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Campus & Community

Drexel University’s 2017 Commencement Speakers and Honorary Degree Recipients

May 8, 2017

Drexel University President John Fry speaking at the 2016 Universitywide commencement ceremony.
Drexel University President John Fry speaking at the 2016 Universitywide commencement ceremony.

With this year’s commencement featuring 13 college- or school-level ceremonies taking place before a Universitywide ceremony at Citizens Bank Park, there will be a lot of speakers — and a lot of words of wisdom passed on to new graduates — this year for Drexel University’s various commencement ceremonies.

The University has already announced a few of the speakers that will address this year’s batch of graduates. For example, computational design guru John Maeda will address the class of 2017 at the main commencement ceremony on June 13, and will also receive an honorary degree. The speakers for the two Drexel ceremonies taking place almost a month before the Universitywide ceremony have also been announced: Philadelphia City Solicitor Sozi Pedro Tulante will speak at the May 18 Thomas R. Kline School of Law ceremony and American Board of Medical Specialties President and CEO Lois Margaret Nora will speak at the May 19 College of Medicine ceremony, receiving an honorary degree.

This new batch of commencement speakers and honorary degree recipients include a Jedi Master of visual effects filmmaking who's been involved with almost all of the Star Wars movies, the CEO of Saxbys and a number of Drexel alumni returning to their alma mater to speak to their fellow Drexel Dragons.

Here are the speakers and honorary degree recipients that you can see — and listen to — at the upcoming Drexel ceremonies.

Thomas R. Kline School of Law: May 18, Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts

  • Philadelphia City Solicitor Sozi Pedro Tulante will give the commencement address to graduates from the Kline School of Law at the Kimmel Center on May 18.

College of Medicine: May 19, Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts 

  • American Board of Medical Specialties President and CEO Lois Margaret Nora, MD, JD, MBA, will deliver the College of Medicine commencement. In recognition of her commitment to the highest standards of patient-centered medical care, inclusivity and service, Drexel’s College of Medicine is proud to confer upon her the degree of Doctor of Science, honoris causa.

College of Computing & Informatics: June 12, Daskalakis Athletic Center

  • Walter Straub '65, '70, a Drexel alum and former trustee and co-founder and CEO of computer and information security company Rainbow Technologies.

Pennoni Honors College (custom-designed majors): June 12, Anthony J. Drexel Picture Gallery, Main Building

School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems: June 12, Main Auditorium, Main Building

  • Nicholas Pashos '11, founder and CEO of the BioAesthetics startup and NSF IGERT Fellow at Tulane University.

College of Arts and Sciences: June 12, The Mann Center

  • Hannibal Lokumbe, jazz trumpeter and Philadelphia Orchestra Composer In Residence.

Dornsife School of Public Health: June 12, Daskalakis Athletic Center

  • Imam Khalid Latif, executive director and chaplain (Imam) for the Islamic Center at NYU.

Close School of Entrepreneurship: June 12, Anthony J. Drexel Picture Gallery, Main Building

College of Nursing and Health Professions: June 12, The Mann Center

  • David Baiada, incoming Chief Executive Officer, BAYADA Home Health Care.

School of Education: June 12, Daskalakis Athletic Center

Goodwin College of Professional Studies: June 12, Mandell Theater

  • Frank Domizio '14, cyber intelligence analyst for the Department of Defense and former Philadelphia police officer.

LeBow College of Business: June 13, The Mann Center

  • Mary Caraccioli '08, chief of public relations and media strategy at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.

Westphal College of Media Arts & Design: June 13, Daskalakis Athletic Center

  • John Knoll, CCO of Industrial Light & Magic and visual effects supervisor on the Star Wars prequels and 1997 special editions of the original trilogy and writer and executive producer of “Rogue One.”

Center for Hospitality & Sport Management: June 13, Main Auditorium, Main Building

  • Richard Krezwick '81, senior vice president of facilities at Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) Europe

College of Engineering: The Mann Center

  • Stanley Silverman '69, '74, vice chairman of the board of trustees at Drexel University, former CEO of PQ Corp. and columnist for the Philadelphia Business Journal.

Universitywide Commencement Ceremony

  • John Maeda, the global head of Computational Design and Inclusion at Automattic, the parent company of Jetpack, WooCommerce, Longreads, WordPress.com and more, will address Drexel’s 2017 graduates. In honor of Maeda’s innovative thinking and his ability to recognize art and design as crucial forces shaping the modern world, Drexel will confer upon him the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.
  • Angela Duckworth, PhD, Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, will receive an honorary degree at the ceremony. For her gritty research and perseverance in understanding the benefits of grit, Drexel is proud to present Angela Lee Duckworth with the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.
  • Stephen A. Sheller, a personal injury, class action and whistleblower/qui tam attorney who has served on the board of trustees of Drexel University since 2003 and on Drexel’s Thomas R. Kline School of Law advisory board, will receive an honorary degree at the ceremony. For his commitment to championing the disenfranchised, Drexel is proud to present Stephen A. Sheller with the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.
  • John Knoll, who is previously speaking at the Westphal College of Media Arts & Design ceremony, will also receive an honorary degree at the Universitywide ceremony. For his commitment to making movies that continually push the bounds of visual effects, Drexel is proud to present John Knoll with the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.