Saint Anselm College Announces 2024 Commencement Speaker
By Anna Brennan-Curry
January 30, 2024
President Joseph A. Favazza, Ph.D., announced that Lauren Chooljian ’10 will be the commencement speaker during Saint Anselm College’s 131st commencement exercises to be held on the College quad in front of Alumni Hall on Saturday, May 18 at 10 a.m. In addition, four distinguished alumni, Carole Cafferty ’88, Joseph Horton ’77, Mary Jo O'Dwyer Majors '69, and Robert Savard ’71, will receive honorary degrees.
The class of 2024 will be conferred their diplomas during the ceremony. Saint Anselm College’s graduate programs in criminal justice and special education will also graduate and receive their master’s hoods on that day.
Family and friends are welcome to attend the commencement exercises, which also will be livestreamed. For more information, go to anselm.edu/commencement.
Lauren Chooljian ’10
Lauren Chooljian is a senior reporter and producer for New Hampshire Public Radio’s (NHPR) narrative news unit, Document. She has co-hosted the podcast Stranglehold, which told the story of the New Hampshire primary, as well as the 13th Step, a podcast that investigated misconduct in the addiction treatment industry and won a 2024 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award.
“A highly decorated journalist, Lauren Chooljian has devoted her professional life to the pursuit of the truth, something that is at the very heart of a Saint Anselm education,” said Joseph A. Favazza. “She has upheld and defended principles that are the underpinnings of our democracy – and she has done so at great personal sacrifice, having been threatened and harassed for her work. Unbowed, she has stood up to the pressure and continued to do her job at the highest level. At a time when journalists are demeaned and discredited by political forces that chafe under their scrutiny, it is individuals like Lauren Chooljian who are true guardians of the values we ascribe to our national identity.”
Lauren graduated with a BA in History from Saint Anselm College and has a Master of Science in Journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, where she was also an adjunct lecturer. Her work as been featured on NPR, Marketplace, Here and Now, and in The Washington Post, among others.
Before joining NHPR in 2017, Lauren spent nearly six years as a reporter, producer and fill-in host for WBEZ in Chicago. Most recently, she covered City Hall and Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration.
Her reporting has earned her awards from the Associated Press and a regional Murrow Award. In 2014, her voice was featured on a best-of list in the Chicago Tribune culture section for its “unpretentious, Peppermint Patty scratchiness,” which her family especially appreciated.
Carole Cafferty ’88
Carole Cafferty has spent her career working to empower incarcerated individuals through therapeutic and educational opportunities. She spent more than 30 years working inside correctional facilities, including as the Superintendent of the Middlesex Jail and House of Correction in Massachusetts. Upon retirement from her career in corrections, Cafferty joined The Educational Justice Institute (TEJI) at MIT as Co-Director which manages the postsecondary prison education consortium in Massachusetts. In 2019, she was awarded the Irwin Sizer Award for the Most Significant Improvement to MIT Education at MIT.
Cafferty graduated from Saint Anselm College and holds a Master’s Degree in Correctional Administration from the University of Massachusetts Lowell, where she teaches in the School of Criminology and Justice Studies, which presented her the school’s Adjunct Faculty of the Year Award in 2018. Cafferty also teaches at Suffolk University in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice.
Joseph Horton ’77
Joseph Matthew Horton, Ed.D. needs little introduction to the Saint Anselm community, having served with distinction in a wide variety of duties over four decades at Saint Anselm College, culminating in his role as vice president for student affairs through 2018.
Horton received his Criminal Justice B.S. from Saint Anselm College in 1977, an M.S. from Michigan State University in 1978, his doctorate in Education from Vanderbilt University in 1988, and a Fulbright scholarship in 1995.
After serving as a program evaluation specialist for the NH Commission on Crime and Delinquency, Horton was a lecturer in Criminal Justice for almost two decades (up to 1998) and a lecturer for three decades in the Humanities’ Portraits of Human Greatness and later Conversatio programs. In the early 1980’s he was also assistant dean of students at the College and then served several years as director of physical plant, until becoming dean of students for approximately two decades. As the chief student services officer, Horton then became vice president for student affairs for many years, overseeing several deans of students.
In addition to Horton’s long-known reputation as a compassionate and personable friend of students as both individuals and as a student body, Horton’s administrative leadership duties involved him intimately with building projects over the years which directly benefitted students from dorms to athletic facilities.
For much of the Saint Anselm community, Horton’s reputation is one of class, integrity, and indeed, the embodiment of what it means to be an Anselmian and the best of dedicated leaders on the Hilltop. Beyond the College, Horton has served as a board of trustee member for several institutions, including Saint Catherine’s School (Manchester) in the 80’s, the Greater Manchester chapter of the American Red Cross in the 90’s, and The Derryfield School in the mid-2000’s. He married Susan Raye Berthiaume in 1981 and is the father of Brian and Benjamin Horton ’12.
Mary Jo O'Dwyer Majors '69
A career military nurse who retired with the rank of captain, Mary Jo O'Dwyer Majors not only exemplifies the mission of the college and the nursing program, but she also gave a lifetime of service to our country and to various volunteer organizations. Her service has been recognized by numerous awards and honors including being named Saint Anselm College Alumni Association’s Humanitarian Award in 2012.
While completing her Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Majors began her military career as a nurse corps candidate, and was commissioned as an ensign during her senior year. She went on to serve for more than 43 years on active duty and reserve assignments, and retired as a captain in the military.
During her career, Majors also obtained her Master of Science in Nursing degree in 1977 from Boston University, and completed a Naval War College post-graduate course in 1989 while stationed in Washington, DC. She served in hospitals and bases around the world, beginning at the Naval Hospital Memphis, Tenn., where she cared for injured service members returning from the Vietnam War, and retired in March 2011 from the Naval Operations Support Center in Quincy, Mass.
After her retirement, she continued to volunteer with many organizations affiliated with the military, their families, and veterans.
Captain Majors also worked in non-military healthcare organizations in many states while serving in the Reserves. Some of her positions included: Clinical Specialist in critical care; Vice-President of Patient and Acute Care Services, Nursing school instructor; and Director of Clinical Operations and Director of Nursing, South Cove Community Health Center, Boston, Mass., where she retired from in March 2016.
She has received numerous awards for her leadership and devotion of service to others to including 2010’s “Outstanding Woman Veteran of the Year” from the Massachusetts Department of Veterans Services 2010 and the National Service Award from the National Navy Nurse Corps Association in May 2020.
Robert Savard ’71
A longtime supporter of his alma mater, Robert F. Savard ’71 graduated from Saint Anselm in 1971 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History. During his time on the Hilltop, Bob participated in the Abbey Players, volunteered with Big Brothers Big Sisters, and competed with the varsity ski team.
Savard is the retired founder and managing director of The Desmond Group, LLC, a boutique retained executive search firm serving clients with a focus in the corporate retirement services industry. Prior to that he was a managing director with several international executive search firms; within these firms he was co-chair of the financial services and diversity practice groups. Before beginning his executive search career in 1990, he spent 18 years with Aetna Life & Casualty, where he held management positions in a variety of line and staff areas.
Savard has spoken before organizations such as the National Association of Securities Professionals and the Midwest College Placement Council on the topics of career and professional development. He is a former Director of the Greater Hartford YMCA and chaired the Human Resource Committee.
Savard has given an inspirational amount of time, energy, and financial support to his beloved alma mater, serving on the board of trustees since 2020. And while, his love for Saint Anselm is displayed on the marquee of the Savard Welcome Center, it is his many quiet contributions, often behind the scenes, that speak most loudly about his connection to the college.