SCU Alumnus Leon Panettea, chairman of The Panetta Institute for Public Policy
Commencement Speakers at Jesuit Colleges and Universities for 2017

It's that time of year again! The following is a list of speakers and dates for the 2017 commencement ceremonies at the twenty-eight Jesuit colleges and universities in the United States:

Boston College: May 22 
United States Senator Bob Casey (D-PA)

Canisius College: Graduate: May 17, Undergraduate: May 20 
Graduate: Christine M. Licata-Culhane, Ed.D. ’67, M.S. ’71 (senior associate provost and professor in the Division of Academic Affairs at Rochester Institute of Technology), Undergraduate: Nelson D. Civello ’67 (retired president of the Fixed Income Capital Markets Group for Dain Rauscher Corp. and past chair of The Bond Market Association)

College of the Holy Cross: May 26 
James J. O’Connell, M.D. (president and founding physician of the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program)

Creighton University: May 13 
Paul Farmer, M.D., Ph.D. (co-founder of Partners in Health)

Fairfield University: Undergraduate, Graduate: May 21 

Undergraduate: Rev. Jeffrey P. von Arx, S.J. (former President of Fairfield University and current Superior of the LaFarge House Jesuit Community in Cambridge, MA), Graduate: Juanita James (President and CEO of Fairfield County’s Community Foundation)

Fordham University: May 20 
His Eminence Óscar Andrés Cardinal Rodríguez Maradiaga, S.D.B. (Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras and key advisor to Pope Francis)

Georgetown University: School of Foreign Service in Qatar: May 4, McCourt School of Public Policy: May 18, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, McDonough School of Business (Graduate), School of Continuing Studies: May 19, Georgetown College, School of Nursing & Health Studies, McDonough School of Business (Undergraduate), Walsh School of Foreign Service: May 20, School of Medicine, Georgetown Law: May 21

  • School of Foreign Service in Qatar: H.E. Sheikh Abdulla bin Ali Al-Thani
  • McCourt School of Public Policy: Alice M. Rivlin (Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution and Visiting Professor, McCourt School of Public Policy)
  • Graduate School of Arts & Sciences: Robert B. Cialdini, Ph.D. (Regents Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Marketing, Arizona State University)
  • McDonough School of Business (Graduate): Arthur “Artie” Minson ’92 (President and CFO, WeWork)
  • School of Continuing Studies: Nathaniel “Nate” Read Silver (Editor-in-Chief, FiveThirtyEight)
  • Georgetown College: Sister Mary Scullion, R.S.M. (Executive Director and President, Project HOME)
  • School of Nursing & Health Studies: James H. Shelton, III (President of Chan Zuckerberg Education, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative)
  • McDonough School of Business (Undergraduate): Gregory Gerard Coleman ’76 (President, BuzzFeed)
  • Walsh School of Foreign Service: Anne Applebaum (Columnist, The Washington Post, and Visiting Professor, London School of Economics)
  • School of Medicine: Dr. Worta McCaskill-Stevens (Chief, Community Oncology and Prevention Trials Research Group; Division of Cancer Prevention, National Cancer Institute)
  • Georgetown Law: Charles R. Lawrence, III (Professor of Law, University of Hawai'i at Manoa Centennial Professor, William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa)

Gonzaga University: Law, Graduate: May 13, Undergraduate: May 14 
Law: Thomas W. Hillier, II '73 (trial lawyer), Graduate: Stephanie Russell, Ed.D. (vice president for mission integration at the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities), Undergraduate: Sherman Alexie (pre-eminent poet, novelist and filmmaker of contemporary Native American reservation life)

John Carroll University: May 21 
Rev. Myles Sheehan, S.J., M.D. (Assistant to the Provincial for Senior Jesuits of the Maryland Province and the USA Northeast Province)

Le Moyne College: Graduate: May 19, Undergraduate: May 21 
Graduate: Rev. Peter Folan, S.J. (member, Le Moyne College Board of Trustees), Undergraduate: John Langdon, Ph.D. '67 (author and history professor at Le Moyne College)


Loyola Marymount University: Undergraduate: May 6, Graduate: May 7 
Undergraduate: Anna Deavere Smith (renowned playwright and actress), Graduate: Michelle King(superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District)

Loyola University Chicago: School of Education, Graduate School & Institute of Pastoral Studies: May 9, Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing & School of Social Work: May 10, Quinlan School of Business, School of Communication & School of Continuing and Professional Studies: May 11, College of Arts & Sciences: May 12, School of Law: May 13, Stritch School of Medicine: May 20, Arrupe College: August 20

  • School of Education: Claudio Sanchez (Education Correspondent, National Public Radio)
  • Graduate School & Institute of Pastoral Studies: Mary Frances Berry, Ph.D. (author, activist and Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought and History at the University of Pennsylvania)
  • Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing: Cathy Catrambone, Ph.D., RN, FAAN (Associate Professor, Rush University College of Nursing; President, Sigma Theta Tau International)
  • School of Social Work: The Honorable Thomas J. Dart ’87 (Sheriff, Cook County, Illinois)
  • Quinlan School of Business: Edward J. Wehmer (President and CEO, Wintrust Financial Corporation)
  • School of Communication & School of Continuing & Professional Studies: Trish Biondo-Soltys ’89 (Chicago Media Veteran)
  • College of Arts and Sciences (Arts): Wil Haygood (Pulitzer Prize nominee, author and reporter)
  • College of Arts and Sciences (Sciences and Institute of Environmental Sustainability): Cynthia A. O’Connell ’81 (Brigadier General, United States Army [Ret.], health care executive & educator)
  • School of Law: Mary Meg McCarthy ’89 (Executive Director, National Immigrant Justice Center [a Program of Heartland Alliance])
  • Stritch School of Medicine: Pamela L. Wible, M.D. (physician and author)
  • Arrupe College: The Honorable Toni Preckwinkle (President, Cook County Board, Illinois)

Loyola University Maryland: May 20 
Rev. James Martin, S.J. (Bestselling Author and Editor-at-large, America Magazine)


Loyola University New Orleans: May 13 
Undergraduate / Graduate: Van Jones (Social justice champion and CNN political contributor), College of Law: Honorable Madeleine M. Landrieu, J.D. '87, H '05 (Fourth Circuit Appellate Judge; incoming dean of the Loyola University New Orleans College of Law)

Marquette University: May 21 
Sister Maria Marciano, O.P. (Dominican sister from Brazil who serves Haiti’s poorest citizens)


Regis University: Graduate: May 6, Undergraduate: May 7 
Rev. Greg Boyle, S.J. (founder and executive director of Homeboy Industries)

Rockhurst University: May 13 
Undergraduate: Paul Alexander Hagan (candidate for the degree of Bachelor of Science in Exercise and Sport Science), Graduate: Julie Ruth Thomson (candidate for the degree of Master of Science in Business Intelligence and Analytics)

Saint Joseph's University: Undergraduate, Graduate: May 20 
Undergraduate: Madeline Bell (President and CEO of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia [CHOP]), Graduate: Linda Cliatt-Wayman ’92 (noted leader in education advocacy on behalf of children living in poverty)

Saint Louis University: May 20 
Diana Natalicio, Ph.D. '61 (president of the University of Texas at El Paso)


Saint Peter's University: May 22 
Timothy P. Shriver, Ph.D. (Chairman of Special Olympics)

Santa Clara University: Jesuit School of Theology & School of Law: May 20, Graduate: June 16, Undergraduate: June 17 
Jesuit School of Theology: The Most Reverend Robert W. McElroy (Catholic Bishop of San Diego, CA), School of Law: Leon Panetta '60, '63 (former United States Secretary of Defense & Director, CIA), Undergraduate: Juan Felipe Herrera (21st Poet Laureate of the United States)

Seattle University: Undergraduate, Graduate: June 11 
Undergraduate: Sherman Alexie (pre-eminent poet, novelist and filmmaker of contemporary Native American reservation life), Graduate: Maggy Barankitse (international humanitarian; 2008 Opus Prize Laureate)


Spring Hill College: May 6 
Arthur J. Tipton, Ph.D. '80 (President and CEO of Southern Research)

University of Detroit Mercy: School of Dentistry: May 12, School of Law & Undergraduate / Graduate: May 13 
School of Dentistry: Lee E. Rouse, D.D.S. (Dean of the Howard University School of Dentistry; former president of the American Dental Education Association), School of Law: Chief Judge Denise Page Hood (United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan), Undergraduate / Graduate: James Padilla (retired chief operating officer of Ford Motor Company)

University of San Francisco: School of Education: May 18, College of Arts & Sciences (Undergraduate, Graduate), School of Nursing & Health Professions: May 19, School of Law & School of Management (Undergraduate, Graduate): May 20

  • School of Education: The Most Reverend Robert W. McElroy (Catholic Bishop of San Diego, CA)
  • College of Arts and Sciences (Undergraduate Humanities & Sciences): Karl W. Eikenberry (Ambassador and Lieutenant General [Ret. U.S. Army])
  • College of Arts and Sciences (Undergraduate Arts & Social Sciences): Carey Perloff (playwright and Artistic Director, American Conservatory Theater)
  • College of Arts and Sciences (Graduate Arts and Sciences): Maureen Orth (journalist, author and special correspondent, Vanity Fair)
  • School of Nursing and Health Professions: Rev. Jon D. Fuller, M.D., S.J. (physician, Center for Infectious Diseases and associate professor at the Boston University School of Medicine)
  • School of Law: The Honorable Xavier Becerra (California Attorney General)
  • School of Management (Undergraduate): Regina Benjamin, M.D., MBA (former United States Surgeon General)
  • School of Management (Graduate & Professional): Mark Buell '64 (President, San Francisco Recreation and Park Commission)

University of Scranton: Graduate: May 27, Undergraduate: May 28 
Undergraduate: Rev. James Martin, S.J. (Bestselling Author and Editor-at-large, America Magazine), Graduate: Kathleen Curry Santora, Esq. ’80 (President and CEO of the National Association of College and University Attorneys)

Wheeling Jesuit University: May 6 
Patty Briguglio (North Carolina-based businesswoman and public relations expert)

Xavier University: Undergraduate & Graduate: May 13 
Undergraduate: David and Liane Phillips (Co-Founders, Cincinnati Works), Graduate: Steve Melink(National Clean Energy Expert & CEO, Melink Corporation)

(From: The Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities)

Recent News

July 22, 2020 — Pope Francis declared Fr. Eusebio Kino, SJ, venerable on July 10.

July 14, 2020 — After four ordinations went off without a hitch last week, Fr. Scott Santarosa, SJ, provincial of the Jesuits West Province, had reason to be hopeful.

June 30, 2020 — Fr. Frank Buckley, SJ, clinical director of the Center at Blessed Sacrament, the Jesuit parish in Hollywood, shares how the parish has responded to the pandemic.

June 25, 2020 — Fr. Chris Corbally, SJ, an astronomer at the Vatican Observatory in Arizona, now has an asteroid named for him.

June 24, 2020 — Dr. Fauci explains how his Jesuit education helped prepare him for his work in public health.

June 23, 2020 — Jack Krouse, SJ, of Jesuits West, was ordained to the diaconate at Saint Ignatius Church in Paris on June 20.

June 19, 2020 — It is with great joy that the Jesuits West Province announces ordination dates have been set next month for six Jesuits of the province.

view all news

Search news


Jesuits West Magazine - Spring 2020

Jesuits West Magazine - Fall 2019

Jesuits West Magazine - Spring 2019

Fall, 2019

Summer, 2019

Fall, 2018

Jesuit Retreat Center of Los Altos
The Jesuit Retreat Center of Los Altos has offered prayerful solitude and inspiring vistas to those seeking spiritual rejuvenation since 1925.