SJU Announces 2015 Commencement Speakers

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and nonprofit leader Frances Visco to be honored

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

PHILADELPHIA (March 4, 2015) — Saint Joseph’s University will grant honorary degrees to The Honorable Michael A. Nutter, Mayor of Philadelphia, and Frances M. Visco, Esq. ’80 (B.A.), president of the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC) at the 2015 Commencement ceremonies, which are set for Saturday, May 16. Both honorees will receive Doctor of Public Service degrees (honoris causa).

The graduate, doctoral and degree completion ceremony begins at 9 a.m., the undergraduate ceremony starts at 3 p.m. Both events will be held on the University’s James J. Maguire ’58 Campus.

 “I look forward to welcoming these two extraordinary public servants to Saint Joseph’s University,” says SJU President C. Kevin Gillespie, S.J. ’72. “Their long careers of service and leadership are an inspiration to our students as they prepare for the next phase of their lives.”

Michael A. Nutter, who will speak at the undergraduate ceremony, is serving his second term as Mayor of his hometown. Born in Philadelphia and educated at Saint Joseph’s Preparatory School and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, Mayor Nutter has been committed to public service since his youth. He earned a reputation as a reformer during his almost 15 years on the Philadelphia City Council, leading up to his election as Mayor in 2007. As Mayor, he has worked to enhance public safety, expand educational opportunities for Philadelphia’s youth, and improve the city’s environmental and sustainability efforts.

Frances M. Visco, Esq. ’80 (B.A.), is the NBCC’s first president and a member of its board of directors. Formed in May 1991, the grassroots advocacy organization has more than 600 member organizations and 70,000 individual members. In 1993, President Clinton appointed Visco to the President's Cancer Panel; she was selected for a second term in 1996. A breast cancer survivor, Visco lectures internationally on the politics of breast cancer and women’s health advocacy issues and has testified before various congressional committees and panels. She has received numerous honors, including the American Cancer Society Distinguished Service Award and was twice named one of the 40 most influential people in the pharmaceutical industry by World Pharmaceutical Frontiers Magazine. 

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Founded in 1851 in the Jesuit tradition of academic excellence, Saint Joseph’s University is a top-ranked Catholic University that provides a rigorous, student-centered education. With a total enrollment of 8,500 undergraduate and graduate students, SJU offers a wide array of academic programs designed so that each graduate enters the world with a competitive resume and global perspective. This is achieved through intense academic study led by thought-leading faculty scholars, a comprehensive campus experience and robust study abroad, service-learning, internship and co-op programs. Upon graduation, nearly 100 percent of students are employed, pursuing advanced degrees or volunteering in prestigious service programs. A member of the Atlantic 10 Conference, SJU offers 20 Division I intercollegiate men’s and women’s sports. SJU alumni — over 68,000 strong — provide a powerful network that spans the globe.

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