Central MA’s 2018 Commencement Speakers
Sunday, April 29, 2018
This year's list of commencement speakers in Central MA includes Senator Elizabeth Warren, Governor Charlie Baker, and numerous other business executives.
Commencement speakers are charged with a heady task -- giving new graduates valuable advice and life lessons through inspirational stories, involvement in or interpretation of world-altering events, or personal accounts of overcoming odds
So who will be imparting words of wisdom at this year’s commencement ceremonies?
See the commencement speakers in the slideshow below
Related Slideshow: 2018 Central MA Commencement Speakers
Commencement Date: Saturday, May 5 at 5 p.m.
Commencement Speaker: Louis A. Stroller
Stroller has been an assistant director, production manager, and producer on more than 40 films, working with some of Hollywood’s most renowned actors, including Denzel Washington, Meryl Streep, Angelina Jolie, Al Pacino, Nicolas Cage, Sean Connery, and Sissy Spacek. His notable list of film credits includes “The Bone Collector,” “Snake Eyes,” “The Rock,” “Carrie,” “Scarface,” "Sea of Love," and "Carlito’s Way."
For television, he produced HBO’s “Half a Lifetime,” which won four Cable ACE Award nominations, and the reality series, “Grease: You’re the One That I Want.”
Stroller is president of Lucky L. Productions, a charter member of the Directors Guild of America, and a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
He will receive an honorary doctoral degree in communications and media from the College.
Commencement Date: Saturday, May 5 at 10 a.m.
Commencement Speaker: Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito
Polito is the 72nd Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts. She began her public service in local government, serving as a member of the Shrewsbury Board of Selectmen and then as a state representative for five terms.
Lt. Governor Polito chairs the Community Compact Cabinet, elevating the administration’s partnerships with local government and promoting best practices. All 351 cities and towns in the Commonwealth have joined this partnership and have adopted over 800 best practices.
Preventing sexual assault and domestic violence have been priorities for Lt. Governor Polito, and she now serves as chair of the Governor’s Council to address these important issues.
Lt. Governor Polito is co-chair of the STEM Advisory Council, working to ensure that all students have access to STEM courses with the goal of preparing them for careers and closing the skills gap.
Commencement Date: Saturday, May 5 at 9:30 a.m.
Commencement Speaker: Elizabeth G. Nabel, MD
Nabel is the president of Harvard-affiliated Brigham Health--an academic health care system which includes Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital, and the Brigham and Women’s Physician Organization.
Her honors include the Distinguished Bostonian Award from the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, the Kober Medal from the Association of American Physicians, the Champion in Health Care award from the Boston Business Journal, the Willem Einthoven Award from Leiden University in the Netherlands, the Amgen-Scientific Achievement Award, two Distinguished Achievement Awards, and the Eugene Braunwald Academic Mentorship Award from the American Heart Association.
Commencement Date: Friday, May 11 at 5:30 p.m.
Commencement Speaker: Lise Jorgensen
Upon graduation from WPI with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering in 1987, Jorgensen started her career at Procter and Gamble.
She later joined Bristol-Myers Squibb where she helped set up an R&D lab as the Section Manager of Product Development. After two years, she transitioned her career to Clairol as Associate Director leading different teams across hair, skin care, deodorant categories in addition to setting up a corporate innovation group. During her time at Clairol she and her team applied for 5 additional patent applications across US & Europe. One was for the creation of an ultra-mild clear foaming cleansing system, which was leveraged in many successful launches.
After almost 7 years at Clairol, she moved to the Estee Lauder Companies.
As Global Vice President, she lead a highly skilled global product development department to help successfully shape the launch strategies & creative development of all skin care and make-up launches under the Estee Lauder brand. During the last two years at Estee Lauder, Lise lead an entrepreneurial corporate innovation team, supporting many of the 29 brands with new breakthrough insights, incubation of disruptive technology platforms, novel consumer engagement applications and conceptualization of new business models to help influence a new future. Her expertise and creativity led her to apply for 5 additional patents and release numerous related publications. Lise spent more than 13 years developing products and innovative platforms for Estee Lauder companies.
In 2013, Lise moved to Unilever. The first 3 years at Unilever was spent living in Shanghai China as the Global Vice President of Skin Care Research and Development, Regional Vice President of Personal Care R&D for North Asia & Southeast Asia Australia teams and the research and development site leader for the China R&D Lab in Shanghai.
After that, Lise moved back to the United States, continuing her role as Global Vice President in addition to taking on the US R&D lab site leader role based in Connecticut.
Commencement Date: Sunday, May 13 at 10 a.m.
Commencement Speaker: Rev. Robert Barron
Barron is an American prelate of the Catholic Church, author, theologianand evangelist, known for his Word on Fire ministry.
He has served as an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles since September 8, 2015. Previously, he served as Rector of Mundelein Seminary in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago.
Commencement Date: Friday, May 18 at 1 p.m.
Commencement Speaker: Senator Elizabeth Warren
Prior to becoming a U.S. Senator in 2013, Warren was formerly a professor of law and taught at the University of Texas School of Law, the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and most recently at Harvard Law School.
In September 2011, Warren announced her candidacy for the U.S. Senate, challenging Republican incumbent Scott Brown.
She won the general election on November 6, 2012, becoming the first female Senator from Massachusetts.
Commencement Date: Saturday, May 19 at 10 a.m.
Commencement Speaker: Governor Charlie Baker
Baker was inaugurated on January 8, 2015, as the 72nd Governor of Massachusetts.
In a variety of polls, he consistently ranks as the most popular governor in the country.
During his time as Chief Executive Officer of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Baker turned a company on the brink of bankruptcy into the nation's highest ranked healthcare provider for member satisfaction and clinical effectiveness for six straight years.
Baker is considered by many to have a bipartisan approach. His achievements as governor include working with the Legislature to address budget gaps while balancing the state’s books without raising taxes, bolstering local aid for schools and communities, investing in a more reliable public transportation system, and prioritizing funds to fight the opioid and heroin epidemic.
Baker earned a B.A. in English from Harvard College in 1979 and went on to earn an M.B.A. from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.
Commencement Date: Sunday, May 20
Commencement Speaker: Hauwa Ibrahim
Ibrahim defied the cultural norms of Nigeria when she chose to go to school instead of getting married at 17.
She became the first female lawyer in Northern Nigeria, and is now an international human rights and Shariah law attorney with more than 20 years of experience representing women and children condemned to death in Shariah courts.
She has served as Envoy for the United Nations, on the International Bar Association’s Council on Human Rights, and on Nigeria’s Presidential Panel to Review Compliance of the Armed Forces with Human Rights Obligations and Rules of Engagement.
Ibrahim has appeared before the United States Senate and House of Representatives.
She also has served as a visiting lecturer at Harvard Divinity School; a visiting professor at the University of Rome, Italy; and a senior fellow at the Majlis El-Hassan in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
In addition, in 2005 the European Parliament awarded Ibrahim the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.
Ibrahim will receive an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree.
Commencement Date: May 25 at 10:30 a.m.
Commencement Speaker: Michele Norris
Norris is one of the nation's most recognized voices in radio, having served as NPR’s first African-American female host of its lead program “All Things Considered.”
From 2002 to 2015, she interviewed world leaders, American presidents, Nobel laureates, leading thinkers, groundbreaking artists, even astronauts traveling in outer space.
While working at NPR, Norris created The Race Card Project, an initiative to foster a wider conversation about race in America, by inviting people to submit comments on their experience of race in six words.
The project was spurred by the publication of Norris' family memoir, "The Grace of Silence," where she examines how America talks about race in the wake of the Obama presidential election, and explores her own family's racial legacy. In 2017, The Race Card Project became the cornerstone of The Bridge, a new initiative of the Aspen Institute, a program on race, identity, and inclusion.
Prior to her run at NPR, Norris served as an ABC News Correspondent based in Washington D.C. where she covered the White House. She also spent time as a print reporter, serving as a staff writer for The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times. She has also written for Time and National Geographic magazines.
Norris attended the University of Wisconsin and graduated from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. She currently resides in Washington, D.C., with her husband, Holy Cross alumnus Broderick Johnson ’78.
Commencement Date: June 3, 2018
Commencement Speaker: Huda Y. Zoghbi, MD
Zoghbi, MD, is a professor of pediatrics, molecular and human genetics, neurology, and neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine.
Zoghbi has earned election to the National Academies of Sciences and Medicine, is an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and directs the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children's Hospital. In 2016, Zoghbi was awarded the prestigious Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences.
Zoghbi’s career took an unexpected turn in the 1980s when, as a neurology resident, she encountered a young girl with Rett syndrome, which had recently been described in a report in Annals of Neurology and named for Andreas Rett, an early researcher of the disorder. Frustrated by the limited relief she could provide to Rett patients and their families at that time, Dr. Zoghbi sought to understand the cause of Rett syndrome and other rare neurological disorders. Sixteen years after Dr. Zoghbi first met the Rett syndrome patient, her lab identified MECP2, the gene responsible for causing the disorder.
This discovery, along with her other groundbreaking discoveries in neurodegeneration, are now being used to develop better therapies for more common neurological disorders including autism, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.
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