My Iona

Nominate Speakers and Honorary Degree Recipients

President Seamus Carey, Ph.D., and the Board of Trustees of Iona University invite nominations for Commencement speakers and honorary degree recipients. Students, parents, alumni, faculty and staff are all welcome to participate in the nomination process. All nominees must reflect the values and mission of Blessed Edmund Rice, the Christian Brothers and Iona University.

The committee will review nominees to determine if they meet the outlined criteria. President Carey and the board of trustees will make the final selections.

Committee Chair: Dr. Marcus Aldridge, associate professor of Sociology

Submit a Nomination

The selection of a Commencement speaker and awarding of honorary degrees is taken seriously. All nominees must reflect the values and mission of Iona University.

Nominees must meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • Have a distinguished record of service to humanity, peace and justice
  • Have made important contributions to Catholic education
  • Have exhibited exemplary leadership in public service or business
  • Have distinguished intellectual and creative achievements
  • An Iona alumnus with a distinguished record of achievement in his/her/their field
  • An Iona alumnus with a distinguished record of service to society

To make a nomination please complete the nomination form. The committee will review all nominees. Nominees deemed worthy of further consideration will be forwarded to President Carey. The President and Board of Trustees will make the final decision and be responsible for contacting and scheduling nominees for the commencement ceremony.

Commencement speakers will be chosen based on the outlined criteria. As the ceremony is a celebration of the accomplishments of our graduating class, Commencement speakers should have the ability to give a positive, meaningful and inspirational address to the graduating class and their families. It is also our practice to confer an honorary degree upon commencement speakers.

In selecting honorary degree recipients, Iona University seeks individuals whose achievements reflect the values and mission of Blessed Edmund Rice, the Christian Brothers and Iona University. Honorary degree recipients must possess a distinguished record of service to humanity, peace and justice.

The committee will consider nominees for two years from the date of nomination. If a nominee is not selected within the two-year period, they will be removed from the list of potential candidates.

Previous Speakers and Degree Recipients
Speaker Year
Catherine R. Kinney ‘74, '21H 2021
Maria Bartiromo '20H 2020
Andrew J. Dolce '57, '19H 2019
Alfred F. Kelly Jr. '80, '81MBA, '19H 2019
Eileen Ivers '87, '19H 2019
Nancy Lublin '18H 2018
Kate Snow '18H 2018
Jeremiah M. Callaghan '65, '18H 2018
James P. Hynes ’69, '01H 2017
Laurence M. Downes '79, '81MBA 2017
Robert Greifeld ’79, '16H 2016
Peter Riguardi ’83, '16H 2016
Dorothy H. Wickenden '15H 2015
Edward V. Filardi '65, '15H 2015
His Eminence, Timothy Cardinal Dolan '14H 2014
Joseph Hankin, Ed.D., '14H 2014
Terence Winch '67, '14H 2014
Sr. Danielle Marie Baran '13H 2013
Ronald M. Defeo '74, '13H 2013
Officer Lawrence DePrimo '13H 2013
Lt. Andrew Kinard '13H 2013
David A. Ferrucci, Ph.D., '12H 2012
Joseph J. Plumeri '12H 2012
James A. Liguori, CFC, Ed.D., '65, '11H 2011
Mauro C. Romita, Esq., '61, '11H 2011
John Sexton, Ph.D., '11H 2011
Abigail E. Disney '10H 2010
Most Reverend Dennis J. Sullivan, DD, VG, '10H 2010
John J. Sweeney '55, '10H 2010
Matthew J. Long '89, '09H 2009
John J. Verrier '57, '09H 2009
Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly '08H 2008
Patrick J. Lynch '59, '08H 2008
Colonel Pamela A. Melroy, USAF Ret., '08H 2008
Robert M. Morgenthau, Esq., '07H 2007
David A. Pope '07H 2007
Bernie Williams '07H 2007
Linda E. Kelly '06H 2006
Mary Alice Williams '06H 2006
His Eminence Edward M. Egan '05H 2005
Timothy J. Russert '05H 2005
Alfred V. Alasia '04H 2004
Alice Marie Hales '04H 2004
Thomas E. Hales, CPA, '58, '04H 2004
Bernard Kerik '04H 2004
Nicholas Buoniconti '03H 2003
John P. Mostyn, CFC, '63, '03H 2003
Noreen Von Zwehl '03H 2003
Florence D'Urso '02H 2002
Ossie Davis '02H 2002
Rev. Mychal Judge '02H 2002
John W. Mulcahy, Ph.D., '71MS.Ed., '73MBA, '02H 2002
Eugene P. Conese Sr. '51, '01H 2001
Randel A. Falco '75, '79MBA, '01H 2001
Dr. Claire L. Gaudiani '01H 2001
James P. Hynes '69, '01H 2001
Don McLean '68, '01H 2001
Gerard T. Brooker, Ed.D., '58, '00H 2000
Robert V. LaPenta '67, '00H 2000
Jeffrey D. Sachs, Ph.D., '00H 2000
Alberto W. Vilar '71MBA, '00H 2000
Rabbi Amiel Wohl '00H 2000
Benjamin B. Ferencz, Esq., '99H 1999
Abraham H. Foxman '99H 1999
Paul K. Hennessy, CFC, Ph.D., '53, '99H 1999
Catherine Hickey, Ph.D., '99H 1999
Charles Osgood '99H 1999
Heinz Riehl '99H 1999
Joseph B. Buono '77H, '98H 1998
The Honorable Alfonse M. D'Amato '98H 1998
Mary Lou McNaney '98H (posthumously) 1998
JoAnn Murphy '98H 1998
Frances Carlin '97H 1997
William J. Flynn '97H 1997
Hon. Timothy C. Idoni '77, '97H 1997
Dorothy Ann Kelly, OSU, Ph.D., '97H 1997
Detective Steven D. McDonald '97H 1997
Don Mullan '91, '97H 1997
The Honorable Albert J. Reynolds '97H 1997
Edmund Michael Garvey, CFC, '96H 1996
Mark D. Gearan '96H 1996
Allen J. Krowe '96H 1996
George J. Marlin '74, '96H 1996
Hon. Thomas J. O'Toole '48, '96H 1996
Mary Jane Reddington '96H 1996
Grete Waitz '96H 1996
Kenneth I. Chenault '95H 1995
John G. Driscoll, CFC, Ph.D., '54, '95H 1995
Malcolm S. Forbes Jr. '95H 1995
Stanley W. Hill '59, '95H 1995
Jimmie Holland, MD, '95H 1995
Robert G. McGregor '58, '95H 1995
Phil Rizzuto '95H 1995
Jackie Joyner-Kersee '94H 1994
John McGillicuddy '94H 1994
Edward J. Robinson '62, '94H 1994
Thomas Seaver '94H 1994
Terry Anderson '93H 1993
Michael A. Cerussi '93H 1993
Jeremiah C. Keating, CFC, '93H 1993
Hon. M. Eugenia Charles, DBE, '92H 1992
Mary I. DiFonzo '92H 1992
Most Reverend John J. Nevins, DD, '54, '92H 1992
Peter R. Scanlon '52, '92H 1992
Edward F. Arrigoni '56, '91H 1991
Patricia A. Cahill, Esq., '91H 1991
William D. White '91H 1991
James T. Brady '62, '90H 1990
Most Reverend Joseph A. Francis, SVD, DD, '90H 1990
Alice Gallin, OSU, '90H 1990
Terry R. Lautenbach '90H 1990
Thomas G. Bullen, CFC, '89H 1989
Thomas Flanagan '89H 1989
Bud Greenspan '89H 1989
Margaret Heagarty, MD, '89H 1989
Kevin Roche '89H 1989
Dave Anderson '88H 1988
Charles H. McCabe '68MBA, '88H 1988
Arno A. Penzias '88H 1988
Helen Verduin Palit '88H 1988
Earl G. Graves '87H 1987
Ferdinand G. Mahfood '87H 1987
Sr. Margaret Sweeney '87H 1987
Joseph A. Vitanza '47, '87H 1987
Dolores B. Grier '86H 1986
Robert E. Linton '86H 1986
Jack Rudin '86H 1986
Lewis Rudin '86H 1986
Aida Alvarez '85H 1985
Thomas E. Christman '64, '85H 1985
Sidney P. Mudd '85H 1985
Dr. Le Roy Neiman '85H 1985
Msgr. J. Patrick Carrol Abbing '84H 1984
Hon. Mario M. Cuomo '84H 1984
The Dalai Lama (Tenzin Gyatso) '84H 1984
John M. Joyce III '84H 1984
Most Reverend Emerson J. Moore '84H 1984
His Eminence John Cardinal O'Connor '84H 1984
Eileen Egan '83H 1983
Jewell J. McCabe '83H 1983
Joseph M. Murphy '59, '83H 1983
Charles E. Schaffner '83H 1983
Dr. Philippe De Montebello '82H 1982
Mary Allen Engle, MD, '82H 1982
Patrick J. Falvey, Esq., '48, '82H 1982
Gerard G. McHugh, CFC, '58, '82H 1982
Richard R. Shinn '82H 1982
Stephen M. Blacker '81H 1981
Henry A. Grunwald '81H 1981
Allen Hammond '81H 1981
Dr. Gerald Holton '81H 1981
Kathy Keeton '81H 1981
Charles Mandel '81H 1981
Edward N. Ney '81H 1981
Bruce Ritter, OFM, '81H 1981
Dr. Martha E. Rogers '81H 1981
Avery Dulles, SJ, '80H 1980
Br. Joseph C. McGee '80H 1980
Dr. Dina Merrill '80H 1980
Fortune R. Pope '80H 1980
John R. Torell III '80H 1980
Dr. Kevin M. Cahill '79H 1979
Marife Hernandez '79H 1979
George J. Kneeland '79H 1979
George M. Steinbrenner III '79H 1979
Hon. Robert F. Wagner '79H 1979
Edward Albee '78H 1978
Ross Barzelay '78H 1978
Admiral John J. Bergen '78H 1978
James Kearney, FMS, '78H 1978
Robert J. McGuire, Esq., '58, '78H 1978
Joseph B. Buono '77H,'98H 1977
I. W. Burnham II '77H 1977
Baron Leon Lambert '77H 1977
Dr. Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. '77H 1977
Joseph P. Tonelli '77H 1977
Alice Tully '77H 1977
Justin L. Kelty, CFC, '76H 1976
Vincent D. McDonnell '76H 1976
Thomas A. Murphy '76H 1976
Mother Teresa of Calcutta '76H 1976
Roy Wilkins '76H 1976
John E. Daly, CFC, '75H 1975
Ruby Dee Davis '75H 1975
John J. Duffy, Esq., '46, '75H 1975
Frank Massi '75H 1975
Arthur J. Rooney '75H 1975
William M. Ellinghaus '74H 1974
William J. Maloney '74H 1974
Dr. Edward Carpenter '73H 1973
Hon. Hugh A. Doyle '73H 1973
Delmar V. Hughes, MD, '73H 1973
Alexander F. Thomas, CFC, '73H 1973
Peter J. Brennan '72H 1972
J. Harold Flynn '72H 1972
Richard V. Guerin '54, '72H 1972
Joseph A. Mahoney '72H 1972
Hon. William H. Mulligan, JD, '72H 1972
Sr. Marian C. Schneider '72H 1972
Hon. Luis A. Ferre '71H 1971
Dr. Charles A. Huguenin '71H 1971
Dr. William J. McGill '71H 1971
Mr. George O'Brien '71H 1971
Senator Edward M. Kennedy '70H 1970
Dr. Ewald B. Nyquist '70H 1970
Hon. Malcolm Wilson '70H 1970
Whitney M. Young Jr. '70H 1970
Arthur A. Loftus, CFC, '69H 1969
Joseph W. McGovern, Esq., '69H 1969
John J. Powers Jr. '69H 1969
Chauncey W. Cook '68H 1968
Dr. Richard Courant '68H 1968
Lord MacLeod '68H 1968
Dr. William Y. Tindall '68H 1968
T. Cardinal Cooke '67H 1967
Dr. Buell G. Gallagher '67H 1967
P. James McDermott '67H 1967
Gordon M. Moodie '67H 1967
Samuel Rudin '67H 1967
Hon. Charles S. Desmond '66H 1966
Rev. George H. Guilfoyle '66H 1966
John G. Hagan Jr. '66H 1966
Rev. Alexander Schmemann '66H 1966
Bishop John J. Wright '66H 1966
Jeremiah J. Burns '65H 1965
Matthew A. Carney '65H 1965
Patrick A. Gleeson, CFC, '65H 1965
Dr. Wernher Von Braun '65H 1965
Charles A. Berger, SJ, '64H 1964
Cardinal Richard Cushing '64H 1964
George F. Meany '64H 1964
Aloysius F. Power, KM, '64H 1964
Dr. Charles J. Donahue '63H 1963
Peter Lind Hayes '63H 1963
Edward V. Lahey '63H 1963
Hon. Owen P. McGivern '63H 1963
Gregory Nugent, FSC, '63H 1963
Sr. Catherine M. O'Brien '63H 1963
Sr. St. John O'Brien '63H 1963
Willard H. Sahloff '63H 1963
John M. Joyce Jr. '62H 1962
Hon. Kenneth B. Keating '62H 1962
Francis F. Reh, STL, '62H 1962
Raul Cardinal Silva '62H 1962
Rev. Christopher J. Weldon '62H 1962
Louis J. Eitler, Esq., '61H 1961
L. Richard Foy, Ph.D., '61H 1961
George J. Gillespie '61H 1961
Henry L. Logan '61H 1961
Francis Cardinal Spellman '61H 1961
Rev. Edward E. Swanstrom '61H 1961
Joseph C. Glose, SJ, '60H 1960
Msgr. John P. Haverty '60H 1960
Edmond R. Kiely, CFC, '60H 1960
Rev. Edward M. Kovach '60H 1960
Dr. William J. McCarthy '60H 1960
Terence O'Rafferty '60H 1960
Samuel A. Ryan, CFC, '60H 1960
Msgr. John J. Voight '60H 1960
Br. William H. Barnes '59H 1959
Patrick B. Doyle, CFC, '59H 1959
Msgr. Charles E. Fitzgerald '59H 1959
Michael F. Garvey, CFC, '59H 1959
John F. Hennessy '59H 1959
Dr. Charles Habib Malik '59H 1959
Joseph P. Mc Murray, Esq., '59H 1959
Hon. John F. Brosnan '58H 1958
Rev. John A. Flynn '58H 1958
Orie R. Kelly '58H 1958
Richard Reid '58H 1958
Hon. Frederick H. Boland '57H 1957
Dr. Thomas A. Brennan '57H 1957
Msgr. Charles A. Donahue '57H 1957
Hon. Angier B. Duke '57H 1957
President John F. Kennedy '57H 1957
Thomas E. Murray Jr. '57H 1957
Hon. Michael H. Prendergast '57H 1957
Thomas J. Shanahan '57H 1957
James M. Slattery '57H 1957
Myles B. Amend, Esq., '56H 1956
John A. Costello '56H 1956
John A. Kelly, CFC, '56H 1956
Hon. John J. Hearne '55H 1955
Most Reverend Joseph M. Pernicone '55H 1955
Rev. Edward V. Dargin '54H 1954
Joseph I. Doorley, CFC, '54H 1954
Louis Kenedy '54H 1954
Hon. William F. Bleakley '53H 1954
Harold A. Filehne, CFC, '53H 1953
Hon. Sean F. Lemass '53H 1953
Br. Bonaventure T. McGinty '53H 1953
Dr. Roy J. DeFerrari '52H 1952
Most Reverand Steven J. Donahue '52H 1952
Rev. Laurence J. McGinley '52H 1952
Rev. William A. Scully '51H 1951
Edward F. Clancy '50H 1950
Robert R. McMullen '44H 1944