Arizona Diamondbacks Managing General Partner Ken Kendrick will be awarded an honorary doctorate degree from his alma mater, West Virginia University, during commencement exercises this weekend. Considered higher education's most prestigious recognition, honorary degrees are awarded to individuals selected through a nomination process.
Kendrick will be honored alongside Dr. Vicente Anido Jr., an international ophthalmology leader; Edward DiPaolo, a former Halliburton executive; Helen Holt, the first female West Virginia Secretary of State; and Jennie Hunter-Cevera, a scientist who holds 15 patents.
Kendrick sits on the board of directors for the WVU Foundation and has established programs at WVU's College of Business and Economics focused on free market research and at the WVU Eye Institute to support children's vision outreach programs. He also funded the WVU Hall of Traditions, was inducted into the State of West Virginia's Business Hall of Fame, the WVU Academy of Distinguished Alumni and the inaugural Roll of Distinguished Alumni at the College of Business and Economics.
A native of Princeton, WV, Kendrick was a charter member of the ownership group that brought baseball to the Valley of the Sun following a very successful career in the software and banking industries. Since assuming the role of Managing General Partner in 2004, the D-backs have twice captured the National League West Division title (2007 & 2011), reaching the National League Championship for the second time in the franchise's existence in 2007.
As a commitment to the fans, Kendrick and the D-backs' ownership group continue to reinvest all profits into the product on the field, as the club's payroll in 2013 is its highest since 2002, the year after winning the World Championship. Under Kendrick's leadership, through equity and debt restructures, the team has eliminated more than $175 million of debt in the last eight years, putting the franchise on sound financial ground for years to come.
Kendrick is in his 10th season in his current role and during that time, the franchise has become a model organization in Major League Baseball, hosting an All-Star Game at Chase Field in 2011, opening a Spring Training facility that is widely considered the finest in all of baseball in Salt River Fields at Talking Stick and becoming one of the largest philanthropic entities in the Valley with charitable contributions topping $33 million since the organization's inception in 1998.
While the D-backs are his primary focus, Kendrick has also helped to change the face of downtown Phoenix, as he was a principal in the development of CityScape, Arizona's largest commercial/retail real estate development just footsteps from Chase Field.