Saint Anselm College’s 130th Commencement was held on Saturday, May 20, celebrating 470 students who earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees.

The class of 2023 was conferred their diplomas during the ceremony, along with the college’s two graduate degrees, a 4+1 Master’s in Criminal Justice program with 15 students and the first-ever 4+1 Master’s in Education with licensure in special education with two students.

President Favazza delivering his address at Commencement

College President Joseph A. Favazza, Ph.D. recalled how he and the graduating class started their Saint Anselm journey together, arriving on the Hilltop in the summer of 2019. He reminded students that he told them on their first day as freshmen they were beginning a “hero’s journey” and now as they commence from the college, they begin another one.

“It will be hard but it also will be transformational. Go forth and flourish wherever your next steps lead. You will always be Anselmians in a world in desperate need of Anselmians,” he said. “And remember, no matter how far you travel on your journey, you will always find respite on this beautiful New Hampshire hilltop.”

The Commencement Exercises were held on the Alumni Quadrangle and concluded before the day’s forecasted rain arrived. The overcast skies did not put a damper on the festive mood of the day, as the large crowd of family and friends cheered for the graduands as their names were read by Professor Sean Parr, Ph.D. and Nursing Executive Director Maureen O’Reilly, Ph.D. 

Four distinguished educators and humanitarians received honorary degrees during the ceremonies, including commencement speaker Kenneth R. Feinberg, Esq., who was the administrator of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. 

In his address, Feinberg reflected on how the country appeared unified in the days following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and how different it is today, with “division, anger and frustration” characterizing the discourse in the U.S.

“The nation seems to have lost its moral compass. Instead of compromise in support of common good, we hear shrill emotional voices dominating the national discussion, untethered to intellectual honest and universal moral principles,” he said. “And that is why today, you have an obligation and a duty to advance the fundamental principles and common humanity that historically have guided you and Saint Anselm. Who better than you – whatever your professional and personal goals – to try your best to help return our nation to a more civil and moral society?”

A former chief of staff to the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, Feinberg specializes in mediation and alternative dispute resolution. He was bestowed an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters.

Other honorary degree recipients included Lawrence and Patricia Pascal, both members of the class of 1964 and longtime supporters of the college. 

During his time on the Hilltop, Larry Pascal studied history, played on the basketball team, and was a member of the Red Key Society. Later earning his J.D. from George Washington University, he is widely regarded as an authority on workers’ compensation laws. Patricia Pascal graduated from the nursing program and worked in the surgical intensive care unit at North Shore Hospital before later working as a public health nurse in Washington, D.C. 

The Pascals were bestowed an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters. 

Sr. Jane Gerety, RSM, Ph.D., also received an honorary degree. Sr. Jane, whose career in health care and education embodies the values of her Catholic order, the Sisters of Mercy, was bestowed an Honorary Doctorate of Science.

Megan Cotraro '23 delivering the her address at Commencement
Meghan Cotraro '23

The student speaker was Meghan Cotraro ’23, a Nursing Major and member of the women’s lacrosse team. During her remarks, she held a copy of The Rule of Saint Benedict as she reminded her classmates how they were just figuring out college life when Covid-19 forced colleges and universities across the country to transition to remote instruction. The challenges posed by the pandemic strengthened the class, she said.

“Whether we knew it as little freshmen or not, this tiny red book is the blueprint for the Anselmian experience,” she said. “There is something special about this place – people are good here, days are good here, life is good here. And it truly comes back to the fundamental concepts of putting in work to achieve an abundance of good days.” 

Abbot Mark Cooper, O.S.B., ’71, the Chancellor of Saint Anselm College, then presented Finance Major Kevin Jordan of Danvers, Mass., and Alicia Kelley a Natural Sciences Major from East Berne, N.Y., with Chancellor’s Awards for the highest grade-point average of 4.0.

During the ceremonies, the college’s chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) presented the 2023 Distinguished Faculty Award to Dr. Peter Josephson of the Politics Department, citing his positive relations with colleagues and students, and concern for humanity.
On the day prior to commencement, the Senior Honors Convocation recognized the academic achievement of individual members of the undergraduate graduating class. The awards ceremony was followed by the Baccalaureate Mass, with Abbot Mark and the Benedictine monks celebrating the graduation of the class of 2023.

Following Commencement, a military commissioning ceremony was held for four members of the class of 2023. Cameron Barbone, Kate Macaluso, Liam Reeve and Joseph Walker were commissioned 2nd Lieutenants in the U.S. Army. Also recognized was Zachery Martin, who will be commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force at a later date.

To read the full remarks of the commencement speakers, view photos and the simulcast of the event, go to


Video: Commencement Exercises for the Class of 2023 (Livestream Recording)
Video: Class of 2023 Senior Honors Convocation and Baccalaureate Mass (Livestream Recording)
Photos: Class of 2023 Commencement Exercises
Photos: Master's in Criminology and Criminal Justice Hooding Ceremony
Photos: Master's in Special Education Hooding Ceremony
Photos: Military Commissioning
Photos: Senior Brunch, Convocation, and Baccalaureate