Patriots' Star Matthew Slater Announced as 2020 Commencement Speaker
Matthew Slater, a three-time Super Bowl champion, will address the Class of 2020 and receive an honorary doctorate along with John E. Drew ’65 and Sister Clare Fitzgerald.
Current New England Patriots star Matthew Slater, a three-time Super Bowl champion with the team, a two-time All-Pro, and a community leader, will address the Class of 2020 at the College’s 69th Commencement on Saturday, August 8, which will be a virtual event and not in-person as previously planned due to COVID-19 related health and safety concerns.
Slater will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree as will Stonehill alumnus and trustee John E. Drew ’65, president of The Drew Company, which pioneered the transformation of Boston’s Seaport district, and Sister Clare Fitzgerald, SSND, a prominent Catholic educator and motivational speaker.
Matthew Slater, Doctor of Humane Letters
In addition to winning three Super Bowl rings, Slater, a stalwart of the Patriots’ dynasty, has been named to seven Pro Bowls. Among the NFL’s best special team players, he is also a man of deep Christian faith, which drives his involvement with many of the team’s organized community events.
He is also the team’s United Way representative and works with organizations in the greater Boston area to recruit one million volunteers as part of the wider Patriots Celebrate Volunteerism Campaign.
For his outreach and service, Slater received the Athletes in Action/Bart Starr Award, which honors NFL players who exemplify outstanding character and leaders in the home, on the fields and in the community. His 2017 award citation noted that:
“Slater has been a leader and a positive example to his team both on and off the field. After every game, win or lose, he leads his team in prayer as the stands empty and the lights go down. His teammates admire his poise and professionalism as well as his humble adherence to his faith, striving to be like him both as a football player and a man.”
He is also a recipient of the Ron Burton Community Service Award for his dedication to New England communities. From Orange, California, Slater played collegiate football at the University of California, Los Angeles where he earned a degree in political science.
Slater is married to Dr. Shahrzad Slater and they have three children. He is also the son of Jackie Slater, a football star with the Los Angeles Rams as well as a Bart Starr Award winner, making them the first father-son duo ever to receive that award.
John E. Drew, Doctor of Humane Letters
The founder and chairman of the Drew Company, a Boston-based real estate management and development company, Drew is a leading authority on public-private partnerships and development nationally and internationally. He is the developer of the Seaport Complex, which includes the Seaport Hotel and WTC Boston, Seaport East and Seaport West; Waterside Place, a 236-unit mixed-use luxury rental apartment building; Xfinity Center, an outdoor amphitheater in Mansfield; Bayside Exposition Center; and Constitution Plaza in Boston. He also serves as chairman of Trade Center Management Associates, which manages the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C., and the World Trade Center Dublin.
Drew has been a member of the World Trade Centers Association since 1985 and currently serves on the board as vice chairman. He also advises the U.S. Department of Commerce in his role as chairman of the United States Northeast District Export Council, Massachusetts region. From 2002 to 2013, Drew served as the Honorary Consul of the Consulate of Monaco, overseeing the New England states.
He is a member of the board of directors of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, Stonehill College, Cathedral High School in Boston, and former Chairman and current Executive Committee Member of the Board for the Boston Municipal Research Bureau.
In addition to his Stonehill degree, Drew holds a master’s degree from Boston University, an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Newbury College, and is one of the region’s top authorities on public-private partnerships and development. His civic commitments include Chairman Emeritus for Caritas Christi Health Care System in Boston, and Chairman of “A Better City” (an organization of business leaders working to ensure Boston’s future competitive advantage).
Throughout their lives, Drew and his wife, Kathy, have devoted themselves to supporting many charitable organizations, including Catholic Charities, the Adopt-a-Student Program at Cathedral High School, and the Ireland Fund.
Sister Clare Fitzgerald, SSND, Doctor of Humane Letters
A Catholic educator and motivational speaker, Sister Clare Fitzgerald received her bachelor of arts degree from the College of Notre Dame in Maryland, earned her master’s degree at Catholic University in Washington, D.C., and was awarded a doctor of philosophy degree by St. Louis University. In addition, she has received honorary doctorates from Notre Dame College, Manchester, New Hampshire, and the College of Notre Dame, Baltimore, Maryland.
Sister Clare has taught at all levels of education and served for nine years as chair of the American Studies Department at Fairfield University, and for 12 years as the founding director of the Catholic Leadership Program, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, at Boston College. Internationally, she has lectured and presented workshops on Catholic education and the future of religious life throughout the United States, Canada, Guam, Puerto Rico, and England. Recent lecture engagements include St. Andrews’s College in Scotland and the University of Cambridge in England.
Sister Clare is a member of the Northeast Province of the School Sisters of Notre Dame and has distinguished herself by not only effective but also generous and outstanding service to communities of all faiths. She has served as the representative to the provincial and general chapters of the SSND, as well as provincial leader of the Northeast Province. Her national leadership positions are numerous, and include president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, and the appointee to the Vatican Commission on the Study of Religious Life.
In 1986, 1992 and 1997, Sister Clare received the National Catholic Educational Association’s highest commendation for distinguished service to Catholic education and the Church. In 1994, she received the prestigious William H. Sadlier Dinger Award for distinguished contributions to Catholic education and leadership, and, in 1998, received the C. Albert Koop Award for her commitment for excellence and scholarship in the training of Catholic Education Leaders in the United States.