PROVIDENCE — Providence College’s commencement exercises returned to the Dunkin Donuts Center in downtown Providence for the first time in three years on Sunday, May 22.
Val Ackerman, founding president of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) and current commissioner of the BIG EAST Conference, presented the Commencement Address at the College’s 104th Commencement exercises.
“The only Providence event more exciting to be at this year was the triple-overtime win over Xavier here at the Dunk in February,” Ackerman said after thanking the class and the college for the opportunity to speak.
Graduates of the Class of 2022 came from 29 states and territories and eight countries. Their top three majors were finance, management, and biology. For the second consecutive year, a separate commencement was held for the School of Continuing Education and graduate programs. It took place on Friday, May 20, in Peterson Recreation Center on campus.
College President Rev. Kenneth R. Sicard, O.P., congratulated the graduates and praised the relationships they built while overcoming challenges.
“To state the obvious, your time in college was not entirely what you expected. Most of you were approaching the halfway point, finishing your second year of Civ, among other milestones, when COVID-19 changed everything,” Father Sicard said. “When I think about the students of Providence College during the pandemic, one word always comes to mind: resilient.”
The College awarded honorary degrees to six individuals at the May 22 ceremonies: Dr. Mario DiNunzio ’57, professor emeritus of history; Robert G. Driscoll Jr., retiring vice president and director of athletics at the College; John W. ‘Jack” Flynn ’61, long-time Rhode Island banking executive and former chief financial officer at Fleet Financial Group; Mother Olga of the Sacred Heart, founder of the religious order Daughters of Mary of Nazareth; Dr. Sally Thibodeau ’66 G, the first female dean at Providence College; and Judge O. Rogeriee Thompson, whose distinguished career as a jurist in Rhode Island was capped by her 2010 confirmation as the first African-American and second woman to be confirmed to the federal appeals court.