Honorary Degree Citation
Jette and Alan Parker. Philanthropists. human rights advocates, Colby parents. A decade ago you established the Oak Foundation, which supports nonprofit organizations around the world. Your early and continued support for the International Council for the Rehabilitation of Torture Victims has had a major impact on the torture abolition movement and has funded a global network of rehabilitation centers to restore the lives of torture victims. You have made important contributions in the area of public health with your support for work on learning disabilities and by establishing the Parker Institute and Muscle Laboratory, which focuses on neurological diseases and provides medical exams to 7,000 outpatients each year. You have provided grants to organizations in Zimbabwe, the country where Alan was raised, to combat HIV/AIDS, to provide clean water to rural areas, and to keep alive hope for democracy and human rights. Colby has been a recipient of your generosity, most notably a scholarship program for international students, including those who have been victims of human rights abuses, and a fellowship for human rights activists, which has exposed our students to courageous people doing this critical work in the most dangerous parts of the world. You also support the arts, including through the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme at England’s Royal Opera House. Your children, Caroline, Natalie, and Kristian, Colby Class of 1994, take an active part in the Oak Foundation, ensuring that its tradition of active and effective philanthropy on behalf of the environment, human rights, women, and children will continue on the path you have blazed.
By the authority of the Board of Trustees of Colby College, I confer upon you, Jette and Alan Parker, the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa. The hoods with which you have been invested and these diplomas which I place in your hands are visible symbols of your membership in this society of scholars, to all the rights and privileges of which I declare you entitled.
Conferred May 28, 2006
Jette and Alan Parker founded the Oak Philanthropies Ltd. and the Oak Foundation, both of Geneva, Switzerland. The Oak Foundation supports nonprofit organizations throughout the world and has made generous grants to the College to fund 10 scholarships for international students, to endow the Oak Chair in Biological Sciences, and to establish and support the Oak Institute for International Human Rights. The Parkers also founded the Parker Institute and Muscle Laboratory in 1999. The institute and laboratory focuses on neurological diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia and provides medical exams to more than 7,000 outpatients each year. Alan Parker is an international investor and was co-owner and CFO of Duty Free Shops International. He is a former Colby overseer. Jette Parker has served on the boards of the Rehabilitation and Research Center for Torture Victims and the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims and as a Colby trustee. The Parkers’ son, Kristian, is a member of the Colby Class of 1994.