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NEC Commencement Speaker Announced

Father Jonathan DeFelice, O.S.B., president emeritus of Saint Anselm College, will speak at New England College’s 67th Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 17, 2014.  Father Jonathan will speak on the value of a liberal arts education, and his long tenure of successful leadership at a liberal arts institution.  For his many contributions and service to the state, Father Jonathan will be awarded an Honorary Degree, Doctor of Humane Letters honoris causa.  The ceremony will be held at 11:00 a.m. on the Simon Green located at 98 Bridge Street, Henniker.

Father DeFelice

Father Jonathan DeFelice

“Father Jonathan is an exceptional leader in New Hampshire,” said New England College President Michele Perkins.  “We’ve worked together on a number of initiatives and I admire his commitment and loyalty to education, particularly the liberal arts.  Everyone who knows Father Jonathan knows how dedicated he is to preserving the values of higher education and to ensuring the success of college students everywhere.  I know he will be an important part of our celebration.”

“I am honored by New England College’s invitation,” said Father DeFelice.  “Commencement is an important milestone for graduates, and I look forward to celebrating their considerable accomplishments during this special ceremony.”

Father Jonathan is the longest serving college president in New Hampshire, leading Saint Anselm for over two decades.  Throughout his work he has emphasized the need for academic and extracurricular pursuits that balance with spiritual growth, and underscore the value of a liberal arts education.  A member of the Saint Anselm Class of 1969, Father Jonathan earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, served as a theology instructor, dean of students, assistant to the academic dean, dean of freshmen, as well as associate director of Campus Ministry.

Father Jonathan has served as chair of both the New Hampshire Colleges and University Council and the New Hampshire Higher Education Commission.  He served two terms as a Commissioner for the regional accrediting association, the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, and has chaired a number of accreditation visits in the region.  He was a founding member of the Board of Governors of the New Hampshire Forum on Higher Education (now NH Forum on the Future), and in 2012 New Hampshire Governor John Lynch appointed him as a director of the New England Board of Higher Education.  Nationally, Father Jonathan serves on the Board of Directors for the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, and represents the Association of Catholic College and Universities on the Board of the American Council on Education, the largest association and coordinating body for the nation’s higher education institutions.  Father Jonathan served as founding chair of Campus Compact, a state and national initiative focused on service learning.

Another special guest at Commencement will be James T. Brett, President and Chief Executive Officer of The New England Council.  Mr. Brett will be awarded an Honorary Degree, Doctor of Humane Letters honoris causa, for his exceptional leadership representing New England organizations that work together to promote economic growth and high quality of life in the region.  He has been a leading voice in advocating for public policy issues such as health care, education, financial services, and energy throughout New England and Washington, D.C.  Before joining the Council, Mr. Brett served for more than fifteen years as a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives.  He held a succession of important leadership positions, including the chairmanship of two of the most significant committees in the Massachusetts legislature, Banking and the Committee on Taxation.  In these positions, he brought together various constituencies to create economic opportunity for the Commonwealth’s citizens and businesses.