Honorary Degree Recipients

Susan Sobbott Susan Sobbott
President, Global Corporate Payments
American Express

Doctor of Commercial Science

Susan Sobbott is a corporate executive and agent of change at American Express. An officer of the company, she leads the part of American Express that serves midsize and large businesses as president of American Express Global Corporate Payments. She is an avid supporter for small and midsized companies and has been a leading advocate for women in business, supporting women entrepreneurs and executive leaders. 

As a strategic leader with a remarkable track record, Sobbott worked diligently to earn the loyalty of her customers, focusing on delivering products and services to meet their core needs. This customer-first mantra fuels Susan as a creative marketer who has led marketing innovation through digital and social channels, and uncovered pockets of untapped growth for the company. 

The daughter of a small business owner, Sobbott took her lifelong passion for small businesses and turned it into a mission for American Express. In her previous role as president of American Express OPEN, she transformed the pision into the leading credit card issuer for small businesses. She created Small Business Saturday (SBS), a grassroots movement encouraging consumers to shop locally. The movement won numerous accolades as consumers spent more than $5.7 billion at independent merchants, making it “the best marketing campaign of the decade,” as described by Fast Company.

Sobbott holds an M.B.A. from the Darden School of Business, University of Virginia, and a B.S. from Georgetown University. She sits on the boards of The Children’s Place, a children's apparel retailer; Red Ventures, a digital marketing company; the New Jersey Performing Arts Center; and the New York Osteopathic Foundation. She also is a trustee of her alma mater, the Darden School of Business. Her most important role is being a mother of two preteen children.


Gail Wilensky Gail Wilensky, Ph.D.
Senior Fellow
Project HOPE

Doctor of Science

Gail Wilensky is an economist and senior fellow at Project HOPE (Health Opportunities for People Everywhere), an international health foundation that works to achieve sustainable advances in health care around the world by implementing health education and providing humanitarian assistance. Her efforts over the past three decades have focused on driving healthcare reform and improving healthcare for current and former members of the military.

Serving as the White House senior health and welfare adviser to President George H. W. Bush, Wilensky directed Medicare and Medicaid programs. She co-chaired the President’s Task Force to Improve Health Care Delivery for Our Nation’s Veterans and served as a commissioner on the President’s Commission on Care for America’s Returning Wounded Warriors (Dole/Shalala Commission).

Wilensky currently serves as a trustee of the Combined Benefits Fund of the United Mine Workers of America and the National Opinion Research Center, is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine, and resides on the Board of Regents of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. She has served on the Visiting Committee of the Harvard Medical School and the Geisinger Health System Foundation, in addition to being a former trustee of the American Heart Association and a commissioner on the World Health Organization’s Social Determinants of Health Commission.

Wilensky testifies frequently before Congressional committees as an advisor to elected officials and speaks nationally and internationally before professional, business, and consumer groups. She received a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a Ph.D. in economics at the University of Michigan and has received several honorary degrees.

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