Stonehill Alum & Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley ’80 to Deliver Commencement Address
April 17, 2012
Stonehill alumnus Daniel Conley '80, the Suffolk County District Attorney since 2002, will deliver the key note address at Stonehill's 61st Commencement on Sunday, May 20. A 1980 graduate of the College, Conley will be joined by business executive William Devin '60, homeless advocate Dr. James Joseph O'Connell III and caregiver Mother Margaret Regina as honorary degree recipients.
Haley McNeel '12 was chosen as this year's student speaker.
Commencement exercises will begin at 10:00 a.m. on the College's quadrangle lawn. In the event of inclement weather, the ceremony will be held indoors at the Sally Blair Ames Sports Complex. For additional information, visit here.
Daniel Conley '80
Honorary Doctor of Laws
As the Suffolk County District Attorney, Conley is the chief law enforcement officer for the cities of Boston, Chelsea, Revere, and Winthrop in Massachusetts. Appointed to the office in February 2002, Conley was elected in his own right in November of 2002, again in November of 2006, and most recently in November of 2010.
Conley oversees the largest and busiest district attorney's office in Massachusetts, managing about 130 lawyers who prosecute between 40,000 to 50,000 criminal cases every year in the state's most densely populated, demographically diverse county. Since taking office, he has made his top priorities the protection of children and other vulnerable populations, the fairness and integrity of the criminal justice system, and the adherence to the highest ethical standards by members of his staff.
Conley has prioritized child protection efforts during his time as District Attorney. A recognized leader in the campaign against human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation, he helped draft last year's landmark legislation that presumes juveniles arrested in prostitution cases to be victims in need of services, rather than criminal offenders. That legislation was modeled on a voluntary policy Conley launched six years ago, earning him high honors last year from the Boston Initiative to Advance Human Rights.
He fought to lengthen the statute of limitations on cases of child sexual abuse, winning a 2006 legislative victory when it was extended from 15 to 27 years, and worked with Boston Mayor Thomas Menino to establish the Family Justice Center of Boston, a "one-stop shop" for the victims of child abuse, sexual assault, and intimate partner violence.
Conley has won national acclaim for the reforms and innovations he implemented to address, correct, and prevent the wrongful conviction of innocent defendants, and locally he was awarded the Boston Bar Association's 2008 Distinguished Public Service Award for these efforts. He maintains a voluntary practice of assenting to DNA testing for defendants convicted before that evidence was admissible in Massachusetts courts.
Conley has also worked to ensure the safety and security of victims and witnesses in cases of violent crime, working with key lawmakers to create a Witness Protection Fund in 2006 and strengthen existing laws on witness intimidation. That legislation has allowed Suffolk County prosecutors to protect and even relocate hundreds of individuals and families who feared retaliation for testifying in court.
Among other honors, he received the Paul Harris Award for Community Service from the West Roxbury and Roslindale Rotary Club in 2009; was named the Lawyer of the Year in 2005 by the Frank J. Murray Inn of Court for outstanding contributions to the pursuit of ethics, civility, and professionalism in the courtroom; and was presented by former prosecutors with the O'Riordan-Mundy Award in recognition of distinguished service to the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office, the Massachusetts legal community, and the citizens of the Commonwealth.
Conley is also a past recipient of Stonehill's St. Thomas More Law Society Award and the Suffolk Law School's Irish-American Law Society's Person of the Year Award. Over the years, Conley has returned to campus to talk to students and has taken part in several off-campus events hosted by the College.
Prior to taking office as Suffolk County's 14th district attorney, Conley served for eight years on the Boston City Council, serving several terms as chairman of the Council's Public Safety Committee. A career prosecutor before seeking public office, Conley served as an assistant district attorney for nine years in the office he now leads, prosecuting homicides and other serious felonies including drug trafficking, non-fatal shootings, and intimate partner violence. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, he was one of a handful of state prosecutors named to Massachusetts' first anti-gang violence task force.
Conley received his bachelor's degree in Economics from Stonehill in 1980 and his juris doctorate from Suffolk University Law School in 1983.
William Devin '60, P '88
Doctor of Business Administration
Devin enjoyed a successful 30-year career with Fidelity Investments - Capital Markets until his retirement in 1996.
At Fidelity Investments, he held numerous positions, including Executive Vice President of Fidelity Capital Markets and Vice President & Head Trader/Manager in the Equity Trading Department at Fidelity Management & Research Co.
He is currently Chairman of the Board of the VALIC Mutual Funds and a Trustee of AIG SunAmerica Retail Asset Management. From 1985 through 1996, he served as Vice Chair of the Boston Stock Exchange.
Devin has enjoyed a close relationship with the College for over five decades. He is a member of Stonehill's Century Club, President's Club, and President's Council. He was also a member of the Campaign Executive Committee for "Attaining the Summit: The Campaign for Stonehill College." He has been a Trustee at Stonehill since 1994 and was elected Vice-Chair of the Board in spring 2007.
In 1980, he received Stonehill's President's Award for Excellence. His wife Susan '04 is a graduate of Stonehill as is their daughter Kathleen (Devin) Garvey '88.
Dr. James J. O'Connell III
Doctor of Humanities
O'Connell helped found Boston Health Care for the Homeless (BHCHP), the nation's largest and most comprehensive health care program for the homeless, in 1985 after completing his residency at Massachusetts General Hospital.
BHCHP serves over 11,000 homeless persons each year in two hospital-based clinics and over 80 shelters and outreach sites in Boston.
In addition to serving as President of BHCHP, O'Connell also runs a busy clinical practice, spending much of his time caring for Boston's homeless population on the streets and in one of the program's hospital-based clinics.
He is nationally recognized as one of the preeminent experts on homelessness and healthcare and lectures extensively and publishes widely on the topic. He is the editor of the Manual of Communicable Diseases in Shelters - one of the most used texts on homeless healthcare. His articles have appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of the American Medical Association, Circulation, the Journal of Clinical Ethics, and several other medical journals.
He is on the faculty of Harvard Medical School, Harvard School of Public Health, and Boston University School of Medicine.
From 1989 until 1996, O'Connell served as the National Program Director of the Homeless Families Program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, an early "housing first" model dedicated to homeless families in nine cities across the country.
In 2009, he received the J.H. Kanter which recognizes physicians for their "tireless efforts and creativity" in developing ways to eliminate health disparities and improve health care throughout the United States.
O'Connell graduated from the University of Notre Dame and went on to earn his medical degree at Harvard Medical School and a master's degree in philosophy and theology from Cambridge University in England.
Mother Margaret Regina
Doctor of Humane Letters
At a young age, Mother Margaret Regina understood her vocation and responded to a call to give her life to God. In 1964 she entered the Little Sisters of the Poor, and professed the vows of poverty, chastity, obedience and hospitality.
Today the Little Sisters of the Poor serve in 31 countries around the world, continuing their care for the elderly.
For almost 20 years, Sister Margaret has served her community as Provincial Superior, assuming responsibility for 12 homes for the elderly in both the U.S. Eastern and Western Provinces at various times.
Studies in nursing, as well as in Health Care Administration have helped her to serve the elderly well. Her focus, in all the various capacities in which she has served has been to provide dignity and comfort to the elderly poor.
Born in Southwest Philadelphia in 1945, she attended West Catholic High School, graduating in 1963. She is now a member of West Catholic's Hall of Fame.
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