position the institution to succeed for many generations to come. We deeply appreciate his vision, support and leadership."

'A Remarkable Foundation'
In accepting the award, Freeman thanked his fellow trustees and expressed his love for the University. "Bucknell provided a remarkable foundation for my life's pursuits. It has been an honor and privilege to give back to the University," he said. "As a community, we have accomplished much together. Our success as an institution has been and will be shaped by dedicated Bucknellians. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to engage with such a talented and passionate group of faculty, staff, alumni and fellow trustees, all in service of providing our students with a premier educational experience. I look forward to remaining an active member of the Bucknell community as we continue to strengthen this exceptional university."

Freeman graduated from Bucknell with a bachelor's degree in business administration, summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa. In 1976, he earned his master's of business administration degree with distinction from Harvard Business School. Freeman began his career at Corning Inc., progressing through the financial function before leading several businesses. He joined Corning Clinical Laboratories in 1995, and the company was spun off from Corning as Quest Diagnostics soon thereafter. He led the dramatic turnaround of Quest Diagnostics as chairman and chief executive officer through 2004, transforming it into a global leader in diagnostic testing services. Freeman subsequently joined Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., where he was a partner and also served as a senior adviser.

In 2010, he transitioned from industry to higher education, accepting his current appointment as the Allen Questrom Professor & Dean of the Boston University Questrom School of Business. A study of business leadership conducted at INSEAD in 2010 and 2013 and published in the Harvard Business Review named Freeman one of the top 100 performing CEOs in the world.