Thirty-Eighth Commencement, 2018

Sunday, June 3, 2018, 11:00 am
The Boston Park Plaza Hotel
50 Park Plaza at Arlington Street
Boston, MA

Commencement will be held at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel at 11:00 am.  All graduates should arrive at the hotel by 9:00 am. The ceremony will last 2 to 2.5 hours.

Commencemet Speaker and Honorary Degree Recipient - Bennie Wiley

Principal, The Wiley Group

Bennie Wiley is the Principal of The Wiley Group and was, for 15 years, the President and Chief Executive Officer of The Partnership, Inc. She is an esteemed and sought-after leader, author and speaker on diversity and race relations in America. 

Wiley spent her formative years in a segregated Washington, DC One of her earliest memories is celebrating the passage of Brown v. Board of Education with her father. In May 1954, he came home with a bottle of champagne to toast her, then eight years-old, and her 11 year-old sister, because, as he explained, the landmark ruling meant that now they could become anything they wanted to be. That memory has informed and directed the course of Wiley’s life. 

After taking the reins at The Partnership in 1991, Wiley built it from a tiny, debt-ridden, organization to a powerhouse that elevated the city of Boston’s dialogue on diversity. The Partnership’s unique mission is to develop professionals of color in Boston, increase their representation in Boston area businesses and institutions. and enhance opportunities for their leadership potential. Through her work at The Partnership, Wiley changed perceptions of race in the city by creating a critical mass of people who understood the importance of attracting, retaining, and developing people of color in Boston. Wiley altered the fabric of Boston and wove it into a tapestry of diverse leaders and ambassadors who were engaged and committed to the city. She continues the work today, energized as she witnesses millennials of different races and ethnicities discuss what they can do to make Boston a better place. 

Wiley has been the Principal of The Wiley Group since July 1, 2007, a firm specializing in strategy, talent management, and leadership development. She currently serves as director on boards of the Dreyfus Mutual Funds, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, and CBIZ (NYSE: CBZ). She has served as the chair of PepsiCo’s African American Advisory Board, and formerly served on the board of First Albany (NASDAQ: FACT). Wiley holds a BA from Howard University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. She is also the recipient of Honorary Doctorates from Boston College, New England School of Law and Newbury College. Her honors include induction into the Academy of Distinguished Bostonians, Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce Pinnacle Award for Lifetime Achievement, and Harvard Business School Distinguished Alumni Award from the African American Student Union. She was the subject of a Harvard Business School case, Bennie Wiley and The Partnership

Honorary Degree Recipient - Ethan Pollack

Associate Professor, Clinical Psychology Department

Dr Ethan Pollack is an Associate Professor and Core Faculty Member in the Clinical Psychology Program at William James College and is celebrating his 40th year as a teacher at the school. He is a pioneer in the teaching of ethics in the field of psychology and designed the first ethics curriculum at William James, the model for which is still used today. 

As one of the earliest teachers at William James College, Pollack’s tenure began when the College had only one program—the doctoral program in Clinical Psychology. He expanded his teaching responsibilities as the school grew in size and scope; and in 2008, he closed his private practice to become a full-time faculty member. 

From teaching emerging professionals to serving on the boards of professional societies and the Commonwealth, Pollack has worked to further the belief that ethics is a practice in navigating areas of grey rather than a study in black and white. He has pushed for ethics boards to consider ethical violations in their context, understand their genesis and treat the cause, rather than address them in an isolated and punitive manner. 

Pollack is also a specialist in clinical work with stepfamilies. He has spent much of his professional life increasing clinical understanding of that unique dynamic and sharing his personal experience as a stepchild and a stepparent. Pollack has directed students in doctoral projects on stepfamilies and has been an influential speaker on the subject to family groups and organizations. 

As a faculty member, Pollack has focused on helping students understand the stress and isolation that accompany a career in psychology and the need for a strong support network. He expresses openly his gratitude for the strong family support he has always enjoyed. Pollack is also eager to point out the unique support of the William James family and the flexibility it has afforded him to pursue his own interests over the past four decades. The admiration is mutual; in 2007 he was the recipient of the Excellence in Teaching award from William James. 

Pollack currently serves as a member of the American Psychological Association’s Board of Director’s Standing Hearing Panel and was a partner and founder of Needham Psychotherapy Associates, a private group practice. He was a member of the Board of Trustees of the Massachusetts Psychological Association (MPA) from 1998-2001 and served as a member (1990-1996) and Chair of MPA’s Ethics Committee (1996-1998). 

Honorary Degree Recipient - Reverend Dr Ray Hammond

Co-Pastor, Bethel AME Church

Reverend Dr Ray Hammond is the co-founder of the Bethel AME Church in Boston and a co-founder and chairman of the Ten Point Coalition, an ecumenical group of Christian clergy and lay leaders mobilizing the Greater Boston community around issues affecting black and Latino youth. He also serves as Executive Director of Bethel’s Generation Excel program, an Executive Committee Member of the Black Ministerial Alliance, Chair of the Boston Opportunity Agenda, and a member of the Strategy Team for the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization and the Boston Green Ribbon Commission.

Hammond and his wife, Reverend Dr Gloria White-Hammond, co-founded Bethel AME Church in January 1989, a time when gang violence was sweeping inner cities, including Boston. A seminal moment occurred for the church three years later when Hammond and his church found themselves in the middle of gang violence. As the church’s website says, “ response to the stabbing of a youth at a funeral for another gang member, they co-founded a movement, which Newsweek magazine would later refer to as ‘The Boston Miracle.”

His world view that diverse peoples should live together in peace has remained in his central field of vision. On November 4, 2009 Hammond marched on Capitol Hill to protest changes to the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). As a featured speaker he said, “When I say, ‘I love this country,’ it means I love the people in this country, and especially its children! And I love the fact that their ancestors come from every country and every corner of this world. I love the fact that we’re a rainbow of colors and a riot of cultures.” 

Hammond is the eldest son of a Baptist preacher and schoolteacher. He is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Medical School and holds a Master of Arts degree in the Study of Religion (Christian and Medical Ethics) from Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. 

He is a trustee of the Yawkey Foundation, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the John F Kennedy Library Foundation and the Math and Technology Public Charter High (MATCH) School. He is a former chairman of the Boston Foundation and a published author. Hammond is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the recipient of numerous honors and honorary doctorates. 

Honorary Degree Recipient - Reverend Dr Gloria White-Hammond

Co-Pastor, Bethel AME Church

Reverend Dr Gloria White-Hammond is the co-pastor of Bethel AME Church in Boston, and the Swartz Resident Practitioner in Ministry Studies at Harvard Divinity School. She is a retired pediatrician who served children at the South End Community Health Center for 27 years, from 1981 to 2007, and is a tireless, passionate humanitarian and social justice advocate. 

White-Hammond and her husband, Reverend Dr Ray Hammond, co-founded Bethel AME that has become a powerful change agent for social justice in Boston. The church has initiated twenty groundbreaking programs that serve 2,300 people in greater Boston and more than 4,000 around the world each year. 

White-Hammond’s humanitarian work has taken her throughout Africa to advocate for women and children who are victims of conflict. From 2001 to 2003, she traveled to South Sudan to participate in an elaborate “underground railroad” to facilitate the freedom of more than 10,000 women and children enslaved in Sudan (North Sudan). 

In 2002, she co-founded My Sister’s Keeper (MSK), a humanitarian and human rights organization that champions social justice for women and girls. MSK has created literacy and peace initiatives to promote peacebuilding among women and across racial divides in Sudan, South Sudan and the Diaspora. 

In February 2005, White-Hammond traveled into Darfur, western Sudan, to listen and learn from female victims of genocide in internally displaced persons camps. She served as the National Chairperson of the Million Voices for Darfur campaign, co-founded the Massachusetts Coalition to Save Darfur; and in 2008, became the national Chairwoman of the Save Darfur Coalition.

At Bethel AME Church, White-Hammond is director of the Women’s Ministry. One of the many programs she created is “Shatter the Silence”, a network of congregations that addresses sexual victimization of women and men in predominantly African American communities. 

White-Hammond serves on the board of the Harvard Alumni Association, the Presidential Advisory Committee at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and is a trustee emeritus at Tufts University. She is the recipient of numerous local and national awards for civic engagement.


Each graduate is allowed five guests for the Graduation Ceremony. For any additional information please contact Denise Feeley at

Diploma and Regalia (Cap & Gown)

Complete your Application for Graduation here.
Regalia for Graduation can be ordered online.


We will have a photographer taking pictures throughout the day. Our photographer will also take a photo of each graduate as they receive their diploma. 2017commencement photos are available to view and purchase online here

Please continue to check your William James College email for important information and updates about your commencement ceremony.

Hotel Accomodations

William James College has secured rates for student's friends and family at the following Hotels:

Boston Park Plaza Hotel 
50 Park Plaza at Arlington Street
Boston, MA 02116
Reserve a room with William James College Room Block here or call 617-426-2000.

Crowne Plaza Boston Newton Hotel
320 Washington Street, Newton
20 minutes from graduation site by car
William James College Corporate Rate: request the "William James College" corporate negotiated rate or reference corporate ID# 786814278
Click here for the special rate
617-969-3010 or 866-257-7857

Residence Inn by Marriott Boston-Needham 
80 B Street 
Needham, MA 02494 
Phone: 781-444-5750 
Fax: 781-449-1781
Corporate Code: OXS
30 minutes from graduation site by car

Sheraton Needham 
100 Cabot Street 
Needham, MA 02494 
Phone: 781-444-1110 
Fax: 781-455-8617 
William James College Corporate Code: 397902 
Click here for our special rate
30 minutes from graduation site by car 

Parking Information

Park Plaza Hotel
Valet service is available at the Park Plaza
Self-parking is across the street at the Motor Mart Garage (below)

Motor Mart Garage
26 Park Plaza/201 Stuart Street, Boston, MA 02116

Radisson Hotel Parking Garage
200 Stuart Street, Boston, MA 02116
Located .19 miles from Boston Park Plaza

Restaurants near the Boston Park Plaza Hotel
Restaurant Address Phone Number Distance from
Park Plaza
Davio's 75 Arlington Street 617-357-4810 140 feet
Via Matta Restaurant 79 Park Plaza 617-422-0008 180 feet
The Melting Pot Park Plaza Hotel 617-357-7007 274 feet
Smith & Wollensky 101 Arlington Street 617-423-1112 361 feet
Maggiano's Little Italy 4 Columbus Ave 617-542-3456 387 feet
Fleming's Prime Steakhouse 217 Stuart Street 617-292-0808 399 feet
Erbaluce 69 Church Street 617-426-6969 488 feet
Legal Sea Foods 26 Park Plaza 617-426-4444 .1 mile
Grille 23 161 Berkeley Street 617-542-2255 .1 mile
Troquet 140 Boylston Street 617-695-9463 .2 miles
P.F. Chang's China Bistro 8 Park Plaza D-6, Downtown 617-573-0821 .2 miles
Bristol Lounge 200 Boylston Street 617-338-4400 .2 miles
Teatro 177 Tremont Street 617-778-6841 .3 miles
Duozo 131 Dartmouth Street 617-859-8886 .4 miles
L'Espalier 774 Boylston Street 617-266-8800 .6 miles
Abe & Louie's 739 Boylston Street 617-536-6300 .6 miles
Capital Grille 900 Boylston Street 617-262-8900 .8 miles

Available for Purchase!

William James College Frame for Diploma

The black matted frames with our logo (shown right) are 19x19 inches and can be purchased for $125 by contacting Denise Feeley directly at 617-327-6777 x 1200 or at

Previous Commencement Remarks

President Covino 2017 Commencement Remarks
President Covino 2016 Commencement Remarks
President Covino 2013 Commencement Remarks
President Covino 2012 Commencement Remarks

Meet the Dean of Students Staff

Dean of Students Office Staff