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Regis College announces two honorary degree recipients and commencement speaker

April 15, 2010

Mary Jane England ’59, MD, Regis College president, has announced that the 2010 honorary degree recipients will be Reverend Carney Gavin, archeologist and peacemaker, and Dr. Lydia Villa-Komaroff, Chief Executive Officer at Cytonome and a leader in biosciences in academe, non-profits and corporations. Both Dr. Villa-Komaroff and Father Gavin will address the graduates.

Commencement will be held Saturday, May 15, in the Tower Gardens at 10 a.m.

Regis College will confer 471 degrees, including bachelor of arts, bachelor of science, and bachelor of social work degrees; master of science degrees in nursing, health product regulation, communication, and leadership; master of arts in teaching degrees; and post-master's certificates in nursing. Twelve candidates will receive a doctorate of nursing practice or DNP, the second year of doctorates being conferred. Five candidates will receive a master’s degree in health product regulation.

This is the 80th graduation class for Regis, which was founded 83 years ago by the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Boston.

During her 20 year research career, Dr. Villa-Komaroff has held positions at MIT, Harvard University, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Harvard Medical School and Northwestern University. As a science administrator, she has been VP for Research at Northwestern University in Illinois and the Vice President for Research and Chief Operating Officer of Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research in Cambridge, MA. She also served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Transkaryotic Therapies. She has spent more than 20 years researching genes, mainly concentrating on protein synthesis, cell development, and growth mutations.

"We are honored to have Dr. Villa-Komaroff as a Regis honorary degree recipient and speaker, " said Regis College President Mary Jane England, MD. "She is an outstanding role model, showing that women can reach the highest levels of scientific inquiry and demonstrating to men and women alike the range of opportunities that await talented students building careers today in science, engineering and medicine," she added.

"Dr. Villa-Komaroff understands the needs to be entrepreneurial and intra-disciplinary , principles upon which Regis’ own educational pathways are based," she noted.

Dr. Villa-Komaroff was only the third Mexican-American woman in the United States to earn a doctorate degree in the sciences and has been active in giving back to the Hispanic community. She is a founding member of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS), of which she has served as a board member and vice president. Her involvement with the Hispanic scientific community has earned her a spot in the Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Hall of Fame.

Author and editor of numerous books and articles, Father Carney Gavin has distinguished himself for his broad range of interests in the Middle East and beyond and for his dedication to a vision of Jerusalem as a city of peace for Christians, Jews and Arabs alike. He is President of the Archives for Historical Documentation (AHD) in Brighton, MA. While director of the Harvard Semitic Museum during the 1970’s and ‘80’s, he, a Catholic priest, made the museum an educational center advocating peace by using exhibitions of the "cradle of civilization" to explain Jews to Arabs and Arabs to Jews.

"Father Gavin personifies the values that the Sisters of Saint Joseph have passed down to us at Regis College, service to ‘the dear neighbor’ and dedication to a spirit of comity, even among those who have been at odds with one another for generations," said Dr. England. "The College is pleased to offer him an honorary degree and to have him speak to our graduates."

Commencement weekend will also include baccalaureate services, which begin Friday May 14, at 3:30 p.m., followed by a baccalaureate liturgy in the Regis College Fine Arts Center.

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