2015 Fairfield University Commencement – Sunday, May 17, 2015


Fairfield University celebrates its 65th Baccalaureate on Sunday, May 17, 2015. Graduate and Undergraduate ceremonies will be held on the Bellarmine Lawn on the University campus.

Fairfield University welcomes two dedicated and distinguished members of the Society of Jesus for the 65th commencement ceremonies Sunday, May 17, 2015. This year's speakers are Rev. James Martin, S.J., New York Times best selling author, editor, national and international media contributor, who will speak at the undergraduate ceremony, and Rev. Greg Boyle, S.J., founder and executive director of Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles, California, who will deliver the commencement address at the graduate ceremony. The 2015 commencement ceremonies take place on Bellarmine Lawn and begin at 9:30 a.m. with the undergraduate ceremony, followed at 3 p.m. by the graduate ceremony. The total number of expected degrees to be awarded are: 916 Bachelor's, 374 Master's, 18 Certificates of Advanced Study, and 21 Doctorates. Honorary degrees will be bestowed upon both speakers and three other honorees, John C. Meditz ‘70, Sharon Robinson and Clea Newman Soderlund.

Commencement Speakers & Honorary Degrees

Undergraduate Commencement Speaker – Rev. James Martin, S.J., Doctor of Humane Letters
Jesuit priest, author, and editor, Fr. James Martin, will speak at the undergraduate commencement ceremony. Fr. Martin entered the Jesuits in 1988, after working in the corporate finance sector for six years. His work has spanned the globe, including a hospice in Kingston, Jamaica, a Jesuit refugee service in Nairobi, Kenya, a school for underprivileged boys in New York City and various outreach programs around Chicago. Fr. Martin is an award winning author of five books, including A Jesuit Off-Broadway: Center Stage with Jesus, Judas and Life’s Big Questions which was named one of Publishers Weekly’s “Best Books.” His writing has been featured in national publications including The New York Times and O Magazine, and he has been a guest on major television and radio networks including NPR and Comedy Central. Aside from his editorial and publishing work, Fr. Martin has been invited by Catholic dioceses and archdioceses to address gatherings of clergy and laity, has spoken at colleges and universities across the country and leads seminars and directs retreats. Fr. Martin will receive his honorary degree at the Undergraduate ceremony.

Graduate Commencement Speaker - Rev. Greg Boyle, S.J., Doctor of Humanities
This year’s graduate commencement ceremony features Rev. Greg Boyle, S.J., the founder and executive director of Homeboy Industries, a nationally recognized agency that provides job training, education and mental health services to former gang members. Fr. Boyle entered the Jesuits in 1972 after his high school graduation, and was ordained a priest in 1984. Since then, he has served as a Chaplain of Folsom Prison, and is the author of Tattoos on the Heart: the Power of Boundless Compassion. Fr. Boyle is also the recipient of several humanitarian awards, including the California Peace Prize. He will receive his honorary degree at the Graduate ceremony.

Additional Honorary Degree Recipients

John C. Meditz ‘70 – Doctor of Humanities
John C. Meditz ‘70, is the Managing Director, Co-Founder, and Senior Portfolio Manager of HorizonKinetics LLC, an independently owned and operated boutique investment company located in New York City and White Plains, NY. Meditz graduated from Fairfield University in 1970 with a bachelor’s degree in business and received his MBA from Rutgers University. A longtime trustee, Meditz has been an exceedingly generous supporter of Fairfield, initially to the Bellarmine Museum and then a major gift of $10 million to the Capital Campaign. Meditz has been a consistent supporter of the Jesuit community, including the Northeast Province, of which the Fairfield Jesuit community is a part. Meditz will receive his honorary degree at the undergraduate ceremony.

Clea Newman Soderlund – Doctor of Humanities
Clea Newman Soderlund is the founder and senior director of external affairs at the SeriousFun Children’s Network, a global community of independently managed camps and programs that service serious ill children free of charge. The daughter of the late actor, Paul Newman, Soderlund is also on the board of the non-profit organization, Newman’s Own. The Fairfield, Connecticut, resident will receive her honorary degree at the Graduate ceremony.

Sharon Robinson – Doctor of Science
Sharon Robinson, the daughter of the late Hall-of-Fame baseball player, Jackie Robinson, is the educational consultant for Major League Baseball. She manages “Breaking Barriers: In Sports, In Life,” a baseball themed national character education curriculum that helps empower students to face obstacles in their lives. Robinson is the author of several books, including Stealing Home, an intimate family portrait of the Robinson family. Prior to joining MLB, Robinson was a nurse-midwife for 20 years, and has taught at Yale, Columbia, Howard, and Georgetown. Robinson received her Bachelor’s degree from Howard University a Master’s degree from Columbia, and a post-Master’s certificate in teaching from the School of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania. Robinson is being honored with a Doctor of Science degree. Robinson will receive her honorary degree at the Undergraduate ceremony.

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Posted on April 20, 2015

Vol. 47, No. 242

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