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2018 Commencement Speakers Set to Address Jesuit Schools along the East Coast

May 11, 2018 - The commencement speakers set to address thousands of graduates of the 12 East Coast Jesuit colleges and universities are a diverse group of inspiring men and women, including a 101-year-old literary pioneer who may be the oldest person ever to deliver a commencement speech.

At Boston College’s 142 Commencement Exercises on May 21, Archbishop at Atlanta Wilton D. Gregory, will be addressing graduates. Archbishop Gregory is the highest-ranking African American bishop in the United States and head of one of the countries fasted growing archdioceses, which is home to several Jesuit works affiliated with the East Coast provinces. 

 
Atlanta Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory, will be addressing graduates at Boston College's commencement.
At Canisius College’s May 19 commencement exercises, Allegra C. Jaros, president of Buffalo’s new John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital, and Norma J. Nowak, executive director of the University of Buffalo’s Center for Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences, will serve as graduate and undergraduate commencement speakers, respectively. Jaros recently oversaw the relocation of Women and Children’s Hospital of buffalo to a new medical campus, forming the Oishei Hospital, which is now the regional center for comprehensive and state-of-the-art pediatric trauma, surgical and medical care.

Nowak is an acclaimed researcher and renowned leader in the field of human genomics. Her research contributed directly to the Human Genome Project, which resulted in genomic-based approaches to understanding heritable disorders and cancer.

The College of the Holy Cross will welcome Emmy and Peabody Award-winning journalist Michele Norris, as this year’s commencement speaker on May 25. Norris is a longtime NPR host and founder of The Race Card Project. She is also executive director of The Bridge, a new initiative of the Aspen Institute, focusing on race, identity and inclusion. 

This year’s commencement speakers at Fairfield University on May 20 will be Br. Guy Consolmagno, SJ, director of the Vatican Observatory and president of the Vatican Observatory Foundation; and John R. Mitchell, chairman of Mitchell Stores and bestselling author. Since 1993, Br. Consolmagno’s work at the Vatican Observatory has explored connections between meteorites, asteroids and the evolution of solar system bodies. Mr. Mitchell’s business acumen and focus on employee engagement brought him to publish Hug Your Customers: The Proven Way to Personalize Sales and Achieve Astounding Results, which won wide acclaim. 

Fordham University will welcome Dennis Walcott, president and CEO of the Queens Library and former New York City schools chancellor, to deliver the university’s keynote address on May 19. Walcott served as chancellor from 2011-2013, joining the Bloomberg administration in 2002 as deputy mayor. Prior to his work in city government, he was president and CEO of the New York Urban League. 


Dennis Walcott, president and CEO of the Queens Library will deliver the keynote address at Fordham University.

Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres, Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-District of Columbia) and former MIT president Susan Hockfield are among those scheduled to speak at Georgetown University’s 2018 Commencement on May 19.

Le Moyne College selected 101-year-old literary pioneer Ruth Johnson Colvin, a member of the National Women’s Hall of Fame and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, as its 2018 commencement speaker. Colvin is the founder of ProLiteracy Worldwide, an organization that helps adults learn to read and write, with a presence in over 25 countries. As several news outlets reported, Colvin’s speech on May 20 may make her the oldest commencement speaker to ever address a class of graduates.


The 103-year-old literary pioneer Ruth Johnson Colvin will be the commencement speaker at Le Moyne College this year.

Miguel “Mike” Fernandez, founder of MBF Healthcare Partners, will deliver the commencement address at Loyola University Maryland’s Commencement Exercises on Saturday, May 19. Fernandez was born in Cuba, where he and his family lived until they were forced to leave in 1964. After immigrating to the United States and serving in the army, he began his career in the insurance field selling health insurance. A few years later, he started Group Tech System, the first national database on health insurance quoting programs.

   
Miguel “Mike” Fernandez, will deliver the commencement address at Loyola University Maryland.
Dominick J. DiJulia, the longtime vice president of athletics and athletics director at Saint Joseph’s University, will be the keynote speaker at SJU’s commencement ceremony on May 19. He will receive an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters along with Sister Helen Cole, SSJ, MSW, LCSW, director and founder of Guadalupe Family Services in Camden, N.J.

Campbell Soup Company CEO Denise Morrison will be the commencement speaker at Saint Peter’s University on May 21. Morrison became the CEO of Campbell in 2011 after more than 30 years in the food industry. She is the 12th leader in the company’s 149-year history and is ranked among Fortune Magazine’s 50 Most Powerful Women in Business. 

The Most Reverend George V. Murry, SJ, Ph.D., bishop of the diocese of Youngstown, Ohio, (pictured below) will be the principal speaker at the University of Scranton’s commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 27. A member of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Bishop Murry currently serves as chair of its Committee Against Racism.



Chris Lowney, the author of Heroic Leadership and the recently released book Make Today Matter: 10 Habits for a Better Life (and World), served as the keynote speaker during Wheeling Jesuit University’s 60th commencement ceremony on May 5.






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November 30, 2018 — This Advent season, we ask Jesus to light the dark. We pray for that light to inflame us with brighter faith, hope and love.

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