Quinnipiac University
Two grads embrace as they hold a program for the Commencement ceremony

2021 Commencement

Ceremony Programs and Keynote Speakers

Learn more about this year's keynote speakers, order of exercises, and download a digital version of the program for each ceremony in the sections below.

Ceremony Programs

Undergraduate School of Health Sciences Program

Saturday, May 8, at 9 a.m.

Download the Program (PDF)

Order of Exercises

Call to Commencement
Debra J. Liebowitz
Provost

National Anthem
Caroline J. Ringle, DPT ‘20

Greetings
Judy D. Olian
President

Introduction of Commencement Speaker
Stephen J. Straub
Professor of Athletic Training and Sports Medicine

Commencement Address
Sonja LaBarbera
President and Chief Executive Officer, Gaylord Specialty Healthcare

Presentation of Candidates for Degrees and Awards

Janelle Chiasera
Dean of the School of Health Sciences

Conferral of Degrees
Judy D. Olian

Response of the Class of 2021
Haley Nicole Wong

Recessional

 

Sonja LaBarbera
Sonja LaBarbera

President and CEO
Gaylord Specialty Healthcare

Sonja LaBarbera, MS `13, is a speech pathologist and health care administrator with 25 years of experience in clinical operations, strategic planning, business development, leadership development and philanthropy. She is the chief executive officer and president of Gaylord Specialty Healthcare, a rehabilitation-focused, nonprofit health system that provides inpatient and outpatient care in Wallingford, Connecticut. LaBarbera earned her MS in Speech-Language Pathology from State University of New York at Fredonia and her MS in Organizational Leadership from Quinnipiac University. She began her career at Gaylord in 2005 as its director of inpatient therapy and rose through the ranks to become chief operating officer in 2018. In 2019, LaBarbera became the first woman in Gaylord Specialty Healthcare’s history to serve as president and CEO. As president, she led Gaylord through the COVID-19 pandemic while overseeing several major expansion initiatives in 2020. These included the launch of the Milne Institute for Healthcare Innovation, a research center that collaborates with frontline clinicians and patients to develop multidisciplinary and innovative programs that enhance patient recovery. In 2020, LaBarbera was named to the Hartford Business Journal 2020 list of Power 25 in Healthcare. She is also the recipient of the 2020 New Haven Biz Women Who Mean Business award and was named the 2019 Quinnipiac Chamber Woman of the Year.

Mace and Medallion

The mace — a symbol of authority — has antecedents in both Roman and Medieval history. The Roman mace (fasces) was carried by a lictor before the chief magistrate of the city, as well as before the legions. During the Middle Ages, the mace (mateola), a weapon of war, became first a symbol of victory and then a symbol of authority. The mace emblazoned with the Great Seal of England became a symbol of authority in Parliament by the end of the 13th century. It is this form of the mace that was the prototype of those symbols of authority, not only of legislative bodies, but also of cities and universities.

In 1246, following some 20 years of strife, the University of Paris was finally conceded the right to its own common seal. Since then, the use of the seal engraved on the mace has come to symbolize the authority of the academic community. In July 2000, Quinnipiac commissioned the noted sculptor Robert Meyer of Westport, Connecticut, to design and execute a new mace for Quinnipiac University. Cast in bronze, the mace incorporates elements of the university seal.

The medallion (medal of office), like the mace and the seal, is also a symbol of authority. It is possible that its roots may be traced back to the Roman “bulla” (a gold amulet of honor). The obverse of the medallion shows the seal of the office the wearer holds — in our case, the seal of the university. Not infrequently, the reverse would show the personal seal or coat of arms of the bearer. Since the High Middle Ages, the medallion has been worn by such officials as the chancellors of England, mayors of cities, and rectors of universities, and came to signify the high personal position such figures occupied in their respective governments. During the Renaissance, medallion design reached unique artistic heights, and in certain portraits the medallion was given particular prominence. The medallion is worn by the university’s president. The Quinnipiac medal showcases the university seal, sculpted in relief and cast in bronze.

About Quinnipiac University

Quinnipiac is a private, coeducational, nonsectarian institution located 90 minutes north of New York City and two hours from Boston. The university enrolls 9,715 students in 110 degree programs through its Schools of Business, Communications, Education, Engineering, Health Sciences, Law, Medicine, Nursing and the College of Arts and Sciences. Quinnipiac is recognized by U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review’s “The Best 386 Colleges.” For more information, please visit qu.edu. Connect with Quinnipiac on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Learn more:

Leadership

Strategic Plan

Graduate School of Health Sciences

Saturday, May 8, at 1 p.m.

Download the Program (PDF)

Order of Exercises

Call to Commencement
Debra J. Liebowitz
Provost

National Anthem
Julia Orlofski ‘21

Greetings
Judy D. Olian
President

Introduction of Commencement Speaker
Lisa M. Barratt
Clinical Associate Professor of Physician Assistant Studies

Commencement Address
Sonja LaBarbera
President and Chief Executive Officer, Gaylord Specialty Healthcare

Presentation of Candidates for Degrees and Awards
Janelle Chiasera
Dean of the School of Health Sciences

Hooders:

Maria Cusson, JD, Clinical Associate Professor of Physical Therapy
Karen Blood, DPT, Clinical Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy
Salvador L. Bondoc, OTD, Professor of Occupational Therapy
Barbara E. Nadeau, MA, Clinical Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy

Conferral of Degrees
Judy D. Olian

Response of the Class of 2021
Kristelle Jasmine Cayong Caslangen

Recessional

 

Sonja LaBarbera
Sonja LaBarbera

President and CEO
Gaylord Specialty Healthcare

Sonja LaBarbera, MS `13, is a speech pathologist and health care administrator with 25 years of experience in clinical operations, strategic planning, business development, leadership development and philanthropy. She is the chief executive officer and president of Gaylord Specialty Healthcare, a rehabilitation-focused, nonprofit health system that provides inpatient and outpatient care in Wallingford, Connecticut. LaBarbera earned her MS in Speech-Language Pathology from State University of New York at Fredonia and her MS in Organizational Leadership from Quinnipiac University. She began her career at Gaylord in 2005 as its director of inpatient therapy and rose through the ranks to become chief operating officer in 2018. In 2019, LaBarbera became the first woman in Gaylord Specialty Healthcare’s history to serve as president and CEO. As president, she led Gaylord through the COVID-19 pandemic while overseeing several major expansion initiatives in 2020. These included the launch of the Milne Institute for Healthcare Innovation, a research center that collaborates with frontline clinicians and patients to develop multidisciplinary and innovative programs that enhance patient recovery. In 2020, LaBarbera was named to the Hartford Business Journal 2020 list of Power 25 in Healthcare. She is also the recipient of the 2020 New Haven Biz Women Who Mean Business award and was named the 2019 Quinnipiac Chamber Woman of the Year.

Doctoral Hooding Ceremony

The 12th and 13th centuries saw the formation of universities under the jurisdiction of the Church. Most students of the day were clerks in the Holy Order, monks or priests. Cowls or hoods adorned their habits and protected the young scholars from harsh weather and the pervading dampness of the stone buildings in which they studied. Hoods also served to cover tonsured heads before the use of the skullcap.

Today, the cap, gown and hood have taken on a symbolic meaning. Color and shape conform to an academic code signifying a university’s conferral of the degree and the nature of the degree conferred. Gowns for the doctoral degree carry velvet panels and three horizontal velvet bars on the upper arm of the full, round, bell-shaped sleeves.

 

Mace and Medallion

The mace — a symbol of authority — has antecedents in both Roman and Medieval history. The Roman mace (fasces) was carried by a lictor before the chief magistrate of the city, as well as before the legions. During the Middle Ages, the mace (mateola), a weapon of war, became first a symbol of victory and then a symbol of authority. The mace emblazoned with the Great Seal of England became a symbol of authority in Parliament by the end of the 13th century. It is this form of the mace that was the prototype of those symbols of authority, not only of legislative bodies, but also of cities and universities.

In 1246, following some 20 years of strife, the University of Paris was finally conceded the right to its own common seal. Since then, the use of the seal engraved on the mace has come to symbolize the authority of the academic community. In July 2000, Quinnipiac commissioned the noted sculptor Robert Meyer of Westport, Connecticut, to design and execute a new mace for Quinnipiac University. Cast in bronze, the mace incorporates elements of the university seal.

The medallion (medal of office), like the mace and the seal, is also a symbol of authority. It is possible that its roots may be traced back to the Roman “bulla” (a gold amulet of honor). The obverse of the medallion shows the seal of the office the wearer holds — in our case, the seal of the university. Not infrequently, the reverse would show the personal seal or coat of arms of the bearer. Since the High Middle Ages, the medallion has been worn by such officials as the chancellors of England, mayors of cities, and rectors of universities, and came to signify the high personal position such figures occupied in their respective governments. During the Renaissance, medallion design reached unique artistic heights, and in certain portraits the medallion was given particular prominence. The medallion is worn by the university’s president. The Quinnipiac medal showcases the university seal, sculpted in relief and cast in bronze.

About Quinnipiac University

Quinnipiac is a private, coeducational, nonsectarian institution located 90 minutes north of New York City and two hours from Boston. The university enrolls 9,715 students in 110 degree programs through its Schools of Business, Communications, Education, Engineering, Health Sciences, Law, Medicine, Nursing and the College of Arts and Sciences. Quinnipiac is recognized by U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review’s “The Best 386 Colleges.” For more information, please visit qu.edu. Connect with Quinnipiac on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Learn more:

Leadership

Strategic Plan

Undergraduate and Graduate School of Nursing Program

Saturday, May 8, at 5 p.m.

Download the Program (PDF)

Order of Exercises

Call to Commencement
Debra J. Liebowitz
Provost

National Anthem
Christine Mueller, DNP ‘21

Greetings
Judy D. Olian
President

Introduction of Commencement Speaker
Lisa M. Rebeschi
Associate Dean of the School of Nursing

Commencement Address
Beth Beckman
Chief Nursing Executive, Yale New Haven Health System

Presentation of Candidates for Degrees and Awards
Lisa O’Connor
Dean of the School of Nursing

Hooders:

Susan D’Agostino, DNP, Clinical Associate Professor of Nursing
Sheila L. Molony, PhD, Professor of Nursing

Conferral of Degrees
Judy D. Olian

Response of the Class of 2021
Morgan Elizabeth Literate
Gregory Robert Foster

Recessional

Beth Beckman
Beth P. Beckman, DNS, RN, APRN, NEA-BC, FAAN

Chief Nursing Executive
Yale New Haven Health System

Beth P. Beckman is the inaugural chief nursing executive for the Yale New Haven Health System. Under her leadership, Yale New Haven is establishing a signature standard of nursing care focused on patient-centered clinical excellence. She has co-authored three books and numerous articles on leadership and nursing practice. Beckman was inducted into the American Academy of Nursing in 2020 and is a Robert Wood Johnson Executive Nurse Fellow. She has held partner leadership roles with Yale School of Nursing, Baylor Louise Herrington School of Nursing, and Texas Christian University. She currently serves as a member of the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth System Board of Trustees. Beckman earned a doctor of nursing science degree from Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, a master of science in nursing/family nurse practitioner from Arizona State University, and bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Arizona.

Doctoral Hooding Ceremony

The 12th and 13th centuries saw the formation of universities under the jurisdiction of the Church. Most students of the day were clerks in the Holy Order, monks or priests. Cowls or hoods adorned their habits and protected the young scholars from harsh weather and the pervading dampness of the stone buildings in which they studied. Hoods also served to cover tonsured heads before the use of the skullcap.

Today, the cap, gown and hood have taken on a symbolic meaning. Color and shape conform to an academic code signifying a university’s conferral of the degree and the nature of the degree conferred. Gowns for the doctoral degree carry velvet panels and three horizontal velvet bars on the upper arm of the full, round, bell-shaped sleeves.

 

Mace and Medallion

The mace — a symbol of authority — has antecedents in both Roman and Medieval history. The Roman mace (fasces) was carried by a lictor before the chief magistrate of the city, as well as before the legions. During the Middle Ages, the mace (mateola), a weapon of war, became first a symbol of victory and then a symbol of authority. The mace emblazoned with the Great Seal of England became a symbol of authority in Parliament by the end of the 13th century. It is this form of the mace that was the prototype of those symbols of authority, not only of legislative bodies, but also of cities and universities.

In 1246, following some 20 years of strife, the University of Paris was finally conceded the right to its own common seal. Since then, the use of the seal engraved on the mace has come to symbolize the authority of the academic community. In July 2000, Quinnipiac commissioned the noted sculptor Robert Meyer of Westport, Connecticut, to design and execute a new mace for Quinnipiac University. Cast in bronze, the mace incorporates elements of the university seal.

The medallion (medal of office), like the mace and the seal, is also a symbol of authority. It is possible that its roots may be traced back to the Roman “bulla” (a gold amulet of honor). The obverse of the medallion shows the seal of the office the wearer holds — in our case, the seal of the university. Not infrequently, the reverse would show the personal seal or coat of arms of the bearer. Since the High Middle Ages, the medallion has been worn by such officials as the chancellors of England, mayors of cities, and rectors of universities, and came to signify the high personal position such figures occupied in their respective governments. During the Renaissance, medallion design reached unique artistic heights, and in certain portraits the medallion was given particular prominence. The medallion is worn by the university’s president. The Quinnipiac medal showcases the university seal, sculpted in relief and cast in bronze.

About Quinnipiac University

Quinnipiac is a private, coeducational, nonsectarian institution located 90 minutes north of New York City and two hours from Boston. The university enrolls 9,715 students in 110 degree programs through its Schools of Business, Communications, Education, Engineering, Health Sciences, Law, Medicine, Nursing and the College of Arts and Sciences. Quinnipiac is recognized by U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review’s “The Best 386 Colleges.” For more information, please visit qu.edu. Connect with Quinnipiac on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Learn more:

Leadership

Strategic Plan

School of Education Program

Sunday, May 9, at 9 a.m.

Download the Program (PDF)

Order of Exercises

Call to Commencement
Debra J. Liebowitz
Provost

National Anthem

Greetings
Judy D. Olian
President

Video Greetings
Miguel Cardona
United States Secretary of Education

Introduction of Commencement Speaker
Mordechai Gordon
Professor of Education

Commencement Address
Joseph DiBacco, EdD
Superintendent, Ansonia Public Schools

Presentation of Candidates for Degrees and Awards

Anne M. Dichele
Dean of the School of Education

Conferral of Degrees
Judy D. Olian

Response of the Class of 2021
Da’Jhon Darren Jett

Recessional

Joseph DiBacco
Joseph DiBacco, EdD

Superintendent
Ansonia Public Schools

Joseph DiBacco is the superintendent of schools for the Ansonia Public Schools, serving 2,300 primary and secondary school students. During his nearly four years in Ansonia, DiBacco has initiated the expansion of career pathways and college partnerships for Ansonia students. A visible and dynamic leader during the pandemic, DiBacco embodies the tagline of his school district: Ansonia Strong. Prior to his current role, DiBacco served for two years as assistant superintendent in Ansonia; principal of Shepherd Glen Elementary School in Hamden; assistant principal of Hamden High School; and special education teacher for seven years. A graduate of Boston College, he earned a bachelor’s degree in education and several degrees from Southern Connecticut State University, including a master’s in special education with an LD specialization and a sixth-year and doctorate in educational leadership.

Mace and Medallion

The mace — a symbol of authority — has antecedents in both Roman and Medieval history. The Roman mace (fasces) was carried by a lictor before the chief magistrate of the city, as well as before the legions. During the Middle Ages, the mace (mateola), a weapon of war, became first a symbol of victory and then a symbol of authority. The mace emblazoned with the Great Seal of England became a symbol of authority in Parliament by the end of the 13th century. It is this form of the mace that was the prototype of those symbols of authority, not only of legislative bodies, but also of cities and universities.

In 1246, following some 20 years of strife, the University of Paris was finally conceded the right to its own common seal. Since then, the use of the seal engraved on the mace has come to symbolize the authority of the academic community. In July 2000, Quinnipiac commissioned the noted sculptor Robert Meyer of Westport, Connecticut, to design and execute a new mace for Quinnipiac University. Cast in bronze, the mace incorporates elements of the university seal.

The medallion (medal of office), like the mace and the seal, is also a symbol of authority. It is possible that its roots may be traced back to the Roman “bulla” (a gold amulet of honor). The obverse of the medallion shows the seal of the office the wearer holds — in our case, the seal of the university. Not infrequently, the reverse would show the personal seal or coat of arms of the bearer. Since the High Middle Ages, the medallion has been worn by such officials as the chancellors of England, mayors of cities, and rectors of universities, and came to signify the high personal position such figures occupied in their respective governments. During the Renaissance, medallion design reached unique artistic heights, and in certain portraits the medallion was given particular prominence. The medallion is worn by the university’s president. The Quinnipiac medal showcases the university seal, sculpted in relief and cast in bronze.

Undergraduate and Graduate College of Arts & Sciences Program

Sunday, May 9, at 1 p.m.

Download the Program (PDF)

Order of Exercises

Call to Commencement
Debra J. Liebowitz
Provost

National Anthem

Greetings
Judy D. Olian
President

Robert A. Smart
Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences

Conferral of Honorary Degree
Judy D. Olian
Debra J. Liebowitz

Introduction of Commencement Speaker
Sujata Gadkar-Wilcox
Associate Professor of Legal Studies

Commencement Address
Cheyney Ryan
Senior Research Fellow, Oxford Insitute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict, University of Oxford

Presentation of Candidates for Degrees and Awards

Robert A. Smart

Conferral of Degrees
Judy D. Olian

Response of the Class of 2021
Anna Marie Ciacciarella
Christian M. Kearney

Recessional

Ryan Cheyney
Cheyney Ryan

Senior Research Fellow, Oxford Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict
Co-Founder and Co-Chair, Oxford Consortium for Human Rights

Cheyney Ryan is a senior research fellow at the Oxford Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict. He is also the co-founder and co-chair of the Oxford Consortium for Human Rights, which has conducted human rights workshops in Oxford, New York, Geneva and other locations around the world. For many years, Ryan taught philosophy and law at the University of Oregon, where he co-founded the Graduate Program in Conflict Resolution. He has been a Global Ethics Fellow and Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Council for Ethics and International Affairs, and a Liberal Arts Fellow at the Harvard Law School. Ryan was deeply involved with the civil rights movement in the 1960s, working in both Kentucky and Mississippi. He has received numerous awards for human rights activism and was named one of the leading scholars “on the frontier of peace and conflict studies” by The Washington Post.

Mace and Medallion

The mace — a symbol of authority — has antecedents in both Roman and Medieval history. The Roman mace (fasces) was carried by a lictor before the chief magistrate of the city, as well as before the legions. During the Middle Ages, the mace (mateola), a weapon of war, became first a symbol of victory and then a symbol of authority. The mace emblazoned with the Great Seal of England became a symbol of authority in Parliament by the end of the 13th century. It is this form of the mace that was the prototype of those symbols of authority, not only of legislative bodies, but also of cities and universities.

In 1246, following some 20 years of strife, the University of Paris was finally conceded the right to its own common seal. Since then, the use of the seal engraved on the mace has come to symbolize the authority of the academic community. In July 2000, Quinnipiac commissioned the noted sculptor Robert Meyer of Westport, Connecticut, to design and execute a new mace for Quinnipiac University. Cast in bronze, the mace incorporates elements of the university seal.

The medallion (medal of office), like the mace and the seal, is also a symbol of authority. It is possible that its roots may be traced back to the Roman “bulla” (a gold amulet of honor). The obverse of the medallion shows the seal of the office the wearer holds — in our case, the seal of the university. Not infrequently, the reverse would show the personal seal or coat of arms of the bearer. Since the High Middle Ages, the medallion has been worn by such officials as the chancellors of England, mayors of cities, and rectors of universities, and came to signify the high personal position such figures occupied in their respective governments. During the Renaissance, medallion design reached unique artistic heights, and in certain portraits the medallion was given particular prominence. The medallion is worn by the university’s president. The Quinnipiac medal showcases the university seal, sculpted in relief and cast in bronze.

About Quinnipiac University

Quinnipiac is a private, coeducational, nonsectarian institution located 90 minutes north of New York City and two hours from Boston. The university enrolls 9,715 students in 110 degree programs through its Schools of Business, Communications, Education, Engineering, Health Sciences, Law, Medicine, Nursing and the College of Arts and Sciences. Quinnipiac is recognized by U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review’s “The Best 386 Colleges.” For more information, please visit qu.edu. Connect with Quinnipiac on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Learn more:

Leadership

Strategic Plan

Undergraduate and Graduate School of Communications Program
Sunday, May 9, at 5 p.m.

Download the Program (PDF)

Order of Exercises

Call to Commencement
Debra J. Liebowitz
Provost

National Anthem
Heather Popovics ‘21

Greetings
Judy D. Olian
President

Introduction of Commencement Speaker
Chris Roush
Dean of the School of Communications

Commencement Address
Matt Murray
Editor in Chief, The Wall Street Journal

Presentation of Candidates for Degrees and Awards

Chris Roush

Conferral of Degrees
Judy D. Olian

Response of the Class of 2021
Tyler John McNeill
Sergio David De La Espriella

Recessional

Matt Murray
Matt Murray

Editor in Chief
The Wall Street Journal & Dow Jones Newswires

Matt Murray is the editor in chief of The Wall Street Journal & Dow Jones Newswires in New York. He is responsible for all global newsgathering and editorial operations. Before assuming this post in June 2018, he served as executive editor and had been deputy editor in chief since 2013. He joined Dow Jones & Company in 1994 as a reporter for the Pittsburgh bureau. Murray is the author of “The Father and the Son: My Father’s Journey into the Monastic Life.” He also collaborated on “Strong of Heart,” a memoir by former New York City fire commissioner Thomas Von Essen. He earned both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and lives in New York with his family.

Mace and Medallion

The mace — a symbol of authority — has antecedents in both Roman and Medieval history. The Roman mace (fasces) was carried by a lictor before the chief magistrate of the city, as well as before the legions. During the Middle Ages, the mace (mateola), a weapon of war, became first a symbol of victory and then a symbol of authority. The mace emblazoned with the Great Seal of England became a symbol of authority in Parliament by the end of the 13th century. It is this form of the mace that was the prototype of those symbols of authority, not only of legislative bodies, but also of cities and universities.

In 1246, following some 20 years of strife, the University of Paris was finally conceded the right to its own common seal. Since then, the use of the seal engraved on the mace has come to symbolize the authority of the academic community. In July 2000, Quinnipiac commissioned the noted sculptor Robert Meyer of Westport, Connecticut, to design and execute a new mace for Quinnipiac University. Cast in bronze, the mace incorporates elements of the university seal.

The medallion (medal of office), like the mace and the seal, is also a symbol of authority. It is possible that its roots may be traced back to the Roman “bulla” (a gold amulet of honor). The obverse of the medallion shows the seal of the office the wearer holds — in our case, the seal of the university. Not infrequently, the reverse would show the personal seal or coat of arms of the bearer. Since the High Middle Ages, the medallion has been worn by such officials as the chancellors of England, mayors of cities, and rectors of universities, and came to signify the high personal position such figures occupied in their respective governments. During the Renaissance, medallion design reached unique artistic heights, and in certain portraits the medallion was given particular prominence. The medallion is worn by the university’s president. The Quinnipiac medal showcases the university seal, sculpted in relief and cast in bronze.

About Quinnipiac University

Quinnipiac is a private, coeducational, nonsectarian institution located 90 minutes north of New York City and two hours from Boston. The university enrolls 9,715 students in 110 degree programs through its Schools of Business, Communications, Education, Engineering, Health Sciences, Law, Medicine, Nursing and the College of Arts and Sciences. Quinnipiac is recognized by U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review’s “The Best 386 Colleges.” For more information, please visit qu.edu. Connect with Quinnipiac on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Learn more:

Leadership

Strategic Plan

Undergraduate School of Business and School of Engineering Program

Monday, May 10, at 1 p.m.

Download the Program (PDF)

Order of Exercises

Call to Commencement
Debra J. Liebowitz
Provost

National Anthem
Taina Echevarria ’21

Greetings
Judy D. Olian
President

Matthew O’Connor
Dean of the School of Business


Introduction of Commencement Speaker
Patrice A. Luoma
Professor of Entrepreneurship and Strategy

Commencement Address
Carlton Highsmith
President, CEO and Founder, Specialized Packaging Group

Presentation of Candidates for Degrees and Awards

Matthew L. O’Connor

Justin Kile
Dean of the School of Engineering

Conferral of Degrees
Judy D. Olian

Response of the Class of 2021
Business: Olamide Gbotosho
Engineering: Michael Sebastian Giannone

Recessional

Carlton Highsmith
Carlton Highsmith

Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees
Founder, Specialized Packaging Group

Carlton L. Highsmith founded Specialized Packaging Group, a package design, marketing and engineering firm in New Haven in 1983. By 2009, SPG, with revenues of more than $180 million, had grown to become one of the largest manufacturers of consumer paperboard packaging in North America. The company was recognized as the largest minority-owned company in Connecticut. Highsmith serves as vice chairman of the Quinnipiac Board of Trustees and was elected to the board in 2004. He also serves on the board of directors of First Niagara Bank and chairs the board of directors of the Connecticut Center for Arts & Technology (CONNCAT), a nonprofit that provides world-class, market-relevant job training and financial literacy training to underemployed and unemployed adults in the New Haven area. He earned a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin and was awarded an honorary degree from Quinnipiac in 2008.

Mace and Medallion

The mace — a symbol of authority — has antecedents in both Roman and Medieval history. The Roman mace (fasces) was carried by a lictor before the chief magistrate of the city, as well as before the legions. During the Middle Ages, the mace (mateola), a weapon of war, became first a symbol of victory and then a symbol of authority. The mace emblazoned with the Great Seal of England became a symbol of authority in Parliament by the end of the 13th century. It is this form of the mace that was the prototype of those symbols of authority, not only of legislative bodies, but also of cities and universities.

In 1246, following some 20 years of strife, the University of Paris was finally conceded the right to its own common seal. Since then, the use of the seal engraved on the mace has come to symbolize the authority of the academic community. In July 2000, Quinnipiac commissioned the noted sculptor Robert Meyer of Westport, Connecticut, to design and execute a new mace for Quinnipiac University. Cast in bronze, the mace incorporates elements of the university seal.

The medallion (medal of office), like the mace and the seal, is also a symbol of authority. It is possible that its roots may be traced back to the Roman “bulla” (a gold amulet of honor). The obverse of the medallion shows the seal of the office the wearer holds — in our case, the seal of the university. Not infrequently, the reverse would show the personal seal or coat of arms of the bearer. Since the High Middle Ages, the medallion has been worn by such officials as the chancellors of England, mayors of cities, and rectors of universities, and came to signify the high personal position such figures occupied in their respective governments. During the Renaissance, medallion design reached unique artistic heights, and in certain portraits the medallion was given particular prominence. The medallion is worn by the university’s president. The Quinnipiac medal showcases the university seal, sculpted in relief and cast in bronze.

About Quinnipiac University

Quinnipiac is a private, coeducational, nonsectarian institution located 90 minutes north of New York City and two hours from Boston. The university enrolls 9,715 students in 110 degree programs through its Schools of Business, Communications, Education, Engineering, Health Sciences, Law, Medicine, Nursing and the College of Arts and Sciences. Quinnipiac is recognized by U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review’s “The Best 386 Colleges.” For more information, please visit qu.edu. Connect with Quinnipiac on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Learn more:

Leadership

Strategic Plan

Graduate School of Business and School of Engineering Program

Monday, May 10, at 5 p.m.

Download the Program (PDF)

Order of Exercises

Call to Commencement
Debra J. Liebowitz
Provost

National Anthem
Caroline J. Ringle, DPT ‘20

Greetings
Judy D. Olian
President

Matthew O’Connor
Dean of the School of Business


Introduction of Commencement Speaker
Mohammad Elahee
Professor of International Business

Commencement Address
John Von Stein
CEO, QXC

Presentation of Candidates for Degrees and Awards

Matthew L. O’Connor

Justin Kile
Dean of the School of Engineering

Conferral of Degrees
Judy D. Olian

Response of the Class of 2021
Business: Gregory Tack

Recessional

John Von Stein
John Von Stein ’81

CEO
QXC Communications, Inc.

John W. Von Stein `81 has been a leader and an innovator in the fields of information technology, financial services and telecommunications for nearly four decades. Von Stein received his bachelor's degree in business from Quinnipiac University and an MBA from the University of Bridgeport, where he wrote his master’s thesis on the application of artificial intelligence to commodities trading. He is a graduate of the Securities Industry Institute (SII) at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Throughout his career, Von Stein has held numerous V- and C-level positions in organizations across the United States, Europe, South America and the Middle East. These include vice president of IT for multinational food and agribusiness corporation, Cargill, and chief operating officer of the Saudi Stock Exchange, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. In 2011, Von Stein founded QXC Communications, Inc., a Florida-based network engineering firm that uses AON fiber optic technology to deliver high performance digital services across 12 states. He currently serves the company’s CEO and chief technology officer. Throughout his life, Von Stein has been an avid marathon runner, alpine skier and golfer, and has been active in his community as a youth football and baseball coach, and Cub Scouts leader. Originally from Shelton, Connecticut, he lives with his family in Boca Raton, Florida.

Mace and Medallion

The mace — a symbol of authority — has antecedents in both Roman and Medieval history. The Roman mace (fasces) was carried by a lictor before the chief magistrate of the city, as well as before the legions. During the Middle Ages, the mace (mateola), a weapon of war, became first a symbol of victory and then a symbol of authority. The mace emblazoned with the Great Seal of England became a symbol of authority in Parliament by the end of the 13th century. It is this form of the mace that was the prototype of those symbols of authority, not only of legislative bodies, but also of cities and universities.

In 1246, following some 20 years of strife, the University of Paris was finally conceded the right to its own common seal. Since then, the use of the seal engraved on the mace has come to symbolize the authority of the academic community. In July 2000, Quinnipiac commissioned the noted sculptor Robert Meyer of Westport, Connecticut, to design and execute a new mace for Quinnipiac University. Cast in bronze, the mace incorporates elements of the university seal.

The medallion (medal of office), like the mace and the seal, is also a symbol of authority. It is possible that its roots may be traced back to the Roman “bulla” (a gold amulet of honor). The obverse of the medallion shows the seal of the office the wearer holds — in our case, the seal of the university. Not infrequently, the reverse would show the personal seal or coat of arms of the bearer. Since the High Middle Ages, the medallion has been worn by such officials as the chancellors of England, mayors of cities, and rectors of universities, and came to signify the high personal position such figures occupied in their respective governments. During the Renaissance, medallion design reached unique artistic heights, and in certain portraits the medallion was given particular prominence. The medallion is worn by the university’s president. The Quinnipiac medal showcases the university seal, sculpted in relief and cast in bronze.

About Quinnipiac University

Quinnipiac is a private, coeducational, nonsectarian institution located 90 minutes north of New York City and two hours from Boston. The university enrolls 9,715 students in 110 degree programs through its Schools of Business, Communications, Education, Engineering, Health Sciences, Law, Medicine, Nursing and the College of Arts and Sciences. Quinnipiac is recognized by U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review’s “The Best 386 Colleges.” For more information, please visit qu.edu. Connect with Quinnipiac on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Learn more:

Leadership

Strategic Plan

School of Medicine Program

Tuesday, May 11, at 1 p.m.

Download the Program (PDF)

Order of Exercises

Processional
Pomp and Circumstance, Sir Edward Elgar

Call to Commencement
Debra J. Liebowitz
Provost

National Anthem
Tiffany Rose, MD '21

Greetings
Judy D. Olian, PhD
President

Dean’s Remarks
Bruce M. Koeppen, MD, PhD
Dean of the Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine

Introduction of Commencement Speaker
Bruce M. Koeppen

Commencement Address
Lisa Sanders, MD, FACP
Associate Professor of Medicine, Yale School of Medicine
New York Times Columnist, Diagnosis

Presentation of Anesthesiologist Assistant Candidates for Degrees
A. William Paulsen, MMSc, PhD
Professor of Medical Sciences and Anesthesiologist Assistant Program Director

Conferral of Degrees
Judy D. Olian

Presentation of Candidates for Medical Degrees and Conferral of Hoods
Kim-Thu C. Pham, MD, MPH
Associate Dean, Student Affairs

Conferral of Degrees
Judy D. Olian

Student Remarks
Sneha Alaparthi, MD ‘21

Hippocratic Oath
Lyuba Konopasek, MD
Senior Associate Dean of Education

Recessional

Lisa Sanders
Lisa Sanders, M.D.

Associate Professor of Medicine, Yale School of Medicine
New York Times Columnist, ’Diagnosis‘

Lisa Sanders is an internist on the faculty of the Yale School of Medicine and teaches in the internal residency program there. She created and writes the biweekly “Diagnosis” column for The New York Times Magazine and is the author of “Diagnosis: Solving the Most Baffling Medical Mysteries,” a collection of those columns that served as the inspiration for the popular TV series, “House M.D.” She was an adviser to the show. Working with the Times and producer Scott Rudin, Sanders helped create a series of Netflix documentaries that followed patients in their search for a diagnosis using crowdsourcing. Sanders also wrote a New York Times bestseller, “Every Patient Tells a Story: Medical Mysteries and the Art of Diagnosis.” Before she attended medical school, she was an Emmy Award-winning producer for CBS News. She graduated from Yale School of Medicine and did her residency and chief residency at Yale’s Internal Medicine Primary Care program.

Doctoral Hooding Ceremony

The 12th and 13th centuries saw the formation of universities under the jurisdiction of the Church. Most students of the day were clerks in the Holy Order, monks or priests. Cowls or hoods adorned their habits and protected the young scholars from harsh weather and the pervading dampness of the stone buildings in which they studied. Hoods also served to cover tonsured heads before the use of the skullcap.

Today, the cap, gown and hood have taken on a symbolic meaning. Color and shape conform to an academic code signifying a university’s conferral of the degree and the nature of the degree conferred. Gowns for the doctoral degree carry velvet panels and three horizontal velvet bars on the upper arm of the full, round, bell-shaped sleeves.

 

Mace and Medallion

The mace — a symbol of authority — has antecedents in both Roman and Medieval history. The Roman mace (fasces) was carried by a lictor before the chief magistrate of the city, as well as before the legions. During the Middle Ages, the mace (mateola), a weapon of war, became first a symbol of victory and then a symbol of authority. The mace emblazoned with the Great Seal of England became a symbol of authority in Parliament by the end of the 13th century. It is this form of the mace that was the prototype of those symbols of authority, not only of legislative bodies, but also of cities and universities.

In 1246, following some 20 years of strife, the University of Paris was finally conceded the right to its own common seal. Since then, the use of the seal engraved on the mace has come to symbolize the authority of the academic community. In July 2000, Quinnipiac commissioned the noted sculptor Robert Meyer of Westport, Connecticut, to design and execute a new mace for Quinnipiac University. Cast in bronze, the mace incorporates elements of the university seal.

The medallion (medal of office), like the mace and the seal, is also a symbol of authority. It is possible that its roots may be traced back to the Roman “bulla” (a gold amulet of honor). The obverse of the medallion shows the seal of the office the wearer holds — in our case, the seal of the university. Not infrequently, the reverse would show the personal seal or coat of arms of the bearer. Since the High Middle Ages, the medallion has been worn by such officials as the chancellors of England, mayors of cities, and rectors of universities, and came to signify the high personal position such figures occupied in their respective governments. During the Renaissance, medallion design reached unique artistic heights, and in certain portraits the medallion was given particular prominence. The medallion is worn by the university’s president. The Quinnipiac medal showcases the university seal, sculpted in relief and cast in bronze.

Leadership
  • Bruce M. Koeppen, MD, PhD Dean

  • Charles Collier, MS, Assistant Dean for Health Career Pathways

  • Lisa Coplit, MD, Associate Dean for Faculty Development

  • Lyuba Konopasek, MD, Senior Associate Dean for Education

  • Scott Kurtzman, MD, Assistant Dean for Graduate Medical Education and Designated Institutional Official

  • Traci Marquis-Eydman, MD, Assistant Dean for Faculty Engagement

  • Doug McHugh, PhD, MBA, Assistant Dean for Curriculum

  • A. William Paulsen, MMSc, PhD Program Director for Anesthesiologist Assistant Program

  • Kim-Thu Pham, MD, MPH, Associate Dean for Student Affairs

  • Jennifer Rockfeld, MD, Assistant Dean for Curriculum

  • Richard Stahl, MD, Senior Associate Dean for Strategic Relationships

  • Listy Thomas, MD, Assistant Dean of Simulation

  • Mark Yeckel, PhD, Associate Dean for Admissions

  • Richard Zeff, PhD, Chair of Medical Sciences, Senior Associate Dean for Scholarship

 

School of Law Program

Tuesday, May 11, at 5 p.m.

Download the Program (PDF)

Order of Exercises

Processional
Pomp and Circumstance, Sir Edward Elgar

Call to Commencement

Debra J. Liebowitz
Provost

National Anthem
Alexander Puzone, JD ‘21

Greetings
Judy D. Olian
President

Conferral of Honorary Degree
Judy D. Olian
Debra J. Liebowitz

Justice Andrew McDonald Connecticut Supreme Court
Citation: Angela Robinson
Waring and Carmen Partridge Faculty Fellow

Commencement Address
Justice Andrew McDonald

Administration of the Oath of Professionalism
Professor of the Year, Jennifer B. Levine
Assistant Professor of Law

Presentation of Candidates for Degrees and Awards

Jennifer Gerarda Brown
Dean of the School of Law

Hooders:

Neal R. Feigenson, Professor of Law
W. John Thomas, Professor of Law

Conferral of Degrees
Judy D. Olian

Remarks
George Morgan Jr., JD ‘21, Student Bar Association President

Recessional

Andrew McDonald
Honorable Andrew J. McDonald

Senior Associate Justice
Connecticut Supreme Court

Andrew J. McDonald is the senior associate justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court, lawyer and former state senator. He has ruled on some of highest profile court cases in Connecticut’s history and served the state’s legislative, judicial and executive branches for nearly three decades. A native of Stamford, McDonald graduated from Cornell University and received his JD, with honors, from the University of Connecticut School of Law. He was a litigation partner at Hartford-based law firm, Pullman & Comley, LLC, from 1991 to 2011. McDonald began his public service career with the Stamford Board of Representatives, on which he served from 1993-95. He served the city of Stamford in numerous other capacities, including as director of legal affairs and corporation counsel from 1999-02, before being elected to the senate in 2003 as a Democrat. McDonald chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee for the entirety of his legislative tenure, and was deputy majority leader from 2005-11. He left the senate in 2011 for the position of chief legal advisor to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy. In this role, he provided legal counsel and analysis on all aspects of executive branch functions and operations. He was confirmed to the Supreme Court in 2013 and re-confirmed by the Lamont administration in 2021. McDonald resides in Hartford with his husband, Charles.

Doctoral Hooding Ceremony

The 12th and 13th centuries saw the formation of universities under the jurisdiction of the Church. Most students of the day were clerks in the Holy Order, monks or priests. Cowls or hoods adorned their habits and protected the young scholars from harsh weather and the pervading dampness of the stone buildings in which they studied. Hoods also served to cover tonsured heads before the use of the skullcap.

Today, the cap, gown and hood have taken on a symbolic meaning. Color and shape conform to an academic code signifying a university’s conferral of the degree and the nature of the degree conferred. Gowns for the doctoral degree carry velvet panels and three horizontal velvet bars on the upper arm of the full, round, bell-shaped sleeves.

 

Mace and Medallion

The mace — a symbol of authority — has antecedents in both Roman and Medieval history. The Roman mace (fasces) was carried by a lictor before the chief magistrate of the city, as well as before the legions. During the Middle Ages, the mace (mateola), a weapon of war, became first a symbol of victory and then a symbol of authority. The mace emblazoned with the Great Seal of England became a symbol of authority in Parliament by the end of the 13th century. It is this form of the mace that was the prototype of those symbols of authority, not only of legislative bodies, but also of cities and universities.

In 1246, following some 20 years of strife, the University of Paris was finally conceded the right to its own common seal. Since then, the use of the seal engraved on the mace has come to symbolize the authority of the academic community. In July 2000, Quinnipiac commissioned the noted sculptor Robert Meyer of Westport, Connecticut, to design and execute a new mace for Quinnipiac University. Cast in bronze, the mace incorporates elements of the university seal.

The medallion (medal of office), like the mace and the seal, is also a symbol of authority. It is possible that its roots may be traced back to the Roman “bulla” (a gold amulet of honor). The obverse of the medallion shows the seal of the office the wearer holds — in our case, the seal of the university. Not infrequently, the reverse would show the personal seal or coat of arms of the bearer. Since the High Middle Ages, the medallion has been worn by such officials as the chancellors of England, mayors of cities, and rectors of universities, and came to signify the high personal position such figures occupied in their respective governments. During the Renaissance, medallion design reached unique artistic heights, and in certain portraits the medallion was given particular prominence. The medallion is worn by the university’s president. The Quinnipiac medal showcases the university seal, sculpted in relief and cast in bronze.

University Mace Carrier and Professor of the Year
  • Jennifer Levine, Assistant Professor of Law
About the Quinnipiac University School of Law

The program of studies at the School of Law provides students with excellent preparation for legal practice. The curriculum balances theoretical and skills training and offers students the choice to elect a general course of study or to concentrate their coursework and training in a number of specific practice areas.

Students also have opportunities to apply lessons learned in the classroom to real-world legal problems in several law clinics (Civil Justice, Defense Appellate, Mediation, Negotiation Prosecution Appellate, Tax, and Veterans Law) and 19 externship courses (Business Law, Corporate Counsel, Criminal Justice, Employment and Labor Law, Environmental and Energy Law, Family and Juvenile Law, Field Placement II, Health Law, Immigration Law, Intellectual Property Law, Judicial, Legal Services, Legislative, Mediation, Private Practice, Probate Law, Public Interest, Sports and Entertainment Law, and Tax Law). Faculty members come from a broad spectrum of distinguished backgrounds in legal practice and education and are committed to excellence in scholarship and teaching.

In the tradition of American law schools, the Quinnipiac University School of Law sponsors student-edited scholarly journals — the Quinnipiac Law Review, the Probate Law Journal and the Health Law Journal — which contribute to both student education and legal scholarship. Students also are actively involved in more than 30 student organizations in which they share interests, sponsor programs and engage in both social and community service activities.

Throughout its history, the Quinnipiac University School of Law has been devoted to rigorous teaching and has cultivated a reputation for producing highly qualified and skilled attorneys who are capable of assuming leadership roles in law practice, business and government service.

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