More than 400 receive degrees at 63rd Fairfield University Graduate Commencement

Image: CommencementOn a drizzly day that didn't dampen anyone's spirits, Fairfield University awarded 396 master's degrees, 19 certificates of advanced study and three doctor of nursing practice degrees at its 63rd Graduate Commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 19, 2013.

The crowd at Alumni Hall included two honorary degree recipients: Patrick W. Kelley '76, P'12, M.D., DrPH, of Silver Spring, Maryland, director of the Boards of Global Health and African Science Academy Development at the U.S. National Academies, who was the graduate commencement speaker; and Sister Patricia Farrell, OSF, LCSW, LMHP, a Sister of St. Francis of the Holy Family, Dubuque, Iowa, and the immediate past president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.

The University conferred graduate degrees from its College of Arts and Sciences, the Charles F. Dolan School of Business, the School of Engineering, the Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions and the School of Nursing.

Image: CommencementIn his commencement address Dr. Kelley challenged the graduates to be transformative leaders.

"The educated, especially at the professional level, like yourselves, are parties to a social contract," he said. "Empowered professionals, such as each of you, in recognition of their status, assume an obligation to use their position and capabilities to lead the creation of more equitable societies where health, education, security and opportunity are more accessible to all, where the treasury of the talents God has given to each of us, can be fully at the service of all of us."

Dr. Kelley has overseen consensus advisory studies on subjects including the evaluation of U.S. foreign assistance for HIV/AIDS, the global problem of substandard and falsified drugs, and global surveillance for infections transmitted between humans and animals. In 2003, he retired from a career in the U.S. Army Medical Corps during which he founded the DoD Global Emerging Infections Surveillance and Response System and the DoD Accession Medical Standards and Analysis Activity and edited the first textbook on military preventive medicine in more than 60 years.

Image: CommencementDr. Kelley received his B.S. (cum laude) from Fairfield University, an M.D. from the University of Virginia, and MPH and DrPH degrees from the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health. He received an honorary doctor of science degree from Fairfield on Sunday. His daughter, Maureen, is a 2012 Fairfield graduate.

Erin Radocchia, of Westbrook, Conn., who, like both of her parents, graduated from the School of Nursing, delivered the graduate class address. She joked that, as a baby, she was the youngest 'student' ever at Fairfield, "getting passed from my mother to my father in between classes in the halls of the School of Nursing.

"Eighteen years later, those halls would become the ones I knew best, as I pursued my own bachelor of science degree in nursing at Fairfield," she said. "I was inspired, not only by my parents' thirst for knowledge and commitment to service professions, but also by Fairfield's Jesuit ideals. Throughout a rewarding career in nursing, when faced with the desire to continue my education in nursing, there was nowhere besides Fairfield I even considered attending."

Loretta Egan Murphy, of Monroe, Conn., who earned an M.S. in nursing, Family Nurse Practitioner track, received the St. Ignatius Loyola Medal for outstanding University service.

Image: CommencementSister Patricia Farrell did pastoral work and community organizing in San Antonio, Texas, leading her eventually to 20 years in Latin America, beginning in Chile and ending in El Salvador. She also worked in the behavioral health field with Spanish-speaking people in Chicago and Omaha. She is currently part of the leadership team of the Sisters of St. Francis of Dubuque, Iowa. She received an honorary doctor of laws degree on Sunday.

Fairfield University President Jeffrey P. von Arx, S.J., told the graduates that they will always be part of the Fairfield community.

"We, the faculty and administration, are filled with pride in your accomplishments," he said. "During your time of study here, you shaped us all with your enthusiasm, with your passion for learning, with your good humor, and through the close relationships that you have forged here, which I am sure will be with you for the rest of your life."

Commencement for the University's 861 undergraduates took place Sunday morning on Bellarmine Lawn. The Reverend Michael J. Garanzini, S.J., president of Loyola University Chicago, was the undergraduate commencement speaker and received an honorary degree along with Sister Maureen Clark, CSJ, a Sister of St. Joseph from Pittsburgh, who worked in the correctional system for 13 years; and William P. McDonald '75, a Pulitzer Prize-winning editor at The New York Times.

Image: CommencementImages: Patrick W. Kelley, M.D., of Silver Spring, Maryland, director of the Boards of Global Health and African Science Academy Development at the U.S. National Academies, delivers the Commencement speech; Sister Patricia Farrell, OSF, LCSW, LMHP, a Sister of St. Francis of the Holy Family, Dubuque, Iowa, speaks after receiving her honorary degree; A happy graduate holds his degree aloft; Erin Lynn Radocchia, of Westbrook, Conn., delivers the graduate valedictory speech; Beaming graduates celebrate their special day.


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Media Contact: Meredith Guinness, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2950,

Posted on May 19, 2013

Vol. 45, No. 279

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