Four to Receive Honorary Degrees from Scranton

May 13, 2009

The University of Scranton will confer three honorary degrees during its 109th Commencement Ceremony for undergraduate students on Sunday, May 31, at the Wachovia Arena at Casey Plaza, Wilkes-Barre. Honorary Degrees of Humane Letters will be conferred to Rob Kapilow; Sr. Therese O'Rourke, IHM and Rev. John P. McNamee. Leo Moskovitz will receive an honorary degree at the Commencement Ceremony for graduate students on Saturday, May 30, in the Byron Recreation Complex on the University’s campus.

Rob Kapilow is an award-winning classical music conductor, composer and commentator. His long-running "What Makes it Great" series, which debuted on NPR 15 years ago, is now in its 14th season of live performances in Kansas City, and entering its 12th season at New York's Lincoln's Center and at Boston's Celebrity Series. Kapilow won first place in the Fontainebleau Casadesus Piano Competition and was the second-place winner of the Antal Dorati Conductor’s Competition with the Detroit Symphony. Kapilow was a featured composer on Chicago Public Radio’s prestigious “Composers in America” series and is a recipient of an Exxon “Meet the Composer” grant and numerous ASCAP awards. He was the first composer ever to be granted the rights to set Dr. Seuss’s words to music, and his music is published exclusively by G. Schirmer. In addition, Kapilow has participated in The University of Scranton’s World Premiere Composition Series.

Sr. Therese O'Rourke, IHM, is president and CEO of the St. Joseph Center in Scranton. She also previously worked in Scranton as a social worker and counselor for Catholic Social Services and as an assistant congregation administrator and director of apostolic planning for the Sisters of IHM. She has more than two decades of experience in education as teacher, principal and assistant superintendent. Among the honors she has received for her work are the Social Worker of the Year Award, Scranton Division, Pennsylvania chapter; and the Bronze Medallion, Chapel of the Four Chaplains. 

Rev. John P. McNamee, who was ordained a priest in 1959, was the founder and is a board member of the Southwest Community Enrichment Center in Philadelphia. He was responsible for bringing Dorothy Day’s Catholic Worker Movement to Philadelphia and was instrumental in the development and reorganization of the Ludlow Youth Community Center. He is a poet and author whose writings champion the cause of the poor. His published collections of poetry include Clay Vessels” and “Endurance – The Rhythm of Faith. In addition, McNamee’s Diary of a City Priest received a Catholic Press Association Book Award and was made into a movie for Public Television that earned recognition during the New York, Philadelphia and Sundance Film Festivals.

Leo Moskovitz was a fixture in the regional financial community before he retired as president of First National Bank of Jermyn after more than 40 years of service. He was instrumental in growing the bank’s assets from less than $4 million to nearly $300 million, and increasing its presence a single location to four offices. Among his career highlights, Moskovitz was a pioneer in the promotion of women to administrative positions in the banking industry and was a key figure in establishing the North and South Vocational Technical Schools. Moskovitz studied business at Lackawanna College and later served on the college’s board of trustees, including several terms as chairman.

Back to Top