Five to Receive Honorary Degrees from Scranton

May 3, 2010

      The University of Scranton will confer five honorary degrees during its 110th Commencement Ceremony for undergraduate students on Sunday, May 30, at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza, Wilkes-Barre. At the ceremony, the University will award honorary degrees to Rev. Charles L. Currie, S.J.; John D. Dionne; Mary Beth Farrell; Carolyn Forché; and Robert T. Healey.

Rev. Charles L. Currie, S.J.       Rev. Charles L. Currie, S.J., has been president of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) since 1997. He is responsible for the overall coordination of the work of the Association. He is also the liaison between American Jesuit higher education and various officials of the Catholic Church, the Society of Jesus and higher education at large. As AJCU president, Fr. Currie promotes numerous cooperative efforts among the 28 institutions, including initiatives that focus on mission and identity, leadership and international collaboration. During his tenure, he has increased the number of AJCU conferences and developed the Jesuit Distance Education Network (JesuitNET). Following the Hurricane Katrina disaster in 2005, he coordinated a rapid response by Jesuit colleges and universities to admit more than 1,600 students from Loyola University New Orleans and other affected institutions. Fr. Currie has also served in various Jesuit higher education leadership positions, including president of Wheeling Jesuit University, president of Xavier University, special assistant to the president of Georgetown University, and rector of the Jesuit Community at Saint Joseph’s University.

Mr. John D. Dionne      John D. Dionne is senior managing director and head of Private Equity Investor Relations & Business Development for The Blackstone Group, an asset management firm that serves public pension funds, academic and charitable institutions and other investors. Before joining Blackstone in 2005, he was a partner at Bennett Restructuring Funds, a partner at Saugatuck Capital, a director of Corporate Development for Fisher Scientific International, Inc. and a public accountant at Price Waterhouse. Dionne is a graduate of the Harvard Business School and The University of Scranton, where he served as chair of the Board of Trustees. He has served on the board of directors of several companies, and has chaired and served on various creditor committees. Dionne is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) charterholder.


Mary Beth Farell       Through March 2010, Mary Beth Farrell was executive vice president of AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company, a member of the company’s Executive Management Committee and vice chair of AXA Advisors, LLC, the company’s retail distribution channel. Farrell also headed the company’s Six Sigma program in the United States. Before joining AXA Equitable, she was senior vice president and controller at GreenPoint Financial/GreenPoint Bank. In 1987, Farrell joined Citicorp/Citibank, where she held several management positions. She began her career at KPMG Peat Marwick, where she advanced to audit senior manager. Farrell is chair of The University of Scranton President’s Business Council and served on the Board of Trustees from 2002 – 2009, including two years as Vice Chair (2007 – 2009). She was also a member of the Lincoln Center Corporate Board. Farrell, a CPA, graduated with honors from The University of Scranton, earning a bachelor’s degree in accounting.


Carolyn Forche'       Carolyn Forché, an award-winning poet, translator, essayist and human rights activist, has commented on some of the most devastating social events of the 20th century. Her first book of poetry, Gathering the Tribes, won the 1975 Yale Series of Younger Poets Award. The recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, Forché traveled as part of Amnesty International to El Salvador, where she witnessed a civil war - an experience that inspired her to write The Country Between Us, a book of poems that was named the 1981 Lamont Poetry Selection and became a rare poetry bestseller. A noted translator and a teacher of poetry and literature for 35 years, she holds and directs the Lannan Chair of Poetry and Poetics at Georgetown University. Forché has received three fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, a Lannan Foundation Fellowship, and other literary and teaching awards - including the Robert Creeley Award in 2005 and The Golden Rose from the New England Poetry Club in 2008. In 1998, she was presented the Edita and Ira Morris Hiroshima Foundation Award for Peace and Culture in Stockholm, Sweden, for her work on behalf of human rights and the preservation of memory and culture.

Mr. Robert T. Healey       Robert T. Healey, founder and trustee of the Viking Yacht Company, has brought his entrepreneurial spirit to many philanthropic ventures. After practicing law in New Jersey for 25 years, Healey and his brother founded the Viking Group, a partnership that comprises the Viking Yacht Company, Viking Sport Cruisers and five other marine businesses. They also diversified into the development and management of commercial and residential real estate, financial investments, money management, oil and gas exploration and production, and high-technology software development. A lifelong, deeply felt commitment to Catholic values has led Healey to devote considerable time and resources to effecting positive change with the Church, especially in the field of education. He considers the revitalization of Catholic schools to be his personal ministry and eventual legacy. Healey has founded four charities: the International Education Foundation, the Healey Family Foundation, the Gleneayre Equestrian Program and the Children’s Resource Center. He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Saint Joseph’s University and a juris doctor from the University of Pennsylvania School of Law.

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