Commencement Archives

Past Livestreams and Commencement Address

President's Commencement Remarks

Past Commencement Programs

Honorary Degree Recipients


Joan Mikula
Over the course of her 35-year tenure with The Massachusetts Department of Mental Health, which culminated in 2015 upon being appointed Commissioner, Joan Mikula influenced public policy and created pathways toward success for individuals experiencing mental health challenges. Her legacy of commitment, creativity, passion and advocacy has been buoyed by an unwavering belief in the individual’s potential for change and growth. As a leader in the fight for mental health parity, Joan witnessed sweeping change over the course of three decades. Today, her advocacy continues at a community level with the Newton Wellesley Hospital and the Massachusetts Association of Mental Health.

Michael Curry
Michael Curry, Esq. brings 30+ years of experience in civil rights advocacy, health reform and health equity to his role as President and CEO of the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers. In the early days of the pandemic, he was appointed to the Health Equity Task Force and the COVID-19 Vaccine Working Group. Widespread recognition for his leadership and advocacy includes the 2022 Trailblazer Award from the Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association and a 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network (in recognition of 25 years of service to the NAACP). 

Andy Pond
Andy Pond has served as the President and CEO of the Justice Resource Institute (JRI)  since 2006. He holds master's degrees in both Social Work and Teaching.  He joined JRI in 1985 as a teacher and has been a part of the agency ever since. In the course of his varied career, he assumed roles of increasing responsibility and complexity, including many years dedicated to work with adolescents suffering from the effects of complex trauma. He has built a cohesive team of exceptionally talented leaders at JRI, whose commitment to the mission has established the agency as a leader in social justice.  


Joseph D Feaster Jr, Esq is a practicing attorney, President of Feaster Enterprises, and board member for many mental health and social justice advocacy groups. Feaster has dedicated his personal and professional life to mental health advocacy work following the tragic loss of his son, Joseph D. Feaster III, by suicide. He is committed to addressing mental health stigma and increasing access to mental health care, particularly in communities of color. 

Karen E Spilka has served as Massachusetts Senate President since 2018 and has represented the 2nd Middlesex and Norfolk District which includes Ashland, Framingham, Franklin, Holliston, Hopkinton, Medway, and Natick in the senate since 2005. During her time in office, she has advocated for and helped pass policies for diverse social issues including mental healthcare, juvenile justice, educational equity, and services for the elderly.  

Michael Carroll, is a respected philanthropist, author, nonprofit innovator, and photographer. He is most widely known for his 1990 photographs of Romanian orphanages published in the Boston Globe and the New York Times. Deeply moved by what he witnessed, Carroll helped establish Romanian Children's Relief and Fundatia Inocenti, two partner non-profit charities dedicated to improving the lives of Romanian children and families in need.


Dr. Joseph Betancourt, Senior Vice President of Equity and Community Health at Massachusetts General Hospital, an Internal Medicine physician, the Founder of the Disparities Solution Center at MGHB, an international expert on healthcare disparities and cross-cultural medicine, and the author of more than 60 publications including a contribution to the landmark Institute of Medicine Publication, Unequal Treatment and Increasing Diversity in the Healthcare Workforce. 


Dr. Elyn Saks, an endowed professor at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law, MacArthur Scholar, and noted author and public speaker who has publicly shared her personal story of recovery challenges with and the stigma that surrounds major mental illness.


A. Kathryn Power, MEd, an advocate within the federal government and across the region for individuals with substance use disorders for many years and a leading voice on behavioral health policies.

Michael Botticelli, MEd, one of the nation's leading experts on addiction and substance use disorders and a leader in the response to the national opioid epidemic.

Thea L. James, MD, a founding member of the National Network of Hospital-Based Violence Intervention Advocacy Programs who led efforts under Boston Mayor Thomas Menino to increase the expectations placed on community health advocates to ensure better outcomes for patients.


Benaree (Bennie) Pratt Wiley, MBA, Principal of the Wiley Group, esteemed leader, author and speaker on diversity and race relations in America.

Rev. Drs. Ray Hammond and Gloria White-Hammond, for their dedication to improving the lives of at-risk youth.

Ethan Pollack, PhD, associate professor and core faculty, William James College clinical psychology.


Margot Stern Strom, founder, president emerita and senior scholar at Facing History and Ourselves, an international organization that teaches students about hatred and bigotry so they can stop both from happening in the future.

James Roosevelt, Jr., advisor to the CEO and board of directors of Tufts Health Plan (THP), who led THP to become the largest qualified health plan on the Massachusetts Affordable Care Act marketplace and the largest Medicare Advantage Plan in New England.

Robert Lewis, Jr., founder and President of The BASE and the visionary behind StreetSafe Boston, the only privately funded gang program in the country aimed at reducing gun violence.


Joan Wallace-Benjamin, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Office for The Home for Little Wanderers, is a leader in innovative programming for underserved populations and an advocate for all children.

Lyndia Downie, BA., who has reduced the number of homeless individuals on the streets of Boston by over 30 percent, through her work in creating permanent supportive housing.

Augustus A. White, III, M.D., Ph.D., for his commitment to direct patient care, issues of diversity, and health care disparities.


Martha Coakley, J.D., a passionate advocate for public safety and the first female Attorney General of Massachusetts.

Kevin Cullen, a columnist for the Boston Globe.


Kenneth R Feinberg, J.D., for his dedication to resolving many of our nation’s most challenging and widely known disputes through litigation.

Francis R Carroll, a United States Navy Korean War Veteran and lifelong humanitarian, who dedicated his life to small business advocacy, veteran’s affairs, and community service.

Swanee Hunt, Th.D., a lifelong advocate for mental health reform, affordable housing, and women’s leadership.


Ladda Tammy Duckworth, M.A., an American hero who survived combat wounds as an Army helicopter pilot in Iraq, for her commitment to increasing programs and support for veterans.

Ronald C. Kessler, Ph.D., who has contributed over 500 scientific publications in psychiatry, specifically on the prevalence and correlates of mental disorders.

Anthony R. Jimenez, MA, MS., for his leadership, guidance, and personal involvement in organizations that provide assistance to America’s veterans and our country’s Latinx Communities.

Terrence M. Keane, Ph.D., who has devoted his professional life to the care and treatment of those who suffer from PTSD.

Janice Furtado, BS, MS, while a doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology Department, tragically died of an autoimmune disorder. In her all too brief life, Janice was among the student-veterans who helped create the Military Veterans Psychology (MVP) program.


David Satcher, M.D, Ph.D., Surgeon General from 1998-2002, for his commitment to fight against health disparities in the mental health system.

Thomas M. Menino, Mayor of Boston (1993-2014), for his tireless work in revitalizing the city of Boston and advocating for social justice.

Richard (Rif) Freedman. M.Ed, O.P.M., a business leader and philanthropist whose generous gift to the college reflected his strong commitment to helping children in need of mental health care.

Hortensia Amaro, Ph.D., who, through her research on substance use in adolescent girls, HIV/AIDS prevention, and drug abuse treatment, developed sustainable services in community-based settings.


Thomas G. Kelley, a Vietnam veteran and a recipient of the Medal of Honor and the Purple Heart.

Alvin Poussaint, M.D., an internationally renowned civil rights activist and an expert on race relations in America.

Mary Bonauto, ESQ., for her dedication to the LGBTQ community and issues of employment discrimination, free speech, and civil rights.


Gerald Chertavian, founder of The Year Up program, for his commitment to working with urban youth.

Shani Dowd, BA, LCSW, for her contributions and dedication in training culturally competent psychologists.

Richard F. Mollica, M.D, MAR, a leader in the treatment and rehabilitation of survivors of mass violence and torture.