Next month, about 1,090 students will receive their degrees over the course of three days during Marymount University’s 72nd annual commencement ceremonies. The newest graduates of the mission-based university will hear from three distinguished speakers – former Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Michael Powell, longtime government contracting leader Dr. Edward Bersoff and current Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Dr. Rochelle Walensky.
All three speakers will receive honorary degrees during the following ceremonies, which are organized by College with each including undergraduate and graduate students:
- Friday, May 19: College of Business, Innovation, Leadership and Technology
- Speaker: Michael Powell
- Saturday, May 20: College of Sciences and Humanities
- Speaker: Dr. Edward Bersoff
- Sunday, May 21: College of Health and Education
- Speaker: Dr. Rochelle Walensky
The ceremonies will include students who qualify for graduation from the Fall 2022, Spring 2023 and Summer 2023 semesters, as well as students who graduated in Summer 2022 but did not participate in last year’s ceremonies. They will be held outdoors on the Converse Family Field on Main Campus. See below for more information on the commencement speakers.
Michael K. Powell is the former Chairman of the FCC, appointed by President George W. Bush in 2001 and serving until 2005. He was nominated to the Commission by President William Clinton in 1997. During his time as FCC chair, Powell oversaw the rapid transformation of communications markets into the digital age – as the Internet, smartphones, Wi-Fi networks and satellite radio all came into widespread commercial use during his tenure.
In his current role as President and CEO of NCTA – The Internet & Television Association, Powell leads one of the largest trade associations in Washington, D.C., representing the communications and content industries. His prior public service includes roles as Chief of Staff of the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice, Policy Advisor to the Secretary of Defense and armored cavalry officer in the U.S. Army. In the private sector, he’s practiced law and was a senior advisor in a private equity firm, while also serving on the public boards of Cisco and AOL.
Currently, Powell is the Chairman of the Mayo Clinic Board of Trustees, Vice Chairman of America’s Promise Alliance and serves on the William & Mary Foundation Board. He received his bachelor’s degree in government from William & Mary and his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center.
Dr. Edward Bersoff
Dr. Edward Bersoff, a retired military officer who previously worked at NASA and a leader in the government contracting world for more than 50 years, is the Chairman of Marymount’s Board of Trustees, the Bethesda-based business advisory firm Greenwich Associates, LLC, and the Northern Virginia business finance company Parabilis, LLC. During his business career, he has served as the CFO of a public company, lead director of three public companies, chaired the audit committee of two public companies and served on the audit, governance and compensation committees of other public companies.
Deeply involved in business, community and professional activities, Dr. Bersoff was the first Chairman of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, a past Chairman of the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce and a former Director of the Greater Washington Board of Trade. He also was a founder and first Chairman of the Northern Virginia Technology Council, and was appointed by Virginia’s governor to serve on the Board of the Virginia 529 College Savings Plan, where he recently completed his service as its Chair.
Dr. Bersoff holds multiple degrees in mathematics from New York University and is a graduate of the Harvard Business School’s Owner/President Management Program. Among his many accolades, he was named a Laureate of the Washington Business Hall of Fame in 2020 for his lasting and significant impact on the greater Washington region through the private sector economy and his service as a role model for the next generation of leaders. He’s also an inducted member of the Greater Washington Government Contractor Hall of Fame.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky
Dr. Rochelle Walensky is the Director of the CDC and Administrator of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. An influential scholar, her pioneering research has helped advance the national and global response to HIV/AIDS. She is also a well-respected expert on the value of testing and treatment of deadly viruses.
From 2017-2020, Dr. Walensky was Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital, while also serving as Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School from 2012-2020. She worked on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic as she conducted research on vaccine delivery and created strategies to reach underserved communities.
Dr. Walensky is recognized internationally for her work to improve HIV screening and care in South Africa, and nationally for motivating health policy and informing clinical trial design and evaluation in a variety of settings. She is a past Chair of the Office of AIDS Research Advisory Council at the National Institutes of Health and Chair-elect of the HIV Medical Association, and previously served as an advisor to both the World Health Organization and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS.
Originally from Maryland, Dr. Walensky received her Bachelor of Arts from Washington University in St. Louis, her Doctor of Medicine from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and her Master of Public Health from the Harvard School of Public Health.