Award-winning actress Diane Guerrero will serve as the 2018 commencement speaker for Regis College in Weston. Guerrero, a former student at Regis, is also a published author and nationally recognized immigration rights activist.
“This degree is a total game changer and a very special honor,” said Guerrero. “Regis contributed to who I am today and I’m excited to share more about my experiences at Regis and beyond with the class of 2018.”
The university will also honor Jack Connors, noted business, community and philanthropic leader and founding partner of Hill Holliday, one of the country’s largest advertising agencies. Among his numerous philanthropic endeavors, Connors started Camp Harbor View with the help of the late Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino. The camp, set on Long Island in Boston Harbor, provides a safe haven for 900 city youth each year and a supportive year-round program for the kids and their families.
“Regis plays an important role in the greater Boston community and I am honored to be a part of this year’s commencement celebration,” said Connors.
At the 88th commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 12, Regis expects to graduate 700 students, awarding degrees ranging from the associate to doctoral levels. For the first time in the university’s history, commencement exercises will be held in the Boston Seaport at the Blue Hills Bank Pavilion.
Guerrero will receive an honorary doctorate of laws in recognition of her dedicated work on behalf of immigration rights. Connors will receive an honorary doctorate of laws degree as well for his tireless philanthropic contributions that have improved the lives of so many people in Boston and around the world.
“Diane’s commitment to immigration reform and her fierce dedication to providing a voice to the voiceless reflects the values of her Regis education,” said university President Antoinette Hays, PhD, RN. “I can’t think of two better people to help our graduates celebrate their accomplishments and inspire them to make a lasting impact on the world. It’s exciting to welcome Jack to our family and an honor to welcome Diane back home to Regis.”
Guerrero is best known for her role in CBS’s Superior Donuts, the award-winning Netflix series Orange is the New Black and on CW's Jane the Virgin. Her memoir, In the Country We Love, details her life as a citizen daughter of undocumented parents, and her years-long struggle to deal with the consequences of the broken immigration system.
Guerrero has become a nationally sought-after speaker making appearances at universities, galas, and Boston’s 2017 July 4th Oration. In 2015, she was named a White House Ambassador for Citizenship and Naturalization. She has also worked with the Immigrant Legal Resource Center; Mi Familia Vota, a nonpartisan Latino civic engagement organization to promote immigration reform and voter registration; and is a National Museum of the American Latino partner.
Connors became interested and active in philanthropy early in his career, serving on boards and leading civic campaigns. Boston Magazine named him one of the most powerful people in Boston, and he has been a major force behind initiatives such The Edward M. Kennedy Institute. In 2007, Connors launched the Campaign for Catholic Schools with the goal of strengthening Catholic schools in Greater Boston’s urban neighborhoods. He has also been an ardent supporter of Catholic higher education and his enthusiastic auctioneering has helped Regis raise millions of dollars for student scholarships.
Connors served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Partners HealthCare System for 16 years and became Chairman Emeritus in July 2012. He has served on the Boston College Board of Trustees for more than 30 years and was chair for two terms. Currently he serves on the boards of Partners In Health, the Home Base Program, Beyond Conflict, Harvard Medical School, and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Members of the media should contact firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a media pass. The ceremony will begin promptly at 10 a.m. For more information about commencement logistics, please visit www.regiscollege.edu/commencement.