VILLANOVA, Pa. – The Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD, President of Villanova University, announced that United States Senator Patrick J. Toomey (R-Pa.) will address the Class of 2013 as the University’s commencement speaker. Senator Toomey will also receive the degree of Doctor of Letters, honoris causa. The University’s 170th commencement will be held on Sunday, May 19 at 10 a.m., in Villanova Stadium. In the event of severe weather, the ceremony will be held in The Pavilion.
Honorary degrees will also be awarded to John L. Carr, a long-time leader on faith and public life, who currently serves as Director of the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life at Georgetown University; Ronald M. Delany `58 VSB, Gold-Medal Winning Olympian and President of the Ireland Chapter of the Villanova University Alumni Association (VUAA); and Elizabeth F. and Jay Scott, Founders and Co-Executive Directors of Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.
COMMENCEMENT SPEAKER AND HONORARY DEGREE RECIPIENT:
Pennsylvanians elected Senator Patrick “Pat” J. Toomey to the United States Senate in 2011. The state’s junior senator, Sen. Toomey is a strong proponent of fiscal responsibility and limited government. During his short tenure, Sen. Toomey has already established himself as a leader on economic, financial services, budget and job growth issues.
Sen. Toomey authored a series of bills that became the foundation for the Jumpstart Our Business Startups or JOBS Act, which serves to ease security regulations on small and medium-sized businesses making it easier for them to raise capital and create new jobs. It received bipartisan approval by passing in the House and the Senate and was then signed into law by President Obama in April 2012.
During his first year in the Senate, Sen. Toomey was appointed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to the 12-member bipartisan Super Committee tasked with forming a deficit reduction plan. The Senator also currently serves on the Finance, Banking, Budget, and Joint Economic committees. In April 2012 Sen. Toomey was named the Chairman of the Senate Steering Committee – a coalition of Republican senators that advocates for innovative, conservative policies. Sen. Toomey is also the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Protection as well as on the Subcommittee on Social Security, Pensions and Family Policy. He also serves on several other subcommittees including Securities, Insurance and Investment; Housing, Transportation and Community Development; Healthcare; Taxation and IRS Oversight.
Prior to being elected to the Senate, Sen. Toomey served three terms as the U.S. Representative for Pennsylvania's 15th congressional district, from 1994-2004. In Congress, he was a champion for economic growth and established himself as a fiscal discipline expert.
In addition to his public service, the Senator from 2005-2009 served as President of the Club for Growth, a nonprofit organization that works to promote public policies which encourage a high-growth economy and a return to America's founding principles. He also owned and operated a small restaurant chain in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley and worked in the financial services industry for many years.
Sen. Toomey holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard University. He resides in Zionsville, Pa., with his wife, Kris, and their three children.
HONORARY DEGREE RECIPIENTS:
John L. Carr, a long-time leader at the intersection of faith and public life, will receive the degree of Doctor of Social Science, honoris causa. Carr currently serves as Director of the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. The center is a new initiative which seeks to educate, encourage and support Catholic lay leaders in carrying out their vocation in public life. Carr is also the Washington correspondent for America, the national Catholic weekly magazine.
For more than two decades, Carr served as Executive Director of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development, where he assisted the bishops in sharing, applying and advocating Catholic social teaching on a broad range of national and international issues. He has helped build the Catholic community’s capacity to defend human life and dignity and pursue justice and peace. In September 2012, Carr retired from the USCCB and spent the fall serving as a resident fellow on religion and politics at the Institute of Politics at Harvard University.
Prior to joining the USCCB, Carr was Secretary of Social Concerns for the Archdiocese of Washington; Education Director of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development; and Legislative Coordinator for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Minn. He also served as Executive Director of the White House Conference on Families under President Jimmy Carter, and as Director of the National Committee for Full Employment.
Carr currently serves as Vice Chairman of Bread for the World. He has received numerous honors from national organizations and universities, including the Vision Award from Catholic Charities USA, and has been recognized as a Hunger Hero by Bread for the World. Carr is a graduate of St. John Vianney Seminary and the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota. He and his wife, Linda, have four children and two grandchildren.
Ronald M. “Ron” Delany `58 VSB, one of Villanova University’s and Ireland’s most accomplished athletes, will receive the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa. Delany rose to international fame in 1956, when, as a 21-year-old Villanova student from Dublin, he won the gold medal in the men’s 1,500-meter final at the Summer Olympics in Melbourne.
Delany came to Villanova on an athletic scholarship and trained under legendary men’s track and field coach James “Jumbo” Elliott. Even before he competed in Melbourne, Delany had made his mark in June 1956 by becoming the seventh man to run a sub-4-minute mile, after Roger Bannister had set the precedent two years earlier.
Delany won numerous NCAA and IC4A titles. Known for his kick in the final lap of a race, Delany dominated the indoor track. From 1956 to 1959, he won 40 consecutive indoor competitions in the United States, including 33 mile races. He was the mile world record holder from 1958-62. Delany also excelled in the international arena. He earned bronze in the 1,500 at the European Athletics Championships in Stockholm in 1958 and gold in the 800-meter at the World University Games in Bulgaria in 1961.
Since the chapter’s founding in 1999, Delany has served as President of the Ireland Chapter of the Villanova University Alumni Association (VUAA). Under his leadership, the chapter has supported Villanova’s Irish Studies and track and field programs. The VUAA presented Delany with its highest honor, the St. Thomas of Villanova Alumni Medal, in 2003.
Following his retirement from athletics, Delany, who had earned a degree in Economics at Villanova, built a successful business career with Aer Lingus and the British & Irish Steam Packet Co. (B & I Line). He now manages his own marketing and public relations consultancy in Dublin. In addition, Delany has served in numerous positions, including chairman of the Irish Sports Council, and is a member of several halls of fame. In 2006, Delany received the Freedom of the City of Dublin, an honor that has been bestowed on such recipients as John F. Kennedy, Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela and Bono.
Delany and his wife, Joan, live in Carrickmines, County Dublin. They have four children and 15 grandchildren. Delany published his autobiography, Staying the Distance, in 2006.
Elizabeth F. “Liz” and Jay Scott will receive the degree of Doctors of Humanities, honoris causa. The Scotts are Co-Executive Directors of the Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation, an organization founded in the year 2000 by their then four-year-old daughter, Alexandra “Alex” Scott. Suffering from cancer, Alex decided to hold a lemonade stand to raise money to help doctors find new treatments and, ultimately, cures for all childhood cancers.
The Scotts supported Alex’s mission of finding a cure for all kids with cancer and have continued Alex’s legacy of hope after cancer eventually took her life in 2004. To date, under the Scotts’ leadership, Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation has raised more than $60 million and funded more than 275 research projects.
Beyond their work with the Foundation, the Scotts are committed to supporting efforts that examine pediatric cancer treatments and make inroads to cures. They speak frequently to groups on topics related to Alex and her inspiration, and participate on panels at national conferences. The Scotts have accepted awards recognizing Alex and the work of the Foundation from organizations such as the Philadelphia Foundation, The Philadelphia 76ers, and the Please Touch Museum.
The Scotts are the authors of the illustrated children’s book titled Alex and the Amazing Lemonade Stand. They live outside of Philadelphia with their three sons, Patrick, Eddie and Joey.
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 five colleges – the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Nursing and the Villanova University School of Law. As students grow intellectually, Villanova prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them.
*For photos of the Commencement honorees, please contact the Villanova University Media Relations Office.