University News

Announcing the 2023 Commencement Speakers

Saint Joseph’s Commencement ceremonies will feature addresses from distinguished alumni and friends of the University.

Red and white confetti in the sky above a group of graduates in caps and gowns

Saint Joseph’s University’s 2023 Commencement ceremonies will feature addresses from distinguished alumni and friends of the University, each of whom will receive an honorary degree. On May 18, Andrew C. von Eschenbach, MD ’63, president of Samaritan Health Initiatives, will speak at the doctoral ceremony in Hagan Arena. On the morning of May 20, Marlene Sánchez Dooner ’83, former executive vice president of Comcast NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises, will address undergraduates on Sweeney Field, and in the afternoon, Bryan Carter, president and CEO of the Gesu School, will speak at the graduate ceremony.

Headshot of Andrew C. von Eschenbach against a gray backgroundAndrew C. von Eschenbach, MD, ’63 has been the president of Samaritan Health Initiatives since 2010. In 2005, he was appointed the acting commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration before being named commissioner from 2006 to 2009. During his tenure, he developed programs to strengthen the FDA’s mission to protect and promote public health, and emphasized the administration’s role in working with external partners to assure quality of the products it regulates.

Prior to joining the FDA, von Eschenbach was president-elect of the American Cancer Society and director of the National Cancer Institute, where he committed resources to ensure the application of nanotechnology, genomics, proteomics, bioinformatics and other emerging technologies to oncology. A renowned surgeon, oncologist and urologist, von Eschenbach served in various roles at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center for 26 years, including chairman of the Department of Urology, executive vice president and chief academic officer.

He has authored more than 200 scientific articles and studies, was a founding member of the National Dialogue on Cancer, and was named one of Time magazine’s “100 People Who Shape Our World” in 2006. A Philadelphia native, von Eschenbach earned his bachelor’s degree from Saint Joseph’s University in 1963 and his medical degree from Georgetown University School of Medicine in 1967. He served in the U.S. Navy Medical Corps from 1968 to 1971.

Headshot of Marlene Sanchez Dooner against a white backgroundMarlene Sánchez Dooner ’83 was most recently executive vice president of Comcast NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises, where she was responsible for operations, finance and strategic initiatives for NBCUniversal’s Hispanic franchises. For nearly two decades prior, she served as senior vice president for Comcast Corporation, where she oversaw all aspects of Comcast’s relationships with the institutional investment community and retail shareholders, as the corporation grew to a Fortune 50 global media and technology company. Prior to joining Comcast, she was vice president of PNC Bank, where she managed a corporate lending portfolio and developed comprehensive banking relationships with Fortune 500 clients across a variety of industries.

Sánchez Dooner received her bachelor’s degree from Saint Joseph’s University in 1983 and her master’s in finance from Drexel University in 1990. A former member of the University’s Board of Trustees and the Erivan K. Haub School of Business Board of Visitors, she was the first recipient of the Alumni Professional Achievement Award in 2016. Currently, Sánchez Dooner is a trustee for the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and a member of the Barnes Foundation’s Ambassador’s Board, Americares’ Leadership Council and the Maguire Museum Advisory Council.

Headshot of Bryan Carter against a blue backgroundFor 12 years, Bryan Carter has served as president and CEO of Gesu School, a nationally renowned independent Catholic, Jesuit school serving North Philadelphia’s children. As someone who credits his Catholic and Jesuit education with helping him face the challenges of growing up in a single-parent household with five brothers, he knows firsthand the impact a quality education can have on a child.

Prior to joining Gesu School, Carter served as resource and community development director for the national adoption agency The Cradle, increasing donors and dollars raised by 67% and 86% respectively, and encouraging African-American individuals to become adoptive parents. He believes the work was a way to give back to the community and apply the business skills he developed as a pharmaceutical executive with Johnson & Johnson, Abbott Laboratories and Pfizer.

Carter earned his bachelor’s degree from Case Western Reserve University in 1982. In 2015, he was selected to serve as one of 70 associates at the World Meeting of Families by Catholic Voices USA, and in 2017, he was inducted into Saint Joseph’s chapter of Alpha Sigma Nu, the Jesuit Honor Society. Last year, Carter was recognized by his alma mater, Saint Ignatius High School, and its DEI office with the Trailblazer Award for his contributions to Jesuit education. He currently serves on the Diversity Committee at Waldron Mercy Academy, the Equity and Justice Committee at Merion Mercy Academy, the Board of Trustees Malvern Prep, the Board of Regents at Saint Ignatius High School, and the Board of Directors for the SpeakUp! organization. 

To learn more about this year’s ceremonies, visit the Commencement website.