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Joyce M. Davis, Douglas O. Ebersole, Esq., Edgar Morgan, and Rocco A. Ortenzio to Receive Honorary Degrees from Lebanon Valley College

LVC Commencement Ceremony in Sorrentino Gymnasium

Dr. Lewis E. Thayne, president of Lebanon Valley College, has announced that the College will award honorary degrees to four distinguished national and international leaders during its 148th Commencement May 13, 2017. The honorees represent fields ranging from international journalism and civic engagement to specialized health care and biotechnology.

Joyce M. Davis, president and chief executive officer of the World Affairs Council of Harrisburg, will receive a Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.). Douglas O. Ebersole, Esq., ’78, independent biotechnology professional and former general counsel for NeXT Computer Inc., which was started by Steve Jobs after leaving Apple, will receive a Doctor of Laws (LL.D.). Edgar Morgan ’63, retired government official and former executive director of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, will receive a Doctor of Laws (LL.D.). Rocco A. Ortenzio, co-founder and vice chairman of Select Medical, a national provider of specialized health care, will receive a Doctor of Science (Sc.D.).


Joyce M. Davis, Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)

Joyce Davis PortraitJoyce M. Davis is founding president and chief executive officer of the World Affairs Council of Harrisburg (WACH), as well as director of communications for the City of Harrisburg. She is a veteran journalist, author, communications professional, and accomplished public speaker who has covered news around the globe for many of the world’s most distinguished news organizations, including The New Orleans Times-Picayune, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), National Public Radio (NPR), Knight Ridder Newspapers, and WITF in Harrisburg.  

Before moving to Harrisburg Davis lived in Prague, Czech Republic, and supervised broadcast services for RFE/RL to Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Central Asia, Russia and many countries of the former Soviet Union. Her efforts to help ensure freedom of information throughout the world were recognized by MeÅūdunarodnij Universitet Kyrgyzstan, which awarded her an honorary doctorate in international relations in 2007. 

Davis was also recently named to the Hall of Fame of Women In International Security and a fellow in Media Ethics at Washington and Lee University. She is a specialist on the Middle East and Islam, and has written and published two books—Martyrs: Innocence, Vengeance and Despair in the Middle East (Palgrave-MacMillan, 2003) and Between Jihad and Salaam: Profiles in Islam (St. Martin’s Press, 1997). She also authored a chapter in the book The Trauma of Terrorism (Psychology Press, 2005).

Davis has lectured on foreign policy and terrorism at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, the Miller Center at the University of Virginia, Georgetown University, the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, the United Nations, and other noted institutions. Davis has also taught courses in journalism at Dillard University in New Orleans and the University of New York in Prague.   

Davis attended Loyola University in New Orleans and majored in journalism, modern foreign languages. In 1987, she was one of only 20 journalists selected worldwide to participate in a master’s equivalent academic/work program sponsored by Columbia University and the Centre de Formation des Journalistes in Paris.

Davis moved to Harrisburg in 2008 to serve as vice president of content for WITF and founded the World Affairs Council of Harrisburg in 2010.

A longtime friend of Lebanon Valley College, Davis has supervised several LVC students who received internships with WACH. She also collaborated with the College to host a conference commemorating the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and serve as a Distinguished Lazin Resident in 2016, where she participated in several classes and a campus-wide forum. 


Douglas Owen Ebersole, Esq., ’78, Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)

Douglas Owen Ebersole, Esq., ’78 is a semi-retired independent biotechnology professional with more than 30 years of experience in law, technology, and biotechnology. The son of Dr. Cloyd H. Ebersole, late professor emeritus of education (1954–1982), Douglas Ebersole graduated summa cum laude from LVC with degrees in mathematics and political science. 

One of the College’s earliest Fulbright Scholars/ITT International Fellows, Ebersole completed a year of study in Sydney, Australia, where his research merited a First Class Honours master’s degree in political science from the University of New South Wales. He returned to the U.S. and earned his Juris Doctorate from Stanford Law School before becoming an associate, then partner, with Ware & Friedenrich in Palo Alto, Calif., a large Silicon Valley law firm. Notable among his high-tech clients was Steve Jobs, founder of Apple, NeXT, and Pixar. 

In 1989, this association led to Ebersole’s next venture as associate general counsel, later general counsel, for NeXT Computer Inc., a company started by Mr. Jobs. There, he was responsible for all legal affairs, including negotiating major financing and licensing transactions, and raising $120 million in private equity investments from Ross Perot and Canon. 

Ebersole then joined Protein Design Labs Inc./PDL BioPharma Inc. in Fremont, Calif. He spent the next 13 years serving in various senior executive roles, including a brief tenure as acting chief executive officer at PDL. He was responsible for all legal affairs, and negotiation of major corporate alliances and public equity and debt financings. Ebersole was also the principal architect of PDL’s Queen patent licensing program, which generated more than $200 million per year in royalties to PDL for many years until the recent expiration of the patents. 

A former member of the board of directors of Sorrento Therapeutics Inc., Ebersole remains involved in the industry as a consultant. He remains connected to LVC through participation as a Distinguished Lazin Resident and as a valuable resource for the College’s prelaw students and faculty. The family created The Cloyd H. Ebersole Scholarship Fund in 1988 in honor of Dr. Ebersole, and in 1995 Lebanon Valley College awarded Douglas Ebersole an Alumni Citation.  


Edgar Morgan ’63, Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)

Edgar Morgan ’63, a retired government and civic education leader, spent a career in politics and government that enabled him to visit 111 countries on six continents, and live in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Croatia, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, and Iraq. He also co-founded what is now the Mid-Atlantic European Union Simulation Consortium (MAEUSC) in an effort to educate U.S. students about European politics and events.  

Morgan became involved in local politics while studying political science at LVC. In 1964, he was involved in the presidential campaign of Pennsylvania Governor Bill Scranton. Morgan then became a legislative assistant in the Pennsylvania State Senate before moving to California to become a consultant in the California State Legislature. There, he helped write clean air legislation signed by Gov. Ronald Reagan. 

He returned east to Washington, D.C., where he held various federal and private sector executive positions, including as vice president of the National Oil Jobbers Council, executive director and director of congressional affairs for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, executive director of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, and deputy assistant to the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

While serving as an independent consultant to the U.S. Agency for International Development, Morgan assumed his first international role in 1987, traveling to Jordan to evaluate U.S. foreign aid programs. In 1992, he was in France when the Maastricht Treaty was signed, which led to the creation of the European Union. This inspired Morgan to research U.S. programs that educated students regarding what was occurring in Europe, which ultimately led to his co-founding of the European American Institute, known today as MAEUSC. During the past 20 years, more than 3,000 students have participated in the annual simulation held in Washington, D.C.

In 2013, Morgan moved from Bosnia, where he had lived for 18 years, to Annville and reconnected with MAEUSC. He has worked with LVC students participating in the EU simulation project since his return to the U.S. and has twice served as a Distinguished Lazin Resident at LVC. In 2015, the consortium established the annual Edgar Morgan Award for Outstanding Student Commissioner in his honor.


Rocco A. Ortenzio, Doctor of Science (Sc.D.)

Rocco A. Ortenzio is vice chairman of Select Medical, a company he co-founded in 1996 with his son, Robert Ortenzio, who serves as executive chairman. Since then, Select Medical has grown into a national provider of specialized health care encompassing long-term acute care hospitals, rehabilitation hospitals, and physical therapy clinics. It also provides urgent care and occupational health services through its Concentra subsidiary. Headquartered in Mechanicsburg, Pa., the company has nearly 42,000 employees and operations in 46 states and the District of Columbia.

During his impressive career, Ortenzio founded four health care companies, all based in Central Pennsylvania. Each company, which includes Select Medical, Continental Medical Systems, Rehab Hospital Services Corporation, and Rehab Corporation, became successful, well respected, and publicly traded organizations. 

Ortenzio began his distinguished career as a physical therapist. He would pioneer the concepts of the full-time private practice of physical therapy and independent freestanding medical rehabilitation hospitals, both of which served as models for his next three companies.  

Ortenzio’s second company, Rehab Hospital Services Corporation, constructed and operated the nation’s first chain of community-based freestanding medical rehabilitation hospitals. His commitment to inpatient rehabilitation continued with his third company, Continental Medical Systems, which he also co-founded with Robert Ortenzio, comprising of 38 hospitals.  

Ortenzio has received numerous accolades, including honorary doctorates from Susquehanna University and Penn State’s Dickinson School of Law. He is a recipient of the Pope Benedict XVI Pontifical Honor—Knighthood in the Equestrian Order of Pope Saint Sylvester, as well as the Kessler Foundation’s inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award.

Ortenzio is widely known for his philanthropy, which has been a lifelong mindset. His generosity led to the development of the Ortenzio Heart Center at Holy Spirit Hospital, a Geisinger affiliate, and the Ortenzio Cancer Center at PinnacleHealth. Through The Rocco and Nancy Ortenzio Foundation, an endowed position—the Rocco Ortenzio Chair of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation—was established at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Penn State College of Medicine in 2011. 

The Ortenzio family generously supports public, private, and parochial schooling and funds scholarships. In 2010, The Rocco and Nancy Ortenzio Foundation provided the single largest grant to Bishop McDevitt High School’s capital campaign. Additionally, the generosity of Select Medical and two Ortenzio family foundations resulted in The Ortenzio Learning Center and the Select Medical Conference Center at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology. The Select Medical Health Education Pavilion at Harrisburg Area Community College is another enduring symbol of Ortenzio’s and Select Medical’s support of local higher education institutions. 

A native of Steelton, Pa., Ortenzio is a graduate of Catholic High of Harrisburg (currently Bishop McDevitt High School), West Chester University, and the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Physical Therapy. Ortenzio and his wife, Nancy, have three sons and 12 grandchildren.