This year, Franklin University Switzerland is conferring two Honorary Degrees, which are bestowed on influential individuals who have contributed to the university’s growth, progress, and evolution. An Honorary Degree is an accolade that is meaningful in that the recipients are extraordinarily qualified in their respective fields, and they have added great value and recognition for Franklin. It is with great pleasure that FUS honors the following recipients of this year’s honoris causa degrees.
Kevin W. McNeely
Kevin McNeely is Director Emeritus and a Co-Founder of the Sonoma International Film Festival (SIFF), of which he previously served as its long-term Executive Director from 2008 to 2022. SIFF is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the best independent film and filmmakers from around the world, inspiring savvy film lovers, and introducing the power of film to student filmmakers. Blending a program of international film, food, wine and fun, SIFF hosts its annual five-day festival each March, as well as special events such as selected films, advance screenings and special guests year-round.
Mr. McNeely has served as a Trustee of the Franklin University Switzerland Board of Trustees since 2005, and his dedicated leadership and involvement over the years have been invaluable to the university. In 1973 he attended a semester abroad at Franklin, which had a profound impact on his future and reinforced his love of travel and the enjoyment he derives from experiencing life and education in a multicultural environment. Based on his life-changing experience, he was determined to support Franklin’s development from a small college into a top university where students become receptive to the challenges of today’s global world while developing the skills and knowledge needed to succeed.
Philanthropy has been important and gratifying part of Kevin’s life. He is a family Trustee of the Manitou Fund which supports global causes ranging from social justice, health & wellness, education, as well as arts & culture. A beneficiary which he is most proud of is Franklin University Switzerland.
Mr. McNeely holds a BA in Economics from Claremont McKenna College.
Mr. McNeely is married to Rosemary McNeely and they reside in California, USA. They have a daughter, Hannah Rose McNeely, who is a 2023 graduate of Franklin University Switzerland.
P. Gregory Warden, Ph.D.
Dr. Warden is currently the Mark A. Roglán Director of the Custard Institute for Spanish Art and Culture at Southern Methodist University (SMU).
Dr. Warden served as the fourth president of Franklin University Switzerland from July 2012 to June 2022. During his tenure, Franklin accomplished numerous goals and improvements.
In 2014 Franklin was granted University status in Switzerland and changed its name to Franklin University Switzerland. In 2013 a new mission statement was collaboratively created that recognises the importance of social responsibility. To that end, Franklin’s established its first BSc in Environmental Science, a new major in Social Justice and Sustainability, and initiatives such as Scholarships Without Borders. Additionally, an enhanced curriculum offered new programs in Pre-Health, Legal Studies, and Film Studies. Under his leadership, an endowed professorship of psychology was granted. Franklin was also ranked for the first time by the World’s Universities with Real Impact.
Dr. Warden joined Franklin after an eminent 30-year teaching career at Southern Methodist University, where he was named Meadows Foundation Distinguished Teaching Professor in 1995 and Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor in 2011. In addition to serving as associate dean for research and academic affairs for the Meadows School, he was chair of the Art History Department for six years, interim director of the Meadows Museum, and interim chair of the Division of Arts Administration for two years. He co-founded and directed the SMU-in-Italy program for more than 20 years. In 2011, the National Endowment for the Humanities awarded a grant in support of a summer institute for college teachers, led by Dr. Warden, to examine Etruscan and Roman culture on-site in Italy. In 2011 he was inducted into the “Order of Italian Solidarity” and given the title of Knight (Cavaliere) by the Republic of Italy for his efforts on behalf of Italian culture.
In addition, Dr. Warden has authored or co-authored seven books as well as over 100 articles and reviews on areas ranging from Greek archaeology to Etruscan art, archaeology, and ritual, and Roman architecture. He has lectured internationally and in 2007 delivered the Lorent Memorial Lecture at the British Museum. He organized the exhibit Greek Vase Painting: Form, Figure, and Narrative-Treasures of the National Archaeological Museum in Madrid at SMU’s Meadows Museum in 2003. In 2009 he coordinated, edited, and wrote part of the catalogue for the Meadows Museum exhibit From the Temple and the Tomb: Etruscan Treasures from Tuscany.
Dr. Warden received a BA in Anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania and MA and Ph.D. degrees in Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology from Bryn Mawr College. He taught at the University of Pennsylvania, Bowdoin College, and the University of Texas at Arlington before joining SMU.
Dr. Warden is married to Dr. Diane Warden and they reside in Texas, USA.