April 24 , 2008
Contact: Juanita Britton
BET CEO Debra Lee is UDC Commencement Speaker
Washington, DC -- The University of the District of Columbia will award honorary degrees to Chairman and CEO of BET Networks, Debra L. Lee, and Founder, Chairman and CEO of MacFarlane Partners, Victor B. MacFarlane at the University's 31st commencement ceremonies on Saturday May 10.
During the ceremony, which begins at 10 a.m. at the Verizon Center, in Washington, D.C., Lee and MacFarlane will receive the degree, Doctor of Laws, from the David A. Clarke, School of Law. Ms. Lee will also be delivering the keynote speech after she receives her award.
As the head of one of the world’s most influential media and entertainment companies, she oversees diversified operations and an array of assets, including several cable television channels, digital offerings, mobile, and a music festival/events business. She is leading the company in current growth initiatives, including continued expansion into filmed entertainment, a home entertainment business, and international distribution of the brand.
Victor has 29 years of real estate experience, and has worked extensively in property development, acquisitions, asset management and portfolio management on behalf of some of the world’s largest pension plans and institutions. In 1996, he sold the investment management business of MacFarlane Partners to GE Capital and then served for three years as chief executive officer of GE Capital Investment Advisors. During that period, he also spearheaded several global initiatives for GE Capital Real Estate, an affiliate that managed $20 billion in real estate assets worldwide. He oversaw or participated in GE Capital Real Estate’s expansion plans in Asia, Mexico and Eastern Europe.
Ms. Lee earned a juris doctorate from Harvard Law School, while simultaneously earning a master’s degree in public policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government and earned her bachelor’s degree in political science with an emphasis in Asian politics from Brown University. Victor holds a juris doctor degree from the University of California, Los Angeles; a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Pittsburgh; and a bachelor’s degree in university studies from the University of New Mexico.
Ms. Lee’s achievements in a 20-plus year career at BET Networks have earned her numerous accolades from across the cable industry, as well as recognition as one of this country’s most respected business executives. She serves on the corporate board of directors of Revlon, Marriott, Eastman Kodak, and Washington Gas & Light. Her business acumen and strategic approach to management make Ms. Lee a popular speaker and lecturer on a range of business topics.
Affiliated with a number of professional, civic, and cultural organizations, Ms. Lee is also a member of the national board of directors for the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA), Alvin Ailey Dance Theater, Girls Inc., National Symphony Orchestra, Center for Communication, and the Kennedy Center’s Community & Friends Board. She is also a member of the Board of Trustees for Brown University and also serves on the boards of the Museum of Television and Radio, the Ad Council and the Grammy Foundation.
Victor is a past recipient of the National Inner City Leadership Award from the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City and the Trailblazer Achievement Award from the Global Diversity Summit. He sits on the boards of directors of the Robert Toigo Foundation, the Real Estate Executive Council, the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City, Stanford Hospital & Clinics, and The Dignity Fund. He also serves on the policy advisory board of the Fisher Center for Real Estate at the University of California, Berkeley; and is an outside director of Developers Diversified Realty Corporation. He is a member and trustee of the Urban Land Institute; a member and former director of the Pension Real Estate Association; and a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers, the Chief Executives Organization and the World Presidents Organization. Mr. McFarlane recently joined the Board of Advisors of UCLA School of Law.
The University of the District of Columbia is the fully-accredited sole public source for accessible, inclusive, affordable, and comprehensive public higher education in the District of Columbia and provides additional life-long learning opportunities. The University delivers quality instruction and uses student-centered approaches to empower and benefit both individuals and its local communities. The University, an urban land grant institution, is a very diverse community, a gateway to the world, and a significant investment engine for the District of Columbia. The University is located at 4200 Connecticut Ave, NW Washington, and is conveniently located at the Van Ness/UDC stop on the Red Line of Metro. For more information on other University activities, contact Mike Andrews, Senior Director for Communications and University Spokesperson at (202) 274-5685 or visit the University’s web site at www.udc.edu.