UWM: To Give Two Honorary Degrees At Commencement on May 22

Issued by:
Laura L. Hunt, 414-229-6447; [email protected]


MILWAUKEE — The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) will recognize community activist Reuben K. Harpole and Milwaukee businessman Edward J. Zore with honorary doctoral degrees at its baccalaureate commencement ceremony on May 22.

UWM’s honorary degree recognizes a career of extraordinary accomplishment. Harpole and Zore will be honored for their sustained achievement exhibiting uncommon merit. Commencement will be held at the U.S. Cellular Arena, 500 W. Kilbourn Ave., beginning at 1 p.m.

Reuben K. Harpole
Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters
Nominated by the Department of French, Italian, and Comparative Literature, and the College of Engineering and Applied Science

Reuben K. Harpole has been a leader in the Milwaukee African American community for more than 40 years and was an outreach specialist with the UWM School of Continuing Education for 31 years. Through his efforts in working with social and political institutions, he has been able to articulate the aspirations of Milwaukee African Americans in the areas of education, race relations, and economic issues.

Harpole has worked on projects promoting business development and entrepreneurship opportunities, developing community leadership, providing job training and career development, improving community health and welfare facilities, supporting the development of African arts, and revitalizing Milwaukee’s central-city Harambee neighborhood.

He has been an advocate for improving the educational mission of Milwaukee Public Schools for children of color and children living in poverty. Harpole has been an active and engaged supporter of experimental and demonstration projects in MPS that have improved the quality of student learning, resolved problems of community involvement and representation, and identified indigenous leadership.

He has been recognized throughout his career for meritorious and distinctive achievements. In 1991, he received the Frank Kilpatrick Award, which is given to individuals who enhance the quality of life of citizens in urban areas through redevelopment projects. In 1993, Harpole and his wife received the Vatican II Award for Service to Society. Finally, he has been recognized with the Milwaukee Civic Alliance Community Service Award and a Small Business Advocate of the Year Award.

Harpole joined UW–Extension in 1966 in the Center for Urban Community Development and retired in 1997.

Edward J. Zore
Honorary Doctor of Commercial Science
Nominated by the School of Business Administration
After receiving his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics from UWM more than 30 years ago, Edward J. Zore joined the Northwestern Mutual Insurance Company, where he ascended through the ranks to become the company’s president and then chief executive officer.

Northwestern Mutual ranked 115th on the Fortune 500 list last year and first on Fortune’s Most Admired Companies list for the insurance industry.

Zore maintained a long-term connection with UWM following his graduation. For more than 20 years, he has served in a variety of leadership roles in UWM’s School of Business Administration, as well as on the Board of Directors of the UWM Foundation.

In addition to his outstanding achievements in the world of business, Zore has been a leader in fostering a range of activities that have served, and continue to serve, the good and well-being of the greater Milwaukee community. Zore, who had modest beginnings and was raised in West Allis, has served on the boards of organizations too numerous to mention. He has done so not simply because of his role as a responsible corporate executive, but because he truly believes in the issues to which he gives his time.

The dean of the School of Business Administration, V. Kanti Prasad, who has been with the school for more than 35 years, has known Zore since he was a student at UWM.
“Combining outstanding executive skills and humanitarian values, Ed has also provided extraordinary leadership and service to scores of Milwaukee-area community organizations, including UWM,” says Prasad.