Avon CEO Sheri McCoy Named Commencement Speaker

April 24, 2013

Sheri McCoy will give the keynote address at Stonehill's 62nd Commencement ceremony on May 19.

Sheri S. McCoy, the chief executive officer and a director of Avon Products, will deliver the keynote address at Stonehill College’s 62nd Commencement on Sunday, May 19. McCoy, who serves on Stonehill’s Board of Trustees, joined Avon after a distinguished 30-year career at Johnson & Johnson. She will be joined by Northeast Utilities CEO Thomas J. May ’69 and his wife Donna M. (Jermyn) May ’70 as well as President of St. Edward’s University Dr. George E. Martin as honorary degree recipients. Frances Walsh ’13 will deliver the student address.

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.

Sheri S. McCoy – Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters
McCoy is Chief Executive Officer and Director of Avon Products, Inc., a company that has empowered and inspired women for more than 125 years. She is responsible for driving new long term growth initiatives, developing earnings opportunities for women and advancing Avon as the world’s premier direct seller of quality beauty products.

In 2011, McCoy ranked 10th on Fortune magazine's "50 Most Powerful Women in Business" list, which she has been on since 2008. She is a member of the board of FIRST, a non-profit organization created to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology. She has served on Stonehill’s Board of Trustees since 2009 and is the mother of three sons, including Matthew, a 2012 graduate of Stonehill.

A passionate advocate for customer focus and product quality, McCoy recognizes that trusted day-to-day products help make consumers’ lives healthier and better.

She believes that a great company begins with passionate and empowered people. Throughout her career, she has consistently promoted employee engagement, leadership development and diversity of thought. She is committed to Avon’s five core values of trust, respect, belief, humility and integrity. 

Prior to joining Avon, she spent 30 years at Johnson & Johnson where she rose to the position of Vice Chairman of the Executive Committee. In that role, she was responsible for the pharmaceutical and consumer business segments that represented more than 60 percent of the company’s revenues.

As the worldwide chairman of the pharmaceuticals group at Johnson & Johnson, McCoy led the organization through a major restructuring and integration effort that strengthened the product pipeline, boosted innovation and significantly improved operating efficiencies.

As the head of Johnson & Johnson’s consumer business, McCoy had oversight for the development and marketing of products that touch women’s lives every day, including Neutrogena, Aveeno, and Johnson’s Baby Oil. Additionally, she had oversight for Baby Center, the world’s leading online community for new and expecting mothers.

McCoy first joined Johnson & Johnson as a scientist in research and development in 1982, and subsequently managed businesses in every major product sector, including consumer, prescription medicines and medical devices. She had responsibility for key markets worldwide, including businesses in China and Brazil, operating responsibility for the medical device and diagnostics business in Latin America, and the global presidency of the baby and wound care consumer franchises.

Born in Quincy, Massachusetts, McCoy received a B.S. degree in textile chemistry from the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. She also earned a master's degree in chemical engineering from Princeton University and an MBA from Rutgers University. She holds five U.S. patents.

McCoy is married to Terence McCoy. They are the parents of three sons, including Matthew, a 2012 graduate of Stonehill.

Thomas J. May ’69 -Honorary Doctor of Business Administration & Donna M. (Jermyn) May ’70 – Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters
Since they met at Stonehill as students, Thomas May '69 and Donna (Jermyn) May '70 have been a dynamic duo in service to the College.

Always willing to pitch in and help where needed, they have consistently expanded and deepened their support for Stonehill's educational mission. Soon after graduation, they served as class agents. From there, they went on to rally classmates for reunions. A scholarship soon followed as did their participation in successful fundraising events. 

Elected as the Chair of Stonehill's Board of Trustees in 2007, Tom May is the Chief Executive Officer and President of Northeast Utilities, New England’s largest utility, which serves approximately 3.5 million electric and natural gas customers in 525 cities and towns across Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

In 2006, the Mays made a $1.5 million leadership gift to the Attaining the Summit campaign, becoming the first alumni to make a leadership gift of that magnitude in the College's history.  

Furthermore, in 2011, thanks to their generosity, the Thomas and Donna May Pavilion was dedicated on campus. Located on the south quad, it is a multifunctional meeting space. During the summer months, it is an event tent while during the winter it serves as a recreational skating rink. 

"Stonehill is one of our top shared interests," explains Donna May, "We both got a great education there. Tom majored in accounting while I was an English major. As students, we experienced something special at the College with excellent teachers and mentors all within a wonderfully caring community. We also made lifelong friendships, which we treasure. We really enjoy giving back and seeing Stonehill offer the same kind of opportunities we had to another generation of students."

At one point during his Stonehill education, Tom May feared he might have to leave the College because of financial hardship. However, the priests in the Congregation of Holy Cross found a way to help him, something that he has never forgotten and for which he remains grateful.

"Stonehill embraced me at a difficult time, providing support and encouragement. There was a sense of family. So it is not surprising that as a family Donna and I are so committed to the school. We work as a team and credit the success we have had in our professional and personal lives to the strong foundation we received at the College," he said.

Residents of Westwood, Massachusetts, Thomas and Donna are the parents of three children.

Dr. George Martin

Dr. George E. Martin – Honorary Doctor of Education
A leader in the field of education, Dr. Martin has worked in higher education for nearly 45 years and currently serves as President of St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas, which was founded by the Congregation of Holy Cross over a century ago.

Since Dr. Martin’s arrival in 1999, St. Edward’s has grown dramatically with enrollment rising from 3,669 in 1999 to 5,400 in 2013. The University was named an Up-and-Coming University by “U.S. News & World Report” in both 2010 and 2011.

Under Dr. Martin’s leadership, St. Edward’s has also expanded its global reach with the creation of a portal campus in Western France and partnerships with 12 universities in 10 countries, with plans for even more partnerships by 2015.

Prior to his arrival at St. Edward’s, Dr. Martin spent 30 years at St. Peter’s University in New Jersey. He began his career as an educator in 1969 when he joined St. Peter’s Political Science Department. From 1976-1985, he chaired the department.

He began his career as an administrator when he was named the Academic Dean at St. Peter’s in 1985, a role he held until 1991 when he was appointed the Academic Vice President. In October of 1999, Dr. Martin was named the 23rd President of St. Edward’s

Dr. Martin received a B.S. in political science from St. John’s University and went on to earn a master’s degree and doctorate degree, both in political science, from Fordham University.

Dr. Martin is a leader in American higher education, serving as chair of the Council of Independent Colleges, chair of the Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas and board of director for the American Council on Education. He is equally dedicated to community development and the arts in Austin, serving several civic and artistic organizations, including Ballet Austin and the United Way. He has more than 40 years of experience in higher education

In addition to his role at St. Edwards, Dr. Martin serves as chairperson of the Council of Independent Colleges and the Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas. He is also an active board member for several other academic organizations, including the Commission on Higher Education Attainment, the Association of American Colleges and Universities, the President’s Trust for Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP), and the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities.

He is equally dedicated to community development and the arts in Austin, serving several civic and artistic organizations, including Ballet Austin and the United Way.

In 2010, Dr. Martin co-authored the business book, Updating Your Company’s Strategy, with the Aspatore Books’ series Inside the Minds.