Fairfield University 2019 Commencement — Sunday, May 19, 2019

Fairfield University 2019 Commencement — Sunday, May 19, 2019

Fairfield University will celebrate its 69th Commencement on Sunday, May 19, 2019. Undergraduate and graduate ceremonies will be held on Bellarmine Lawn of the University campus. 

Media Contact: Teddy DeRosa, tderosa@gmail.com, 203-254-4000 x2118

Fairfield University has announced that its 69thCommencement ceremonies will take place on Sunday, May 19, 2019.

This year's speaker at the undergraduate ceremony will be Chris Lowney, celebrated author, co-founder of Jesuit Commons and vice-chair of the board of CommonSpirit Health, among several other philanthropic endeavors. The graduate ceremony speaker will be Billy Shore, founder of Share Our Strength and the “No Kid Hungry” campaign, and former Congressional appointee to the National Commission on Hunger.

The 2019 undergraduate Commencement is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. on Bellarmine Lawn, to be followed by the graduate ceremony at 3 p.m. The total numbers of expected degrees to be awarded are: 952 Bachelor's, 340 Master's, 25 Sixth-Year Certificates, and 33 Doctorates. Honorary degrees will also be bestowed on both speakers and three other recipients: William Atwell, P’08, managing director of Atwell Partners, LLC and former chair of the Fairfield Board of Trustees;Marna Borgstrom, president and CEO of Yale New Haven Health Systems;andHector M. Sanchez, principal of Cesar Batalla School in Bridgeport, Conn.

Commencement Speakers & Honorary Degrees

Undergraduate Commencement Speaker — Chris Lowney, Doctor of Laws

Chris Lowney is the co-founder of Jesuit Commons, which pioneered an online university program for refugees. He is also one of the co-founders of the Contemplative Leaders in Action program, which works with young adults to encourage the formation of emerging leaders. Additionally, Lowney founded Pilgrimage for Our Children’s Future, to support education and healthcare projects in developing countries. He currently serves as co-chair of the board of Catholic Health Initiatives. Lowney’s 18-year career with the finance firm J.P. Morgan took him to all corners of the world and helped inspire him to write several best-selling books, including Heroic Leadershipwhich has been translated into 11 languages.  Other works include Pope Francis: Why He Leads the Way He Leads, the first book to explore the Pope's leadership approach; and Make Today Matter: 10 Habits for a Better Life (and World).Lowney graduated summa cum laude from Fordham University, where he also earned his master’s degree in philosophy. He will receive his honorary Doctor of Laws degree during Fairfield University’s undergraduate Commencement ceremony. 

Graduate Commencement Speaker — Billy Shore, Doctor of Laws

Billy Shore along with his sister, Debbie, founded Share Our Strength, which is committed to ending childhood hunger in the United States. The organization’s “No Kid Hungry” campaign has provided more than one billion meals to children since it began in 2010. Additionally, Shore hosts a weekly podcast, “Add Passion and Stir,” which brings together well-known chefs and change-makers to talk about the central role food plays in social justice. From 2014 to 2015, he served as a Congressional appointee to the National Commission on Hunger. Shore was named one of “America’s Best Leaders” by U.S. News and World Report,he is a winner of the prestigious Jefferson Award for Greater Public Service, and he has authored four books on social change. Shore graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and earned his law degree at George Washington University. Shore will receive his honorary Doctor of Laws degree during Fairfield’s graduate Commencement ceremony.

Additional Honorary Degree Recipients

William Atwell, P’08 — Doctor of Laws

As a member and chair of Fairfield’s Board of Trustees, William Atwell, P’08 served the Fairfield University community for more than 12 years. He is currently managing director of Atwell Partners, LLC, a financial consulting firm, following his retirement as president of Cigna International. Prior to that, he spent six years as president and executive vice president at The Charles Schwab Corporation. Atwell spent 23 years of his early career at Citibank and currently serves on many boards, including the Eisenhower Fellowship Foundation.He graduated with a business degree from C.W. Post College and went on to earn an MBA from Long Island University. Atwell will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree during Fairfield University’s undergraduate Commencement ceremony.

Marna Borgstrom — Doctor of Laws

Since 2005, Connecticut local Marna Borgstrom has been president and CEO of Yale New Haven Health System and Yale New Haven Hospital, which has revenues of $4.3 billion and employs 25,000 people. She serves on the Connecticut Hospital Association Board of Trustees and the Greater New Haven Regional Leadership Council. Additionally, Borgstrom was the previous chair of the Connecticut Hospital Association Board of Trustees, and served on the boards of the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, the United Way of Greater New Haven, and the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce. In 2017, Modern Healthcarenamed Borgstrom among the “Top 100 Most Influential People inHealthcare.” Her long list of other honors include the Anti-Defamation League’s Torch of Liberty Award and the Connecticut Women in Leadership Award. Ms. Borgstrom earned her master’s degree in public health from Yale University’s School of Medicine. She will receive her Doctor of Laws degree during Fairfield University’s undergraduate Commencement ceremony.

Hector M. Sanchez – Doctor of Laws

Hector M. Sanchez is the principal of Cesar Batalla School in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Since his appointment in 2007, he has made it a priority to forge a relationship with both Fairfield’s Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions and the Center for Faith and Public Life. Out of this partnership has grown the STEP (Student Teacher Empowerment Partnership) program, which focuses on improving literacy among Bridgeport school children, while providing learning opportunities for aspiring teachers in the University’s graduate teaching program. The STEP program has since expanded to include professional development for teachers, academic support for students in kindergarten through eighth grade, and community service and service-learning opportunities for more than 100 Fairfield University students annually. These accomplishments earned the partnership an award of excellence from the New England Board of Higher Education in 2013. Sanchez earned his master’s degree from City University of New York and his sixth-year diploma in educational leadership from Southern Connecticut State University. He will receive a Doctor of Laws during Fairfield University’s Graduate Commencement ceremony.

Posted On: March 18, 2019

Volume: 51 Number: 70

Fairfield University is the modern Jesuit Catholic university rooted in one of the world’s oldest intellectual and spiritual traditions. More than 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students from the U.S. and across the globe are pursuing degrees in the University’s five schools. Fairfield embraces a liberal humanistic approach to education, encouraging critical thinking, cultivating free and open inquiry, and fostering ethical and religious values. The University is located on a stunning 200-acre campus on the scenic Connecticut coast just an hour from New York City.