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    April 04, 2024

    Le Moyne Announces 2024 Undergraduate Commencement Speaker and Honorary Degree Recipients

    Freida Jacques, Turtle Clan Mother Whatwehni:neh of the Onondaga Nation, will give the undergraduate commencement address as part of Le Moyne College’s 74th commencement ceremony, which will be held on Sunday, May 19 at 9:30 a.m. in the Expo Center at the New York State Fairgrounds.

    Jacques is one of five individuals who will be awarded an honorary degree by the College; others who will receive honorary doctorates at the ceremony are:

    • Francis X. Clooney, S.J., Parkman Professor of Divinity and professor of Comparative Theology at the Harvard Divinity School;
    • Mary Beth Frey, executive director of the Samaritan Center;
    • James J. Carroll ’66 and Mary A. Carroll, who recently gave a $12 million gift to name the College of Arts and Sciences at Le Moyne.

    "Freida is a friend of the College who has been essential in building our relationship and dialogue with the Haudonosaunee," said Le Moyne College President Linda LeMura. "Her selection as commencement speaker is a noteworthy way for Le Moyne to recognize her accomplishments as a leader, her dedication to our community, her advocacy on behalf of native peoples, and her enduring teachings about humanity's responsibilities to the earth and our future generations."

    Freida Jacques is a respected leader of the Onondaga Nation and within the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. She has served the Turtle Clan for more than 40 years as a Haudenosaunee cultural liaison within educational institutions across New York State. She continues to help educate audiences about the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, the oldest living government founded upon the principles of Peace and Democracy.



    As executive director of the Samaritan Center, Mary Beth Frey is a tireless and selfless leader and advocate who strives every day to fulfill the Center's mission of serving the hungry and those in need in order to promote their welfare, dignity and self-sufficiency. During her nearly 20-year tenure, she has guided a significant expansion of services, a 2015 move from a basement location on Montgomery Street to a much larger space on State Street, and its response to the COVID-19, when it transitioned from dine-in to take-out without suspending meal service. The Center serves well over 100,000 meals annually and its operation relies on upwards of 1,500 volunteers.

    Francis X. Clooney, S.J. is a leading global figure in the developing field of comparative theology, a discipline distinguished by attentiveness to the dynamics of theological learning deepened through the study of traditions other than one’s own. He is the author of numerous articles and books, including Beyond Compare: St. Francis de Sales and Sri Vedanta Deshika on Loving Surrender to God (Georgetown University Press, 2008), Comparative Theology: Deep Learning across Religious Borders (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), and His Hiding Place Is Darkness: A Hindu-Catholic Theopoetics of Divine Absence (Stanford University Press, 2013). From 2007 to 2016 blogged regularly in the “In All Things” section of America magazine online, and his current blogsite, The Inner Edge, can be found here. From 2010 to 2017, he was the director of the Center for the Study of World Religions at Harvard. In 2017 he was awarded the John Courtney Murray Award, the highest honor bestowed by the Catholic Theological Society of America.

    In March 2024, Dr. James J. Carroll and Mary A. Carroll gave Le Moyne $12 million, the largest alumni gift in its history. The gift renamed the College of Arts and Sciences as the Dr. James J. ’66 and Mary A. Carroll College of Arts and Sciences. Following his graduation from Le Moyne, Jim went on to earn an M.S. in social studies education at Syracuse University and a Ph.D. in social sciences at SU’s Maxwell School. He taught social studies at Bishop Ludden High School from 1967 to 1973 and at Westhill High School from 1973 to 1979. From 1983 to 1987, he worked at SU’s School of Education. From 1987 until earlier this year, he served as a research associate professor at the Maxwell School, where much of his work focused on conducting teacher workshops through his gifted education grants, focusing on public policy skills for teachers and students in disadvantaged schools primarily in New York City. Jim and Mary married in 1967 and raised seven children, all of whom went on to professional success in various fields, including clinical psychology, social work, dentistry, education, law and veterinary medicine.



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