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April 22 - To Class of 2021 undergraduate students: Commencement speaker and honorary degree recipients

Dear Class of 2021 undergraduate students,

We look forward to celebrating your achievements at Salve Regina on Sunday, May 9. Commencement ceremonies will be celebrated at 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. under the Commencement tent on the McAuley Hall lawn. If you have not done so already, please RSVP for the ceremony by Friday, April 23. You must RSVP in order to participate.

  • Commencement and pinning ceremony for nursing recipients: 10 a.m.
  • Commencement for B.A.S. and B.A. degree recipients: 1 p.m.
  • Commencement for non-nursing B.S. degree recipients: 4 p.m.

If you are unsure which degree you are receiving, please see the list of majors associated with each degree.

Commencement Speaker

Dr. Carolyn Woo, the former president and CEO of Catholic Relief Services, will present the Commencement address and receive an honorary degree. She served a five-year term (2012-2017) as president and CEO of the international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States, following a long and distinguished academic career.

Woo was one of five presenters in Rome at the release of Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment in 2015. Her faith journey and work are recounted in her book, “Working for a Better World.” She was featured in the May/June 2013 issue of Foreign Policy as one of the 500 most powerful people on the planet and one of only 33 in the category of “a force for good.”

Born and raised in Hong Kong, Woo immigrated to the U.S. to attend Purdue University, where she received her bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees, joined the faculty and later served as associate executive vice president for academic affairs. She has also served as dean at the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business.

Honorary Degree Recipients

In addition to Woo, local community advocates Ruth Barge Thumbtzen and David Brodsky will receive honorary degrees during the Commencement ceremony.

Thumbtzen worked as an educator in the Newport school district for 30 years, where she taught physical education and health. Later, she served for a decade at Salve Regina as a community liaison, helping to build community partnerships and service learning opportunities for students.

Brodsky, the founder and former chairman and CEO of Rhode Island-based Superior Healthcare Group, has devoted decades to supporting philanthropic causes across the U.S. with a focus on higher education, preservation, the arts and health care, among others. He has been a longtime neighbor, friend and major supporter of Salve Regina.

Testing Requirement

If you are taking in-person classes this semester, you will remain in the University’s asymptomatic surveillance testing program through Commencement. Please monitor your email for notifications regarding your scheduled appointments.

If you are fully remote, you will be required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test administered within 48 hours of the ceremony upon check-in. Per Rhode Island guidelines, this requirement applies even if you are fully vaccinated.

Baccalaureate Mass

Baccalaureate Mass will be celebrated at 4 p.m. Saturday, May 8. The hooding ceremony, which is traditionally part of this liturgy, will unfortunately not be offered this year due to COVID-19 restrictions. Please RSVP for the Mass by Friday, April 23. The Mass will also be offered virtually.

Commencement Regalia

If you have already ordered Commencement regalia, it is now available for pickup at the Salve Regina bookstore. To see current hours, visit the bookstore website. If you still need to order regalia, please visit the bookstore to place an order. The cost of regalia is included in your graduation fee, which is an administrative fee charged regardless of participation in the ceremony.

Please visit the Commencement website for more information.