Aikenhead Awarded an Honorary Doctorate

Palisadian Kathleen Hannon Aikenhead received a degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, during Loyola Marymount University’s 104 Commencement ceremony on May 7.

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton delivered the keynote address.

Aikenhead, who was born and raised in Los Angeles, has served as the chair of LMU’s Board of Trustees since 2011. She has been a member of the board of directors of the William H. Hannon Foundation since its inception in 1983 and as president since 1994.

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She also was a trustee of the Catholic Education Foundation, and is president of the Los Angeles Travel and Tourism Education Foundation. She was honored with the 2009 Cardinal’s Award by Cardinal Mahoney and was selected as Marymount High School’s alumna of the year.

She earned a bachelor’s degree from Bucknell University, where she met her husband, David Aikenhead. They have three children and six grandchildren.

“I’m especially honored by this degree because of the long and deep ties the Hannon family has had with LMU,” Aikenhead told the crowd of 20,000.

Her family’s history with LMU dates back to 1928 when her recently widowed grandmother attended the Westchester campus ground breaking. At that time, the woman struck a deal with the president of the university. He agreed to admit her five sons to the university at no charge and she promised they would repay the tuition once they graduated and were employed. One of the sons, William H. Hannon, through his foundation, provided money for the William H. Hannon Library, Hannon Apartments, the William H. Hannon Plaza in the new science complex and numerous scholarships.

Aikenhead was unanimously elected chair of the university’s Board of Trustees, and was the first woman to hold that position.

“It was inspiring to attend the commencement and see Kathy honored for her service and dedication,” said David A. Herbst, a board member of the William H. Hannon Foundation.

Palisadian Kathleen Hannon Aikenhead and former President Bill Clinton.

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