Meet Drexel’s 2023 Commencement Speakers and Honorary Degree Recipients  

Commencement at Citizens Bank Park in 2022.
Commencement in 2022. 

Commencement is just around the corner at Drexel University, and it’s a time of celebration and excitement for graduates and their loved ones at both the University-wide ceremony and each college and school’s ceremony. Although the College of Medicine and the Thomas R. Kline School of Law have already sent their graduates across the stage, there are 12 more colleges and schools whose ceremonies are also coming up.  

Those upcoming ceremonies will feature Commencement speakers who will address graduates at the individual college and school ceremonies from June 14–16. Additionally, four honorary degree recipients will be honored at the University-wide ceremony on June 16.  

Seven of the speakers are Drexel graduates and several have taught courses, supported the University, endowed faculty positions and served on advisory boards. No matter their relationship to Drexel, they will offer words of inspiration and wisdom to the class of 2023 as those new Forever Dragons prepare to head out into the world beyond campus.  

University-wide Ceremony: 5 p.m. on June 16 at Citizens Bank Park. 

  • University-wide Commencement speaker: Yannick Nézet-Séguin, the internationally acclaimed music and artistic director of The Philadelphia Orchestra, where he holds the Walter and Leonore Annenberg Chair. Nézet-Séguin will also receive an honorary degree from Drexel. 

School of Education: 5 p.m. on June 14 at the Academy of Music 

  • Keynote speaker: Warren Hilton, EdD ’13, an academic leader and student success advocate who is the current president of Onondaga Community College in Syracuse, New York.  

College of Computing & Informatics: 5 p.m. on June 14 at The Mann Center 

  • Keynote speaker: Rick Rioboli, the award-winning executive vice president and chief technology officer of Comcast Cable who has been instrumental in transforming telecommunications technology.  

Bennett S. LeBow College of Business: 8:30 a.m. on June 15 at The Mann Center 

  • Keynote speaker: K. Blair Christie, ’94, ’99, an influential marketing leader and adviser who is the founder and CEO of Denim USA and advocates for women in business.  

Pennoni Honors College: Custom-Designed Majors: 9 a.m. on June 15 at the Mandell Theater in the Creese Student Center 

  • Keynote speaker: Maura Jarvis ‘16, an award-winning water communications specialist and environmental justice advocate who works at the Philadelphia Water Department as part of the public engagement team and as the superhero Water Woman.  

School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems: 9 a.m. on June 15 at The Academy of Music 

  • Keynote speaker: Paul Citron, ’69, HD ‘13, a prolific medical device innovator who has advanced the safety, utility and effectiveness of implanted devices, improving care for millions of patients. 

College of Engineering: 1 p.m. on June 15 at The Mann Center 

  • Keynote speaker: Margaret C. “Peggy” Burns, BS ’79, a role model for women in engineering who has focused her career on transportation solutions and advancing new technology. She established the Peggy Burns Fund for Engineering to support students who need seed money for projects.  

Dana and David Dornsife School of Public Health: 1 p.m. on June 15 at the Academy of Music  

  • Keynote speaker: Valerie A. Arkoosh, MD, a physician and champion of human services who advocates for health care reform and was appointed by Gov. Josh Shapiro to lead the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services in 2023. 

Charles D. Close School of Entrepreneurship: 1 p.m. June 15 at the Mandell Theater in the Creese Student Center 

  • Keynote speaker: Stanley W. Silverman ’69, ’74, an accomplished CEO, change agent, thought leader, philanthropist and University trustee who began his career in chemical engineering at PQ Corporation and rose through the ranks.  

College of Arts and Sciences: 5 p.m. on June 15 at The Mann Center 

  • Keynote speaker: Elizabeth Lombardo, PhD ’02, also known as America’s most trusted celebrity psychologist, has spent her career helping clients improve their coping skills through research-supported techniques she explains in best-selling books. 

Goodwin College of Professional Studies: 5 p.m. on June 15 at the Mandell Theater in the Creese Student Center 

  • Keynote speaker: Nona Lee, JD, an advocate for diversity and sports who is the founder and CEO of Truth DEI Consulting, which helps organizations grow their diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.  

College of Nursing and Health Professions: 8:30 a.m. on June 16 at The Mann Center 

  • Keynote speaker: Rev. Lorina Marshall-Blake, who promotes health in Philadelphia and beyond by leading sustainable solutions as the president of the Independence Blue Cross Foundation and by managing relationship with community partners as vice president of community affairs at Independence Blue Cross. 

Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design: 12:30 p.m. on June 16 at The Mann Center 

  • Keynote speaker: Maria Rosario Jackson, PhD, the 13th chair of the National Endowment for the Arts who works to elevate communities through art and culture by blending social science and arts and humanities-based approaches. 

Additional honorary degree recipients:  

  • Theaster Gates, a globally renowned multidisciplinary artist and educator at the crossroads of history, religion, architecture and land use who created the “Monument in Waiting” sculpture currently installed on Drexel’s campus.  
  • John Glick, MD, a pioneering cancer researcher, clinician, medical educator and institutional leader who has made vast contributions to improving cancer patients’ quality of life.  
  • Charles P. Pizzi, a champion of commerce, community and Philadelphia who has shaped the commercial climate in and around Philadelphia in many roles, including as president, CEO and director of Tasty Baking Company, which produces Tastykakes.
  • Marla J. Gold, MD, Drexel’s senior vice provost for community health and chief wellness officer who has shaped local responses to HIV/AIDS and COVID-19, guided thousands of students and improved health care for countless patients in government, academia and philanthropy.