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Chestnut Hill College to Celebrate 90th Commencement

Chestnut Hill College to Celebrate 90th Commencement

Chestnut Hill College is proud to celebrate its 90th Commencement on Saturday, May 13, at which time 270 students will receive their diplomas. The ceremony will be held in the Grand Tent with a simulcast in Sorgenti Arena. The procession begins at 10:30 and Commencement begins at 11 a.m.


Chris Lowney, writer, leadership consultant and public speaker, will deliver CHC’s Commencement address. Lowney is Chair of the Board of Trustees of Catholic Health Initiatives, one of the nation’s largest not-for-profit healthcare/hospital systems, with more than 100 hospitals around the country. Previously, Lowney served as a managing director of J.P. Morgan & Co. on three continents. He has lectured globally on leadership, business ethics and related topics.

Lowney is a former Jesuit seminarian and the founding president of Jesuit Commons, which offers online university education in refugee camps in Africa and elsewhere; he conceived and co-founded Contemplative Leaders in Action, an emerging leader formation program; and he founded Pilgrimage for Our Children’s Future, which funds education and healthcare projects in the developing world.

He is the author of several books, including the bestselling “Heroic Leadership: Best Practices from a 450-Year-Old Company that Changed the World.” He also has authored​ “Pope Francis: Why He Leads the Way He Leads, “ and, most recently, “Everyone Leads: How to Revitalize the Catholic Church.”

Lowney earned his BA and MA from Fordham University. He will be awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree at the Commencement.

Honorary Doctor of Laws degrees also will be awarded to Elisa Costantini, author and philanthropist, Thomas J. Lynch, vice president and portfolio manager at Haverford Trust Company, and Brighid Blake, board member of the African Sisters Education Collaborative (ASEC) and former executive director of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Consortium for Higher Education (SEPCHE).


Brighid Blake, a board director of the African Sisters Education Collaborative (ASEC) and former executive director of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Consortium for Higher Education (SEPCHE), has spent more than 30 years in the field of education as a teacher and administrator.

A member of ASEC since 2010, she is Chair of the Academic Committee and a leader in strategic planning for sustainability for ASEC, which believes that education is the key in assisting African nations toward economic development and self-sufficiency. Chestnut Hill College is one of the founding members of ASEC, which helps educate women religious and helps them acquire necessary credentials for teaching, healthcare, spiritual or social service ministries in their countries. Blake also worked as an instructor for the Sisters Leadership Development Initiative, teaching in Kenya, Malawi, Uganda and Zambia.

From 2000-2009, Blake served as Executive Director of SEPCHE, a consortium of eight institutions of higher education, including CHC, which educates more than 22,000 students in the Philadelphia region. During her tenure, the organization met impressive goals including the creation of community-based outreach programs that improved neighborhood access to educational, career development and health care improvement initiatives and secured millions in funding to support these programs as well as expand shared electronic and campus library collections across the eight member campuses.

Blake served CHC as a non-board member of the College’s Development Committee from 2011-2013 and as a member of the Long Range Planning Committee.


Elisa Costantini began a new chapter in a long and fascinating life when, at age 76, she published her first book, Italian Moms Spreading Their Art to Every Table, which quickly became a hit. Born in Poggio Valle, Italy, Costantini began cooking at a young age and was an apprentice to a local chef. After coming to Philadelphia in 1961 with her husband and young daughter, she worked for more than 35 years at Don Guanella School and Divine Providence Village, run by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. There she began a 35-year career of caring for and cooking for children, men and women with special needs. She notes that she felt as fortunate to have them in her life as they felt to have her in theirs.

She coped with the grief of her husband’s death in 2013 by organizing a lifetime’s worth of recipes into a book. Costantini then shared her story on her Facebook page and raised more than $25,000 through a crowd funding campaign in order to publish her book.

Overwhelmed by the public’s generosity, Costantini decided to share her profits with schools and other organizations, garnering media interest around the country; she has appeared on Rachel Ray and the Today show.

Now 78, Costantini has been commissioned by Sterling Publishers to write two more books; she is developing a series about her early life with producers in Los Angeles; and is creating a line of linens. Visit www.italianmomscooking.com.


Thomas J. Lynch has been the Vice President and Portfolio Manager at Haverford Trust Company since 2000. This position is just one part of his 50-year career in banking and investments that includes positions at United Valley Bank, where he was President and CEO, and senior positions at Jefferson Bank, First Fidelity and Industrial Valley Bank.

As a Portfolio Manager, Lynch develops client relationships, manages investment portfolios and participates on the Investment Selection Committee. He is actively involved, both professionally and personally, with non-profits around the region, working on capital campaigns and institutional development activities and partnering to help charitable organizations achieve the financial security they need to complete their missions.

Lynch is a Past President of the Union League of Philadelphia, serving in 2001 and 2002, and a board member, and former chair, of the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau. He is a former member of the Chestnut Hill College Board of Directors and Chairman of the Finance and Investment Committee.


For more information on CHC’s Commencement, visit www.chc.edu/commencement.

Posted In: Academic News