Chestnut Hill College to Celebrate 82nd Commencement

Karen S. Kelly, J.D. to Deliver Commencement Address

Release Date: Saturday, May 9, 2009


PHILADELPHIA, PA – Karen S. Kelly, J.D., chief counsel to the Treasurer of the State of Pennsylvania and Deputy State Treasurer, will deliver the 82nd commencement address at Chestnut Hill College on Saturday, May 9, 2009 at 2 p.m. at an outdoor ceremony on the College's campus.  

The College will award 288 bachelor degrees and 239 graduate degrees as well as 21 doctoral degrees in clinical psychology during the ceremony. Honorary Doctor of Laws degrees will be awarded to Gerald Straub, documentary filmmaker and an award-winning author, and Ambassador Elizabeth Frawley Bagley, special representative to the United States Secretary of State for Global Partnerships.

A co-founder and partner in the law firm of Kelly, Monaco and Naples located in the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia, Karen Spencer Kelly has concentrated her practice of law in all aspects of civil litigation at the trial and appellate levels. In addition to arguing before the Commonwealth, Superior and Supreme Courts of Pennsylvania, Ms. Kelly has served as Co-Bond Counsel and Co-Special Disclosure Counsel for the City of Philadelphia. Other clients have included the Redevelopment Authority of Philadelphia, Drexel University, Temple University and the Delaware River Port Authority.

Karen Spencer Kelly’s commendable public service is equally distinguished by her generous service to numerous educational institutions, charitable organizations, and pro bono work. In 2001, The Harvard Magazine featured Karen Kelly as the first African-American woman president of the Harvard Alumni Association, noting her service on one or more alumni committees every year since she graduated. She also serves on the Capital Campaign Steering Committee of Villanova University Law School, the Villanova Law Alumni Association Board of Advisors, and is co-chair of the Convocation Sub-Committee for the Villanova Law School 50th Anniversary celebration.

Karen Spencer Kelly is a member of the board of directors of Chestnut Hill College and she is also an associate of the Sisters of Saint Joseph. She is a former member of the board of directors of the Pennsylvania Economy League, member of the Chestnut Hill Community Association Legal Committee, chair of the Eastern Pennsylvania Arthritis Foundation, member of the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Commission on Women in the Profession, charter member of the Rotary Club of Chestnut Hill, committee member of Philadelphia Women’s Basketball 2000 and Our Mother of Consolation Home and School Association Board.

A native of Chicago, Karen Spencer Kelly received her Bachelor of Arts degree, cum laude, in the study of comparative religion from Harvard-Radcliffe Colleges in 1980 and her Juris Doctor from Villanova University Law School in 1985.

Gerald Straub started his career as a network television producer in New York and Hollywood; he produced dramatic television series that have aired on CBS, NBC and ABC, including the popular daytime soap opera “General Hospital.” Straub’s transformation into a documentary filmmaker bringing to light the plight of the poor occurred while in vacation in Rome, after being inspired from a passage of the bible. As a result of his experiences, Gerry, who became a Secular Franciscan, founded The San Damiano Foundation, which “strives to put the power of film at the service of the poor.”

Straub has written and directed 13 documentary films, including “We Have a Table for Four Ready,” “When Did I See You Hungry,?” narrated by Martin Sheen; and “The Narrow Path,” a film featuring the Jesuit priest, author and peace activist, Father John Dear. His literary work includes “The Sun and Moon Over Assisi,” named the best spirituality hardcover book of 2001 by the Catholic Press Association, and his photo essay, “When Did I See You Hungry,?” featuring photography from 9 countries and cities.

From the earliest years of her professional life, Ambassador Bagley has been committed to public service and promoting the welfare of the United States. As a young woman, she worked for the U.S. State Department as the Congressional Liaison Officer for the Panama Canal Treaties, as the Special Assistant to Ambassador Sol Linowitz for the Camp David Accords, and as a Congressional Liaison for the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe. In 1994, she was appointed Ambassador to Portugal where she served until 1997. From 1997 until 2001, Ambassador Bagley held the post of Senior Advisor to Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

Ambassador Bagley, a Catholic committed to the social teaching of the Church and its articulation in the public square, founded Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, a lay organization that focuses on “the values of justice, human dignity, and common good.” The Alliance challenges Catholics “to put community before self, principle before profit, and the public interest before political expediency.” These are values that Ambassador Bagley not only espouses, but exemplifies.

In addition to her prestigious positions, Ambassador Bagley served as Diplomatic Liaison for the Clinton-Gore Presidential campaign, Foreign Policy Advisor to the Drafting Committee for the 1992 Democratic Party Platform, and member of the Platform Committee for the 2008 Democratic Party Convention.

Most recently, Ambassador Bagley was appointed Special Representative to the Secretary of State for Global Partnerships. Reporting directly to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Ambassador Bagley heads the Office for Global Partnership and works both inside and outside the State Department to establish public/private partnerships with NGOs, foundations, corporations, academic institutions, international financial institutions, and other appropriate organizations.

Ambassador Bagley received her Bachelor of Arts in French and Spanish from Regis College, an institution owned and operated by the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Boston, and earned her Juris Doctor from Georgetown University School of Law in Washington, D.C.