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Diplomat, Social Change Agent to Address Susquehanna University Graduates

Published on May 5, 2011

SELINSGROVE—Harold H. Saunders, director of international affairs at the Kettering Foundation, founder and president of the International Institute for Sustained Dialogue (IISD), and former U.S. assistant secretary of state for Near East affairs, will address an anticipated 496 graduates of Susquehanna University at commencement ceremonies on May 15. The event is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. in the field house of the James W. Garrett Sports Complex.

Saunders will receive an honorary degree, along with Harriet Mertz, a Susquehanna music education alumna with a long career in voice instruction, music direction and media production, and physician Joseph Mowad, senior vice president of Geisinger Health System and director emeritus of the urology department at Geisinger Medical Center, Danville.

The ceremony follows a 10 a.m. baccalaureate service, which will be held in the Weber Chapel auditorium.

Harold H. Saunders

As director of international affairs of The Kettering Foundation—an independent, nonpartisan organization that conducts research, from the perspective of citizens, on what people collectively can do to address problems affecting their lives, their community and their nation—Saunders has played a key role in such studies as the Dartmouth Conferences, the U.S./China dialogue and the International Civil Society Exchange.

Saunders is also the architect of Sustained Dialogue, “a public peace process” designed to change relationships among those involved in deep-rooted conflicts. As chairman and president of the IISD, he conducted peacemaking and peace-building dialogues during and following the civil war in Tajikistan, as well as a three-year dialogue to improve relationships between the Muslim Arab heartland and the West. IISD is currently conducting a dialogue on national reconciliation, which involves participants from across the political spectrum in Iraq. IISD is also the institutional base for the Sustained Dialogue Campus Network now operating on some 16 high-school and college campuses, including Susquehanna’s.

Saunders’ career as one of the world’s most respected and knowledgeable diplomats on Middle Eastern affairs began in 1974, when he was appointed deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern and South Asian affairs. In 1978, President Carter appointed him assistant secretary of state for the region, giving Saunders a central role in some of the era’s most significant developments in the Middle East, including the Camp David Accords and the 1979 hostage crisis involving U.S. embassy officials in Tehran, Iran.

For more than a decade, from 1961 to 1974, Saunders served as a resource to three U.S. presidents as a member of the National Security Council senior staff. Previously, he was a lecturer at George Washington University, an analyst for the Central Intelligence Agency, and a service member in the U.S. Air Force.

Saunders received an A.B. from Princeton University in 1952 and a Ph.D. from Yale University in 1956.

He is the author of “Politics Is About Relationship: A Blueprint for the Citizens’ Century” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2005) and “A Public Peace Process: Sustained Dialogue to Transform Racial and Ethnic Conflicts” (St. Martin’s Press, 1999). The 2010 recipient of the Walter and Leonore Annenberg Award for Excellence in Diplomacy from the American Academy of Diplomacy, Saunders also received the 2004 Lifetime Achievement Award from Search for Common Ground. The latter award recognizes outstanding accomplishments in conflict resolution, community building and peacemaking.

Saunders will receive an Honorary Doctor of Arts, Letters and Humanities degree at the May 15 commencement ceremony.

Harriet Mertz
Mertz earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Susquehanna in 1948. She later earned a master's degree in music education from the University of Miami, an education specialist degree in communications from Vanderbilt University, and a Master of Library Science degree from the University of Missouri.

She served as the television and audiovisual media specialist/coordinator at South Miami Senior High School and taught at the University of Miami as a member of the adjunct music faculty. She was night librarian at Palm Beach Community College, as well as professor of music appreciation. She also taught at Kyoto University of Japan and did postgraduate work at Chenchi University in Taiwan.

Mertz pioneered television production training in Dade County, Fla., schools. As a result, she was asked to draft Florida’s state curricular performance standards for television production.

As a professional voice instructor, music director, singer, pianist and actress, Mertz met and worked with many celebrities throughout her career. She oversaw the first studio production for Gloria Estefan and her husband, Emilio, at her own Electronic Media School in Miami.

Among the service activities Mertz pursues is providing counseling and support to families affected by Alzheimer's disease. Her husband, John, SU class of 1949, died of the disease in 2008. In retirement, Mertz continues to direct shows and perform with a musical group she formed, the Note-ables, at her retirement village in Pompano Beach, Fla., and on the road by invitation.

Mertz will be presented with an Honorary Doctor of Arts, Letters and Humanities degree.

Joseph Mowad, M.D.
Mowad has worked at Geisinger Medical Center since 1968. He earned his medical degree from Creighton University School of Medicine in Omaha, Neb., after studying at the University of Scranton, graduating magna cum laude. He completed his urological and surgical residency at the University of Maryland.

Mowad is also a clinical professor of urology at Jefferson Medical College. In addition to general urology, his clinical interests include stone disease, application of lasers for urologic conditions and prostate disease.

He has served as department chair and assistant medical director at Geisinger Medical Center, as well as assistant to the president of Geisinger Clinic. He has served on the board of directors for many Geisinger entities, including Geisinger Clinic, Marworth, Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center and Geisinger Medical Center.

Other professional memberships include the American Board of Urology and the American College of Surgeons. He also served as chairman of the Governor's Renal Disease Advisory Committee and is past president of the mid-Atlantic section of the American Urological Association.

Mowad was elected to the Fulton Financial Corporation’s board of directors and served on the boards of First National Bank and Maria Joseph Manor. In Montour County, he has served on the Recreation Authority, the Advisory Board on Drug and Alcohol Problems, and the Child Welfare Services advisory board. He is currently on the board of directors of Bloomsburg University.

Mowad will receive an Honorary Doctor of Science degree.


Karen M. Jones


Susquehanna University Architecture

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