VILLANOVA, Pa. – The Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD, Villanova University president, announced that Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg L.P., three-term mayor of New York City, entrepreneur and philanthropist, will address the Class of 2017 as the University’s commencement speaker. Bloomberg will also receive the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa. The University’s 174th commencement will be held Friday, May 19, at 4 p.m. in the Villanova Stadium.
In addition, honorary degrees will be awarded to: Anne Welsh McNulty, co-founder and managing partner of JBK Partners, a Villanova alumna and a former trustee whose gift to the University established the Anne Welsh McNulty Institute for Women's Leadership; the Rev. Wally Kasuboski, OFM, a Capuchin missionary priest who has spent almost 30 years working to improve infrastructure and access to clean water in rural Panama; and Irwin Medway, a Villanova student since 1993, World War II veteran and Purple Heart recipient.
Commencement Speaker and Honorary Degree Recipient:
Michael R. Bloomberg is an entrepreneur and philanthropist who served as mayor of New York City for three terms from 2002 to 2013. The technology startup he launched in 1981 to provide real-time data and analysis to the financial services industry has grown into a global company, Bloomberg L.P., that now employs more than 19,000 people in 73 countries. He led the company for 20 years before entering public service full time. Since leaving City Hall, he has resumed leadership of Bloomberg L.P.
Bloomberg was elected mayor of New York City less than two months after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Under his leadership, the city rebounded faster and stronger than expected. His administration raised high school graduation rates by 40 percent, cut crime by a third, reduced the city’s carbon footprint by nearly 20 percent, and increased life expectancy by three years. His economic policies, which supported entrepreneurs, small businesses and emerging industries, such as technology and bioscience, helped to create a record number of jobs.
Throughout his career, Bloomberg has been strongly committed to philanthropy. His foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, employs a unique, data-driven approach to its five main areas of focus: public health, education, the environment, the arts and government innovation.
Bloomberg also leads a number of bipartisan coalitions that are taking action on urgent national and international issues, including climate change, illegal guns, immigration reform and infrastructure investment. He has served as the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change, and in 2016 he was named the World Health Organization’s Global Ambassador for Noncommunicable Diseases.
Bloomberg graduated from Johns Hopkins University and Harvard Business School.
Honorary Degree Recipients:
Anne Welsh McNulty is the co-founder and managing partner of JBK Partners, with an investment management business and a private philanthropic foundation focused on leadership development and social change. Before starting JBK Partners, she was a managing director of Goldman Sachs and a senior executive of the Goldman Sachs Hedge Fund Strategies Group. McNulty will receive the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.
McNulty has deep ties to Villanova, where she, her father, her uncle and all five of her siblings attended. The valedictorian of the Class of 1975 and an editor of The Villanovan, she served as a member of Villanova’s Board of Trustees from 2006 to 2015. McNulty also spurred the creation of an Institute for Women’s Leadership at Villanova that will launch in October 2017, fostering women’s advancement as leaders through innovative research, education programs, advocacy and community-building.
McNulty and her late husband, John, met at Cardinal O’Hara High School in Springfield, Pa., and began a 37-year partnership, supporting each other’s careers and raising three children. Since his untimely death in 2005, McNulty has greatly expanded the mission she began with John to enable young people to grow as high-impact leaders. Under her leadership, the McNulty Foundation has established several initiatives in John’s name to support individuals who strive to make a difference in the world, most notably the John P. McNulty Prize, which honors global leaders solving some of the world’s most intractable challenges.
As a woman who has broken barriers herself, McNulty advocates for increasing the presence of women in leadership in every sector. In addition to the creation of the Anne Welsh McNulty Institute for Women’s Leadership at Villanova, the McNulty Scholars programs at Hunter College and St. Joseph’s University propel young women toward leadership roles in fields related to math and science.
McNulty serves on the Board of Trustees of the Aspen Institute and on the Board of Overseers of the Wharton School. She is also a member of the Advisory Council for the Harvard Kennedy School’s Mossavar-Rahmani Center, a member of the boards of the Child Mind Institute in New York and the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia, and a trustee of the Naples Winter Wine Festival, which benefits children’s charities in Collier County, Fla. McNulty earned her MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where the newly named McNulty Leadership Program is pushing the boundaries in the field of leadership and teamwork education.
The Rev. Walter “Wally” Kasuboski, OFM, is a Capuchin missionary priest who directs a number of infrastructure and social development projects for the poor and disenfranchised in Panama. Father Wally, as he is known in the United States, or Padre Pablo, as he is known in Panama, has worked as a missionary priest in the rural Alto Bayano region of Panama for the past 28 years. He serves as an advocate for impoverished communities, spearheading a vast array of projects that have helped improve the region’s access to clean water, education, health and infrastructure. Father Wally will receive the degree of Doctor of Humanities, honoris causa.
Father Wally’s work shares a personal connection with Villanova. For the past 25 years, Villanova Engineering students and faculty have traveled to Panama to assist on numerous projects related to his mission. Father Wally serves as an inspiration for how one can live out his or her faith. He demonstrates the principles of Catholic Social Teaching by living in solidarity with the communities in which he works and by fighting for the lives and dignity of the people who live there. Father Wally strives to protect the poor and vulnerable by working tirelessly to secure clean water, education and opportunities for them. Some of his notable accomplishments include bringing potable water to approximately 5,000 people in 14 villages with the largest rural water system in Panama; building schools, churches and chapels; and constructing bridges and roads across the region.
Father Wally earned a degree in theology from the St. Francis School of Pastoral Ministry in Milwaukee, Wis. He went on to earn a law degree from the Antioch School of Law in Washington, D.C., and was ordained a Capuchin priest in 1974. In his early years of ministry, Father Wally served in Nicaragua and on US Indian reservations; acted as the bishop’s vicar for Spanish-speaking people in the Diocese of Saginaw, Mich.; assisted migrants and lobbied for approval of the Panama Canal Treaty in Washington, D.C.; and served as pastor for an Ojibwa parish in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
For his humanitarian efforts, Father Wally has received numerous recognitions and awards. These include the Distinguished American Award, given to American citizens who live in Panama and positively impact image of the US to Panamanians; the Vasco Nunez de Balboa Award, the most prestigious award a civilian can be given in Panama; and the 2016 Hero of Panama Award.
Irwin Medway has been a student at Villanova University since 1993. He has taken at least one or two courses at Villanova every semester for the past 24 years. Medway, who will turn 94 in September, enrolled at Villanova in the 1990s as part of the Senior Citizen Personal Enrichment Program, which allows adults 65 or older to take courses for personal enrichment, instead of for credit. During his years as a Villanova student, he has not earned a degree, but he has tirelessly pursued his passion for learning. In honor of Villanova’s 175th anniversary, the University will bestow the degree of Doctor of Humanities, honoris cause, upon Medway—one of Villanova’s longest-running students.
Medway’s collegiate story began while he was served in the US Army. Through the Army Specialized Training Program—a military training program instituted by the Army during World War II to meet wartime demands for junior officers and soldiers with technical skills—he was able to take college classes, first at St. Bonaventure University and later at Rutgers University. However, he was reassigned to combat before he could finish his studies. For his service during World War II, Medway received the Purple Heart, a Bronze Star and five other awards for combat and infantry service. After he was discharged from the military, Medway had the opportunity to either finish a degree with the assistance of the GI Bill or go to work. Ultimately, he chose to go to work.
In the years that followed, Medway tried to continue his studies. He took night classes at Syracuse University, where he was relocated for his job, but he never completed his degree. After retiring from his marketing job at Columbia Records in 1982, he started a new job. Several years later, Medway decided to begin taking classes at Villanova, and he hasn’t stopped since.
Medway estimates that he has been taught by more than 40 professors during his time at Villanova, including Father Donohue, then a professor in the Theatre Department and now Villanova president. Each semester, Medway spends a great deal of time investigating and selecting the classes he takes. He tries to only take classes that allow him to bring his wife of 72 years, Corrine (Chickie), to and from her job.