2017 Speakers & Honorary Degree Recipients

Gina McCarthy
Undergraduate Ceremony Speaker

Gina McCarthyGina McCarthy has been a leading advocate for common-sense strategies to protect public health and the environment. McCarthy was appointed in 2013 by President Obama as Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency after having served in his first term as the agency's Assistant Administrator in the Office of Air and Radiation. Previously, McCarthy served as the Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection after having worked in Massachusetts as Undersecretary in the Office of Commonwealth Development and the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs. During her career, which spans over 30 years, she has worked at all levels of government to take action on critical environmental issues and coordinate policies on economic growth, energy, transportation and the environment.

McCarthy received a Bachelor of Arts in Social Anthropology from the University of Massachusetts at Boston and a joint Master of Science in Environmental Health Engineering and Planning and Policy from Tufts University.

McCarthy lives in the Greater Boston area with her husband and spends as much time as she can with her three children Daniel, Maggie and Julie.

Darren Walker
Graduate Ceremony Speaker

Darren WalkerDarren Walker is President of the Ford Foundation, the nation’s second largest philanthropy, and for two decades has been a leader in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. He led the philanthropy committee that helped bring a resolution to the city of Detroit’s historic bankruptcy and chairs the U.S. Impact Investing Alliance. Prior to joining Ford, he was Vice President at the Rockefeller Foundation where he managed the rebuild New Orleans initiative after Hurricane Katrina. In the 1990s, as COO of Harlem’s largest community development organization, the Abyssinian Development Corporation, Darren oversaw a comprehensive revitalization program of central Harlem, including over 1,000 new units of housing. He had a decade long career in international law and finance at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton and UBS. He is a member of the Commission on the Future of Riker’s Island and serves on the boards of Carnegie Hall, New York City Ballet, the High Line, the Arcus Foundation and PepsiCo. Educated exclusively in public schools, Darren received the “Distinguished Alumnus Award,” the highest honor given by his alma mater, the University of Texas at Austin. In 2016, TIME magazine named him to its annual list of the “100 Most Influential People in the World.” He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the recipient of ten honorary degrees and university awards.

Honorary Degree Recipients

Masayo KodamaMasayo Kodama, Founder and President, Reborn Kyoto Project, Japan. To be honored for pioneering social entrepreneurship for women in Japan. At Reborn Kyoto, Japanese women gather old kimonos, disassemble them and take the beautiful old materials to poor, remote villages in such places as Cambodia. There, the Japanese women teach local women how to sew and make Western style clothes that are ultimately sold at charity benefits in Japan and the United States. Completed goods may also be seen and bought at the Reborn Kyoto store in Kyoto.

Dr. Judith BradfordJudith Bradford, Co-Chair of the Fenway Institute at Fenway Health (posthumous). To be honored for her lifelong advocacy and groundbreaking contributions to research on the health of sexual and gender minority populations, including people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT). Dr. Bradford’s advocacy changed the way LGBT health research is valued at the national level, as evidenced by her ascension as the first LGBT member appointed to the National Advisory Council on Minority Health and Health Disparities. Dr. Bradford passed away on February 11, 2017 at her home in Marblehead, MA.