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President Austin honored for contributions to education

President Philip E. Austin received an honorary doctor of humane letters degree from the University of Alabama at its summer commencement exercises last week in Tuscaloosa. The award was made in recognition of his contributions to education in the state.

Austin, who spent seven years as chancellor of the University of Alabama system before joining UConn last fall, was cited as a distinguished economist and educator.

During his tenure in Alabama, Austin was a vocal advocate of tax reform and increased state support for higher education, and actively promoted the university's role in economic growth.

He also led the development of the Intercampus Interactive Telecommunications System (IITS), an electronic network linking the three UA system campuses and other sites in the state. It has been credited both nationally and internationally as a model for distance learning.

Austin, who earned his Ph.D. in economics from Michigan State University, has held the academic rank of professor in the departments of economics at Colorado State University and Bernard Baruch College in New York City, as well as at UConn. Last spring he was inducted into the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences.

The University of Alabama holds commencement ceremonies three times a year, in May, August and December.

Elizabeth Omara-Otunnu