Fairfield University to Celebrate 73rd Commencement, May 20 & 21

Fairfield University to Celebrate 73rd Commencement, May 20 & 21

Graduating class sitting in seats during Commencement at Bellarmine Hall lawn.

Fairfield University’s 73rd Commencement ceremonies will take place on Saturday, May 20 for graduate students, and Sunday, May 21 for undergraduate students.

Fairfield University has announced that its 73rd Commencement ceremonies will take place on Saturday, May 20 and Sunday, May 21, 2023, at 9:30 a.m. on Bellarmine Lawn. The total numbers of expected degrees to be awarded are 1,171 bachelor’s, 519 master’s, 20 sixth-year certificates, and 49 doctorates.

This year’s undergraduate ceremony speaker and recipient of an honorary Doctor of Laws degree will be Marcela Orvañanos de Rovzar, 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., which supports the development of social impact projects in the public and private sectors. Orvañanos de Rovzar’s organization Procura, A.C., a training institute for fundraising and institutional development based in Mexico, has trained over 30,000 individuals in Latin America, the Philippines, and the U.S. Orvañanos de Rovzar was the chairperson for UNICEF’s Consulting Board in Mexico, and sits on the board of the Friedman School of Nutrition at Tufts University where she earned a Global Master of Arts Program (GMAP) degree from Tufts' Fletcher School. Orvañanos de Rovzar is Jesuit-educated, having attended Ibero-American University in Mexico.

The graduate ceremony speaker will be Geoffrey Canada, president of the Harlem’s Children Zone — a world-renowned education and poverty-fighting organization in New York City, and founder of the William Julius Wilson Institute. Canada is an innovator in the field of education and has made it his mission to help young people from under-resourced communities succeed through education. He will be receiving an honorary Doctor of Laws degree. As president of the Harlem Children’s Zone, Canada launched a comprehensive cradle-to-career network of programs that has become a national model of place-based innovation for organizations across the county and the world. In 2010, President Barack Obama created the Promise Neighborhoods Initiative to replace the HCZ model in under-resourced communities throughout the U.S. In 2011, Canada was named one of the world’s most influential people by Time, and one of the 50 greatest leaders by Fortune in 2014. Canada is the author of two critically acclaimed books: Fist Stick Knife Gun, about his experience growing up in the South Bronx; and Reaching Up for Manhood, where he recounts his his turbulent boyhood and his years of work with inner-city youth.

Doctor of Laws honorary degrees will also be bestowed upon Mary Beth Powers at the undergraduate ceremony, and Charles MacCormack, PhD, at the graduate ceremony.

Catholic Medical Mission Board (CMMB) President & CEO Mary Beth Powers has dedicated her career to addressing the inequities in health and well-being around the world. For over 30 years she has served with international organizations to develop stronger health outreach programs, strengthen clinical services, and create opportunities that build better health and resilience in mothers, children, and adolescents. At CMMB, Powers leads a team of professionals who deliver an annual average of $400 million worth of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies to hospitals, clinics and ministries of health globally. A graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, Powers' call to serve led her to Pakistan for a year as an intern for Catholic Relief Services after her time at Georgetown. Powers also studied economics at the University of West Indies on a Rotary Fellowship and pursued a master’s degree in public health at the University of Michigan. Much of her career was spent at Save the Children where she played a key role in the development of the $160 million Saving Newborn Lives initiative funded by the Gates Foundation.

Charles MacCormack, PhD is currently the senior fellow for the NGO Futures at InterAction, the national association of more than 200 U.S. humanitarian and development organizations. He also serves as the vice chair of the Millennium Development Goal Health Alliance. Throughout 2016, Dr. MacCormack served as an Advanced Leadership Fellow at Harvard University. He also served as executive-in-residence at Middlebury College from 2012 to 2016 and works with a number of international think tanks. Previously, Dr. MacCormack helped to lead Save the Children as CEO from 1993 to 2011. He served as the chair of the InterAction board of directors from 2006 to 2009, is a founding board member of Malaria No More, and currently serves on the board of World Learning. Earlier in his career, as CEO of World Learning, Dr. MacCormack was chair of the International Exchange Association. He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. In addition to serving in many consultative and official roles such as sitting on the Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid and the Food Security Advisory Committee of the U.S. Government, Dr. MacCormack was president of the Non-Governmental Committee on UNICEF. He received a doctorate in political science/comparative politics, and a master’s degree in international affairs from Columbia University, and earned his undergraduate degree from Middlebury College.

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

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