Four to Receive Honorary Degrees at May 27 Ceremony

Four to receive honorary degrees at the University’s undergraduate commencement ceremony May 27.
Sister Ann Walsh, I.H.M., William Whitaker, Cecelia Lynett Haggerty, and Most Reverend George V. Murry, S.J., Ph.D., will receive honorary degrees from The University of Scranton at its undergraduate commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 27.
Sister Ann Walsh, I.H.M., William Whitaker, Cecelia Lynett Haggerty, and Most Reverend George V. Murry, S.J., Ph.D., will receive honorary degrees from The University of Scranton at its undergraduate commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 27.

The University of Scranton will bestow honorary degrees upon Sister Ann Walsh, I.H.M., former CEO and current assistant director of Friends of the Poor; William Whitaker, founding president of the Washington Jesuit Academy, Washington. D.C.; Cecelia Lynett Haggerty, former University trustee and Times-Shamrock Communications; and Most Reverend George V. Murry, S.J., Ph.D., Bishop of the Diocese of Youngstown, Ohio, at its undergraduate commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 27. Bishop Murry also will serve as principal speaker at the ceremony.

At its graduate commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 26, the University will bestow an honorary degree upon Peter J. Danchak ’84, regional president, PNC Bank, Northeast Pennsylvania, who will serve as the principal speaker at that ceremony.

Sister Walsh has dedicated more than 50 years of her life to service in Northeast Pennsylvania. From 2010 to 2017, she served as CEO of Friends of the Poor, a nonprofit, charitable organization that provides members of the community with basic human needs such as food, clothing and emergency assistance. She continues to work for that organization as assistant director

Prior to joining Friends of the Poor, Sister Walsh directed the Mother-Infant Program at St. Joseph’s Center for nearly a decade. She has also served as health/wellness coordinator at IHM Center in Scranton, as vice president for planning at Maxis Health System in Carbondale and as vice president of operations at Marian Community Hospital in Carbondale. Previously, she served as director of physical therapy at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Carbondale, and Marian Convent, Scranton and was a staff physical therapist at Divine Providence Hospital, Williamsport. Sister Walsh was also an elementary school teacher at St. Matthew School, East Stroudsburg,

Among numerous awards and honors, Sister Walsh recently received the 2017 Distinguished Honor Award from the Greater Scranton MLK Commission. In 2016, she was inducted into Alpha Sigma Nu National Jesuit Honor Society, and received the Pedro Arrupe, S.J. Award for Distinguished Contributions to Ignatian Mission and Ministry from The University of Scranton on behalf of her work with the Friends of the Poor. Keystone College honored her service with the Margaretta Belin Chamberlin Award in 2015 and an honorary degree in 2017.

Sister Walsh received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Marywood University and a certification in physical therapy from the School of Allied Medical Professions at the University of Pennsylvania.

In 2002, Whitaker began to serve as the founding president of the new Washington Jesuit Academy, a tuition-free, Catholic middle school for boys in grades five to eight from low-income communities throughout the Washington, D.C. region. Guided by Jesuit principles, the school provides “a high quality and comprehensive education” in a “safe, rigorous academic setting and advancing their spiritual, intellectual, emotional and physical growth,” as stated on the academy’s website. The Washington Jesuit Academy operates on an extended school year with longer school days and provides its students with meals, tutoring by local professionals and additional support. Nearly all of its graduates gain admittance to the area’s most highly-regarded private high schools and top boarding schools.

In recognition of his success, Whitaker was named a 2016 Washingtonian of the Year by the Washingtonian magazine. Prior to his work at Washington Jesuit Academy, Whitaker was the basketball coach and director of admissions and assistant dean of students at Gonzaga College High School in Washington D.C.

Whitaker earned his bachelor’s degree from Acadia University. He served as chair for the board of the Nativity/Miguel Network of Schools in addition to having served on the board of Ignatian Volunteer Corps.  He currently serves on the boards of three schools in Maryland: the St. Ignatius Loyola Academy, Connelly School of the Holy Child and Mater Dei School.

For decades, the Lynett-Haggerty family, owners of Times-Shamrock Communications, has generously supported the University. Cecelia Haggerty served as a University Trustee, as did her husband, the late James J. Haggerty, J.D., who was also board chair. Their son, Matthew E. Haggerty, Esq., currently serves as a University Trustee. She served as a chair for the University’s Annual Fund. The Haggerty-Lynett family also created The Times-Shamrock Communications Scholarship at the University. In 2012, she and other members of the Lynett- Haggerty Family received the University’s President’s Medal at the President’s Business Council Eleventh Annual Award Dinner in recognition of the family’s steadfast support.

Haggerty is a graduate of Marywood Seminary and Trinity College, Washington, D.C., where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree. She was employed as a staff writer for Associated Press in Philadelphia and the Scranton Times.

A member of St. Paul’s Parish, Green Ridge, Haggerty has served as a teacher for the parish Confraternity of Christian Doctrine. She has been active in the United Way of Lackawanna County, and she has held memberships in the Sant’ Andrea Society, Lackawanna and Pennsylvania Association of Lawyers’ Wives and St. Joseph’s Children and Maternity Hospital’s Auxiliary. She also served on the board of trustees of the College of the Holy Cross.

Bishop Murry is a member of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and currently serves as chair of its Committee Against Racism. Prior to his service as Bishop of the Diocese of Youngstown, which began in 2007, Bishop Murry served as Bishop of St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands and Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago. For 20 years previously, he worked as a teacher and administrator in Catholic education, serving as associate vice president for academic affairs at the University of Detroit-Mercy, president of Archbishop Carroll High School in Washington, D.C., assistant professor of American studies at Georgetown University and as a faculty member and dean of student activities at Gonzaga College High School, Washington, D.C.

Bishop Murry has served on numerous boards including of Catholic Relief Services, Saint Joseph’s University, the University of Detroit, Fairfield University and Mount Saint Mary’s College. As a member of the USCCB, he also served as secretary of the Conference, chairman of the Committee on Priorities and Plans.

A native of Camden, New Jersey, Bishop Murry attended Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia; St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield, Connecticut; and St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore, Maryland, where he earned his bachelor’s degree. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1972 and was ordained for the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus on June 9, 1979. He earned a Master of Divinity degree from the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley and a doctorate in American cultural history from George Washington University.

The University of Scranton’s undergraduate commencement ceremony will be held at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza, Wilkes-Barre, on Sunday, May 27, at noon.

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