Graduate Student Ceremony: May 25, 2017; Undergraduate Student Ceremony: May 26, 2017

Maps & Directions

Honorary Degree & Chancellor’s Medal Recipients

2016 Honorary Degree and Chancellor's Medal Recipients

The following honorees joined us at our graduate commencement ceremony on Thursday, May 26:

The Honorable Roderick L. Ireland, Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa
In 1997, Roderick L. Ireland became the first African American appointed to the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) in Massachusetts. In 2010, then-Governor Deval Patrick appointed him chief justice, making him the first African American to hold the position. In 1977, then-Governor Michael Dukakis appointed Mr. Ireland as a judge in Roxbury’s Boston Juvenile Court. He later served on the Massachusetts Appeals Court before his appointment to the SJC. In 2003, he was one of four justices to support the court’s landmark 2003 decision to legalize same-sex marriage. As chief justice, he has presided over several high-profile decisions, including a ruling that found it unconstitutional to sentence teenagers convicted of murder to life in prison without the possibility of parole. He retired in July 2014 after a 45-year legal career. He is currently a Distinguished Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Northeastern University.

Susan Akello Mboya, Doctor of Science, Honoris Causa
Susan A. Mboya is the group director of Eurasia, Africa Group (EAG) for women’s economic empowerment at Coca-Cola, and president of the Coca-Cola Africa Foundation (TCCAF). She leads the deployment of TCCAF initiatives and the 5by20 initiative, a global effort to economically empower 5 million women by the year 2020. Dr. Mboya has forged public-private partnerships with the IFC, USAID, Plan UK, DFID, Technoserve, MercyCorps, and others to help resource, fund, and provide technical expertise for the 5by20 program, raising over $116 million. To date, 5by20 has empowered more than 270,000 women in the more than 90 countries that make up the EAG. Dr. Mboya also is the founder of the Zawadi Africa Educational Fund, a 501c (3) nonprofit organization that provides young African women from disadvantaged backgrounds with scholarships at more than 65 universities in the United States and Canada.

The following honorees joined us at our undergraduate commencement ceremony on Friday, May 27:

Suzanne Lee, Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa
Educator and community leader Suzanne Lee has been organizing for equality, justice, and democracy for more than 40 years. Ms. Lee worked in the Boston Public Schools for 35 years, first as a teacher and later as a principal. She led a high-profile turnaround at the Baldwin School in Brighton, transforming a low-achieving and divided school into a national model for school improvement. She went on to head the Josiah Quincy Elementary School for 10 years. During her tenure there, the school was named one of the Best 100 Elementary Schools in Massachusetts. As a community leader, Ms. Lee helped immigrant mothers launch the first Chinese Parents Association and worked with unemployed garment workers to secure Boston’s first bilingual training programs. She also was a founding member of the Massachusetts Asian American Educators Association, and she served on the Massachusetts Advisory Council on Bilingual Education and on the English Language Learners Task Force for the Boston Public Schools.

The Honorable Louis Stokes (deceased), Doctor of Science, Honoris Causa
The late Congressman Louis Stokes, raised in Cleveland’s inner-city housing projects, rose to prominence as a lawyer and legislator, becoming a powerful figure in the fight for civil rights and social justice. In 1968, he ran for his district’s seat in the US House of Representatives, becoming the first African-American congressman from Ohio. He served 15 consecutive terms in the House before retiring in 1999. During his tenure he cofounded the Congressional Black Caucus and served on the powerful House Appropriations Committee. As chairman of the Select Committee on Assassinations, he conducted hearings on the deaths of Martin Luther King, Jr., and President John F. Kennedy. As chairman of the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct (aka Ethics), he led the investigation into the ABSCAM corruption scandal. He also chaired the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and served on the Iran-Contra investigative committee. After he retired, Congressman Stokes resumed his work as a lawyer and served on the faculty at Case Western Reserve University. On August 18, 2015, he passed away at the age of 90.