Philadelphia Archbishop Nelson J. Pérez, D.D. to Deliver Villanova University’s 2024 Commencement Address

Archbishop Pérez will be awarded an honorary degree at the May 17 Commencement Ceremony

Philadelphia Archbishop Nelson J. Pérez, D.D.  to Deliver Villanova University’s 2024 Commencement Address

VILLANOVA, Pa. (April 25, 2024) – The Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD, Villanova University President, announced that Philadelphia Archbishop the Most Revered Nelson J. Pérez, D.D., will address the Class of 2024 as the University’s commencement speaker. Archbishop Pérez will also receive the degree of Doctor of Sacred Letters, honoris causa. The University’s 181st commencement will be held Friday, May 17, at 2:30 p.m., in Villanova Stadium. In the event of severe weather, the ceremony will be held indoors in the Finneran Pavilion.

Note: For the livestream of Commencement, click here.

About Most Reverend Nelson J. Pérez, D.D.

Most Reverend Nelson J. Pérez, D.D., was appointed as the 14th Bishop and 10th Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia by Pope Francis in January 2020. Archbishop Pérez's pastoral vision, rooted in Pope Francis' Apostolic Exhortation "The Joy of the Gospel," can be summarized as, "Church on Mission: Proactive, Involved, Supportive, Fruitful, and Joyful."

Archbishop Pérez has strong ties to the Philadelphia area, with over two decades of experience and work in the region. He earned two master's degrees at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood and was ordained as a priest for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in 1989. His first assignment after ordination to the priesthood was as parochial vicar of Saint Ambrose Parish in Philadelphia. He later served as Pastor of Saint William Parish in Philadelphia and Saint Agnes Parish in West Chester. Committed to education, Archbishop Pérez has taught courses at LaSalle University and Saint Charles Seminary.

Archbishop Pérez was born in Miami, Fla., and grew up in a Cuban neighborhood in West New York, N.J. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Montclair State University in 1983.

During his time in the priesthood, Archbishop Pérez has strengthened relations with Latino communities across the region. He served as the Episcopal Vicar for Hispanic Ministry, overseeing 54 parishes with pastoral ministry to Hispanics, as well as Formation Programs and Ecclesial Movements.

Archbishop Pérez has also served in various positions within the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. He was the Chair of the Bishops' Standing Committee on Cultural Diversity, chaired the Bishops' Sub-Committee for Hispanic Affairs, and served as the lead Bishop for the V Encuentro process for the USCCB. He also served as a member of the Bishops' Sub-Committee for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development and on the Administrative and the Religious Liberty Committees for the USCCB.

In 1998, Archbishop Pérez was named Chaplain to His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, with the title of Monsignor. In 2009, he was named a Prelate of Honor by Pope Benedict XVI. Three years later, he was appointed as the Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, N.Y., and was ordained as a Bishop. As the Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, Bishop Pérez served as Episcopal Vicar for the Eastern Vicariate, representing the Diocesan Ordinary. In 2017, Pope Francis appointed Bishop Pérez as the 11th Bishop of the Diocese of Cleveland.

Currently, Archbishop Pérez serves as the bishop liaison for the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry (NFCYM) and he was appointed to the Pontifical Commission for Latin America. He also presently serves as the Chair of the Board of Catholic Relief Services.

About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's six colleges—the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing, the College of Professional Studies and the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law. Ranked among the nation’s top universities, Villanova supports its students’ intellectual growth and prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them. For more, visit