Fairfield Celebrates Class of 2023 at 73rd Commencement

Fairfield Celebrates Class of 2023 at 73rd Commencement

Aerial view of the Class of 2023 at 73rd Commencement in the back of Bellarmine Hall.

Harlem Children's Zone President Geoffrey Canada and international humanitarian organization founder Marcela Orvañanos de Rovzar delivered the Commencement addresses.

Fairfield University celebrated 1,171 undergraduates, 519 graduate students, 49 doctorate recipients and 20 sixth-year certificate recipients, at its 73rd Commencement ceremonies. The graduate ceremony took place on Saturday, May 20, at the Leo D. Mahoney Arena, and the undergraduate ceremony took place on Bellarmine Lawn on Sunday, May 21.

Graduate Commencement

The graduate ceremony speaker and honorary Doctor of Laws degree recipient was Geoffrey Canada, president of the Harlem’s Children Zone, a world-renowned education and poverty-fighting organization in New York City. Canada is also the founder of the William Julius Wilson Institute. An innovator in the field of education who has made it his mission to help young people from under-resourced communities succeed through education, he has been hailed as one of the world’s most influential people by Time magazine, and one of the 50 greatest leaders by Fortune.

Canada shared how his experience growing up in the South Bronx sparked his promise to God to use his education “to rescue the children trapped in our urban ghettos.” His role models taught him that courageous acts could change the world, and that “the best of America is yet to come.” Referencing Dr. Martin Luther King’s Mountaintop speech, Canada said, “Dr. King confirmed what I believe today—the work of making this a better country is often started by someone, but left to others to complete.” He urged the Class of 2023 to pick up the mantle.

Graduate students were honored with degrees from the Marion Peckham Egan School of Nursing & Health Studies, the College of Arts and Sciences, the Charles F. Dolan School of Business, the School of Engineering, and the School of Education and Human Development.

A Doctor of Laws honorary degrees was bestowed upon Charles MacCormack, PhD, currently the senior fellow for the NGO Futures at InterAction, an association of more than 200 U.S. humanitarian and development organizations.

Undergraduate Commencement

The undergraduate ceremony, Sunday, May 21, on Fairfield’s picturesque Bellarmine Lawn, began with an invocation by the Most Reverend Frank J. Caggiano, Bishop of the Diocese of Bridgeport. The student Commencement speaker, Renée Danielle Levesque ’23, followed. Quoting Saint Ignatius of Loyola, who said that “Love is shown more in deeds than in words,” she reminded her classmates, “What matters is that you choose to do everything from a place of love.”

Undergraduate ceremony speaker and recipient of an honorary Doctor of Laws degree Marcela Orvañanos de Rovzar is the founder of several social and humanitarian organizations in Mexico and the U.S., including New York City-based Qualitas of Life Foundation, dedicated to teaching financial literacy to Hispanic families. Orvañanos de Rovzar also established Fondo de Estrategia Social, A.C. (FES) in Mexico City, whose mission is to invest private resources in causes promoting social investment, and the consulting firm Fondea Asesorías, S.C.

She asked the graduates to take a measure of the opportunities they have been given and decide today that they “will not forget or ignore or disdain those who do not have the opportunities to build and share with their loved ones a dignified, secure and hope-filled life.” Recalling her own life, and how she never dreamt that one day the humanitarian organizations she founded would touch the lives of 200,000-plus people in Latin America, the U.S., and the Philippines, Orvañanos de Rovzar inspired the Class of 2023 “to dream beyond what seems reasonable or even possible.”

Undergraduates received bachelor’s degrees from the College of Arts and Sciences, Egan School of Nursing and Health Studies, Dolan School of Business, and the School of Engineering.

A Doctor of Laws honorary degree was bestowed upon Catholic Medical Mission Board (CMMB) President & CEO Mary Beth Powers at the undergraduate ceremony. Powers has dedicated her career to addressing the inequities in health and well-being around the world, serving with international organizations, including Save the Children.

Fairfield University President Mark R. Nemec, PhD, offered heartfelt congratulations to the graduates of the Class of 2023, and in closing remarks said, “Our work here...is to educate individuals to go set the world on fire. For we as a Jesuit Catholic institution are committed to universal truth and justice. We as a Jesuit Catholic university most humbly acknowledge that no one individual or collective owns this truth, or knows the path, and thus we commit above all else through faith to the fullness of truth.”

For more information about Fairfield University and the 73rd Commencement ceremonies, visit: Fairfield.edu/commencement.

View 2023 Commencement Weekend Photos

View 2023 Commencement Weekend Photos

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