Congratulations to the Class of 2023 - our newest Griffin alumni! Commencement was a beautiful celebration. We are so honored and blessed to have seen so many students walk across the stage and to be acknowledged for years of hard work obtaining bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees. Check back soon for a full recap of the event as well as photos from the two ceremonies. In the meantime, please see below for videos and more to help continue the celebration of the Class of 2023!
Watch the 96th Annual Commencement Ceremony (Saturday, May 13th @ 11AM) below
Watch the Ceremony for the School of Graduate Studies (Thursday, May 11th @ 3PM) below
Commencement Speakers and Honorary Degree Recipients
Linda Holtzman is the rabbi of the Tikkun Olam Chavurah, a community that pursues social justice, and is the Director of Student Life of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. A native Philadelphian who was ordained by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 1979, Rabbi Holtzman has received a B.A. and M.A. in English from Temple University and a B.H.L. from Gratz College. She has served as the rabbi of Beth Israel, a Conservative congregation in Coatesville, Pa, where she was the first female rabbi to solely lead a congregation.
One of the first rabbis to publicly identify as lesbian/queer, she served as part-time rabbi of Beth Ahavah, the LGTBQ synagogue in Philadelphia. Holtzman is the former rabbi of Congregation Mishkan Shalom in Philadelphia, where she had previously served as interim rabbi, director of the religious school, and for many years as Associate Professor and Director of Practical Rabbinics at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College.
As Director of Student Life at Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (RRC), Holtzman works with students to co-create a vibrant spiritual community. She also serves as a mentor, helping students navigate their own rabbinic paths, while providing supervision for internships and rabbinic job placements. Holtzman teaches a wide array of practical rabbinic skills, including leading life-cycle events and homiletics.
A leading social justice activist, Holtzman is the founder and organizer of the Reconstructionist Chevra Kadisha of Philadelphia. She has served on the board of Philadelphia’s New Sanctuary Movement, which works to end injustices against immigrants regardless of their immigration status, and has served on the national board of Jewish Voice for Peace. She is a founding member of POWER, an interfaith organization committed to building communities of opportunity that work for all.
Holtzman is the author of a chapter in Twice Blessed (Beacon Press, 1989), as well as the article “Struggle, Change and Celebration: My Life as a Lesbian Rabbi” in Lesbian Rabbis: The First Generation, edited by Rebecca T. Alpert, Sue Levi Elwell and Shirley Idelson (Rutgers University Press, 2000).
She is currently on the Mayor’s Commission on Faith-Based and Interfaith Affairs in Philadelphia and on the board of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association.
This year, Dr. Catherine Alicia Georges, professor and Chairperson Emerita of the department of nursing at Lehman College and president of the National Black Nurses Foundation, will present the commencement address. Dr. Georges received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Seton Hill, a Master of Arts in Community Health Nursing Administration and Supervision from New York University School of Education, Division of Nursing, and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the University in Vermont.
Known for her leadership both nationally and internationally, Dr. Georges is recognized for accomplishments in academic nursing, health policy development, community engagement, organizational development, and healthy aging. She has served as a member of health policy boards, health care delivery boards, professional organizations, governmental boards, and as national volunteer president of AARP, the world’s largest consumer organization board of directors. Through her work, she is committed to assuring social justice and equity for marginalized and vulnerable communities.
In addition to her service with AARP, Dr. Georges served as the fifth president (and is a lifetime member) of the National Black Nurses Association and as the current president of the National Black Nurses
Foundation. Dr. Georges is also a fellow of the NY Academy of Medicine and the American Academy of Nursing. In 2019, she was named a Living Legend by the American Academy of Nursing. Seton Hall University named her the most distinguished alumna in 2020. In 2021, Dr. Georges was awarded the Lifetime Legacy Achievement Award from the American Academy of Nursing and was elected as Chair of the National Easterseals board. She is the first Black female volunteer to serve in that role. Dr. Georges also serves on the advisory boards of the National Clinician Scholars program and the Bronx Westchester Area Health Education Center.
Dr. Georges will receive an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree prior to offering her commencement address.
Kent Griswold, Ph.D., M.B.A., is the founder and producer of “The Wolf PAC,” an Amazon Prime television show which competes with Shark Tank. In the first two seasons, the show featured investors and companies exclusively from the Greater Delaware Valley. Most recently, Dr. Griswold served as president and CEO of GRISWOLD SPECIAL CARE. With over 10,000 professional caregivers working across 100+ offices in the U.S., South Korea, and Mexico, Dr. Griswold’s company is the world’s oldest multi-national non-medical home care company. In addition, Dr. Griswold also served as President of Financial Health Services, Inc.
Dr. Griswold served on the Board of the ALS Association and chaired the Family and Patient Services Committee. He is currently on the board of Harcum College and previously served on the board at Chestnut Hill College where he chaired the Finance Committee. He is a past Chair of the Board of Trustees for the Greater Delaware Valley Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and has chaired the chapter’s Patient & Family Services Committee and co-chaired the Advocacy Committee. He has also co-chaired the National Chairman’s Advisory Council (CAC) and has been co-chair of the Long Term Care Committee. In addition, he has been on the boards of the Special Care Foundation, the AIDS Victims Fund and a number of corporate boards. An active member of PAC (President Advisory Council), he has been recognized by the Philadelphia Business Journal as one of the “40 Under 40” and by Business Philadelphia as one of the “100 People to Watch.” He started his first venture, a summer day camp, at the age of 14, and recently launched a board game company, Zord Games, whose first product, WallStreak, was recently released.
A graduate of Harvard University, the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and Kennedy-Western University, Dr, Griswold has also studied in Kenya, England, and Sweden, and has worked in Hong Kong and Australia, where he was a permanent resident. He has published two novels and is currently writing another book titled $10,000. He completed his Ph.D. in Health Administration with a dissertation entitled The Evolving Needs for Home Care Services with an Aging Population of Those Living with Multiple Sclerosis.
Lori Griswold, Ph.D., M.S.G., is a policy analyst and gerontologist. Her academic credentials include a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Masters in Gerontology from the Andrus Gerontology Center, University of Southern California in Los Angeles, and a Ph.D. in Social Policy from the Heller School, Brandeis University in Boston.
For nearly four decades, Dr. Griswold has worked with and advocated for older and disabled persons in a variety of positions and setting. She currently consults in the field of long-term care, is working on two books and throughout her career has enjoyed serving as an advocate and consultant to help clients, colleagues, friends and families navigate the long-term care maze when needing assistance with home care, hospice, facility care or other health care needs. Some of her past professional experience includes Consultant for the Department of Justice/US Attorneys Office, SE Pennsylvania Region, Executive Vice Present and Acting President for GRISWOLD SPECIAL CARE, Executive Director of the Special Care Foundation. Long-time member of the PA Intragovernmental Council on Long-Term Care, worked in and consulted for adult day care and nursing and rehab facilities, directed a research project for the National Institute on Aging at UCLA’s Borun Center for Gerontological Research, visiting scientist in Sweden assessing quality of life for persons *5+, worked with Fortune 500 and government agencies on pre-retirement planning, and authored various articles, book chapter, and grant applications. Dr, Griswold has a long history of involvement in federal/national, state and local advocacy and policy organizations and boards. She has received a variety of awards, including the Philadelphia Business Journal “40 Under 40,” “Top 100 professionals to Watch” and the “50 Best Women in Business.”
Some of Dr. Griswold’s Board work includes Germantown Academy Board of Trustees, Griswold Home Care, Jefferson’s Weinberg ALS Center Advisory Group, Penn’s Cardiovascular Institute Leadership Council, Highlands Historical Society Board of Trustees, Upper Dublin Lutheran Church Council, the Jean Griswold Foundation Board of Directors, Wake Forest University Parent’s Council, and more.