Announcing the 2017 Commencement Speaker: NBC’s Anne Thompson

March 23, 2017


Stonehill is proud to announce that the Chief Environmental Affairs correspondent for NBC News, Anne Thompson, has been named as the speaker for the College’s 66th Commencement on Sunday, May 21 at 10:00 a.m. on the main quadrangle.

Over the course of her career, Thompson has led national coverage on Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, the Catholic Church, and the Martha Stewart trial. She has also served as NBC’s Chief Financial correspondent and has won numerous awards including the Gerald Loeb Award and an Emmy.

Joining Thompson in receiving honorary degrees from Stonehill will be JoAnn Burton, co-founder of the Burton Training Village for at risk youth, Bishop Arthur “Bud” Colgan, C.S.C. ’68, the auxiliary bishop of the diocese of Chosica in Lima, Peru, and Robert Simpson ’93, president and chief executive officer of LeeSar and Cooperative Services of Florida.

For more details about the ceremony, including information for family and friends, visit here.

Anne Thompson

On Commencement day, Thompson will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the College.

Thompson began her journalism career in 1979 at WNDU-TV in South Bend, Indiana and today she is an award-winning national correspondent whose reports appear across all platforms of NBC News. In 2006, she received the Gerald Loeb Award, which recognizes excellence in journalism, especially in the fields of business, finance and the economy. She was also part of the Nightly News team that won the Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia Journalism Award and an Emmy for coverage of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath.

Thompson first became a national correspondent for NBC News in 1997 and later served as the Chief Financial correspondent from 2005 to 2007, covering issues such as the economic impact of Hurricane Katrina and the Martha Stewart trial. Since 2007, she has served as the Chief Environmental correspondent; she has also covered the Catholic Church including former Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis.

In 1979, Thompson received her B.A. from the University of Notre Dame. Today, she serves on ND’s board of trustees and, in 2014, delivered the 2014 Commencement address at her alma mater.

JoAnn Burton

On Commencement day, Burton will receive an honorary Doctor of Humanities from the College.

A humanitarian, Burton was born into a family active in the civil rights movement and, building on that legacy, her life has been devoted to helping at risk youth through the Ron Burton Training Village (RBTV), which she and her late husband, Ron, started in 1985.

RBTV has served thousands of young people, helping them with their spiritual, physical and educational growth. It holds free summer camps for disadvantaged inner-city youths and a 5-week sports camp program for young men aged 11 to 18 every summer in Hubbardston, Massachusetts. Stonehill is one of three colleges which offer two full scholarships to RBTV campers who have completed six years of growth and commitment through the program. So far, 20 RBTV gradautes have received Stonehill scholarships.

Following Ron Burton’s passing in 2003, JoAnn, along with her children, Ron Jr. Paul, Phil, Steve, and Elizabeth, continued his remarkable legacy. In 2013, Stonehill presented its President’s Award for Excellence to the Burton Family for the powerful and positive impact they have had on young women and men who otherwise would be overlooked by society.

Bishop Arthur Colgan, C.S.C.

On Commencement day, Colgan will receive an honorary Doctor of Theology from the College.

A member of the Class of 1968, Bishop Colgan is the first Stonehill alumnus to become a bishop in the Catholic Church. Appointed by Pope Francis in 2015, he serves as the auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Chosica in the ecclesiastical province of Lima, Peru. Bishop Colgan has spent much of his religious life serving the Church in its outreach to the underserved and displaced in Peru.

Bishop Colgan has served in a variety of pastoral and administrative roles, including Provincial Superior of the Eastern Province of the Congregation of Holy Cross, Superior of the Congregation in Peru, Episcopal Vicar for the Archdiocese of Lima. Most recently, he served as the Vicar General of Chosica Diocese. In addition to his service on Stonehill's Board of Trustees, he also served on the Board of Holy Cross Family Ministries.

Born in Dorchester and raised in Stoughton, Bishop Colgan attended Boston College High School and spent one year at Boston College before transferring to Stonehill. In 1993, Bishop Colgan received the College’s Outstanding Alumnus Award in recognition of his dedication to building a church that ministers to the poor. The citation in his honor hailed him as "a man of hope in a time of tribulation.” In addition to his degree from Stonehill, he holds a licentiate in sacred theology from the Pontifical Catholic University in Chile, which he received in 1973.

Robert Simpson

On Commencement day, Simpson will receive an honorary Doctor of Business Administration from the College.

Simpson, an executive and philanthropist, is a pioneer in medical supply distribution, serving as the President and Chief Executive Officer of LeeSar and Cooperative Services of Florida. Leaders in healthcare supply chain management, LeeSar is the operational component of this non-profit venture, while Cooperative Services of Florida is the corporate entity for product research, negotiation and contract management.

After serving as a medic in the U.S. Army, Simpson became the Director of Operations for Northeast Red Cross Blood Service in 1976. During the blizzard of 1978, he was responsible for ensuring that the blood supply kept moving while New England was buried under snow. In 1982, he joined Tufts University, where he led the building and development of the first USDA Human Nutrition Center. From 1984 to 1994, he served as Vice President of Materials Management at Neponset Valley Health System. At the same time, he was enrolled at Stonehill on a part-time basis, earning his degree in Healthcare Administration in 1993.

Thanks to the efforts of Simpson, the Healthcare Supply Chain Management Initiative at Stonehill was made possible by an initial grant from the Kimberly-Clark Corp. Since 2008, the initiative has given Stonehill students hands on experience through full-time summer internships in supply chain management at LeeSar in Fort Meyers, Florida.

In 1995, in memory of their son, who was killed by a drunk driver, Simpson and his wife Linda created Project Perfect World, which takes medical teams around the world to provide free surgery for children in need. In 2015, he and Linda received the Servitor Pacis Award, which is awarded each year by the Path to Peace Foundation, an organization affiliated with the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations. Past recipients of this award include world leaders such as Lech Walesa, Corazon Aquino and Kofi Annan.