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MARTIN ALLEN TO DELIVER AQUINAS COMMENCEMENT ADDRESS, RECEIVE HONORARY DEGREE

April 21, 2008 - Martin J. (Marty) Allen, Jr., will deliver the Commencement Address at Aquinas College's graduation ceremony on Saturday, May 3. In addition, the chairman emeritus of the Gerald R. Ford Foundation and trustee emeritus of the Aquinas College Board will be presented with an honorary doctor of public service degree.

The Commencement ceremony begins at 2 p.m. in the Fieldhouse (1580 East Fulton Street). Of the nearly 500 students eligible to graduate, about 300 plan on participating in the Commencement ceremony. Bishop Walter Hurley of the Grand Rapids Diocese will preside at a Baccalaureate Mass at the Cathedral of Saint Andrew (265 Sheldon Blvd. SE) that will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday.

Born and raised in Grand Rapids, Allen graduated from Catholic Central High School in 1954. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame in 1958 and a M.B.A. degree from Michigan State University in 1962. In between, he served as an officer on active duty with the United States Navy, achieving the rank of Lieutenant Commander.

Allen began a 31-year career with Old Kent Bank (now Fifth Third) in 1966. During his time with Old Kent, he earned a reputation as both an innovative businessman and champion of the community. He rose quickly through the ranks, becoming senior vice president of the bank's holding company. Further, his marketing accomplishments brought him recognition from his peers, earning him an induction into the American Bankers Association Hall of Fame in 1996. He also is co-founder of one of the community's most popular events, the 25K Old Kent (now Fifth Third) River Bank Run.

Allen is an extraordinary example of the values Aquinas College strives to idealize in his tireless service, compassion and advocacy for others. His passion and generosity have forever marked the landscape of West Michigan with his service on many significant community projects.

Allen was also a close personal friend and confidant of President Gerald R. Ford. He has received commendations from the President of the United States and the Governor of Michigan for his exceptional volunteer service in the fields of education, human services, community development, religion, philanthropy and in arts and cultural activities. He received Aquinas' prestigious Reflection Award in 2003 and is the recipient of many awards and honors for his distinguished service to the community.

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