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. 

Media Contact

Office of University Communications, 610-660-1222,


As Philadelphia's Jesuit, Catholic University, founded by the Society of Jesus in 1851, Saint Joseph's University provides a rigorous, student-centered education rooted in the liberal arts. SJU ranks as a top university in the Northeast, with a Phi Beta Kappa chapter in the College of Arts and Sciences and AACSB accreditation of the  Erivan K. Haub School of Business. The University is also deeply committed to the Jesuit tradition of scholarship and service, earning a place on the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll and the community engagement classification from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. With courses offered on campus and online, SJU prepares its more than 9,000 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students to lead lives of personal excellence, professional success and engaged citizenship.


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