Chatham News

Keynote speakers set for 2010 undergraduate and graduate commencement exercises

By: Amanda Kennedy, Senior Public Relations Specialist
April 1, 2010

PITTSBURGH (April 1, 2010) … Chatham University will graduate its 138th class of undergraduate women and its 15th class of graduate women and men during two ceremonies on Sunday, May 23 in the University’s Athletic and Fitness Center in Shadyside. Trustee Chair S. Murray Rust III, President Esther L. Barazzone, Ph.D. and Vice President for Academic Affairs Laura S. Armesto, Ph.D. will preside over the ceremonies.

The graduate ceremony will take place at 10:00 a.m. with keynote speakers Mark Roosevelt, Superintendent of the Pittsburgh Public Schools, and José Zaglul, president of EARTH University in Costa Rica. The undergraduate ceremony will occur at 2:00 p.m. with keynote speakers Alison Bernstein, 2010 William and Camille Cosby Endowed Professor at Spelman College and The Ford Foundation’s Vice President for the Education, Creativity and Free Expression Program; and William Benter, Chairman and International CEO of Pittsburgh-based Acusis LLC and founder of the Benter Global Citizenship Initiative at Chatham. All four speakers will receive honorary doctorates of public service.

Graduate Commencement Speakers
Mark Roosevelt, J.D. was appointed Superintendent of the Pittsburgh Public Schools in August of 2005. Since his appointment, he has led the development and implementation of an aggressive academic reform agenda called Excellence for All and played a lead role in the planning and development of The Pittsburgh Promise, which provides a scholarship to all colleges and universities and many technical/trade schools in Pennsylvania for all Pittsburgh Public Schools graduates, regardless of income, who meet academic and attendance requirements.

As a Massachusetts state representative from 1986-94, Mr. Roosevelt chaired the state legislature’s Education Committee, where he co-authored and steered to passage the Education Reform Act of 1993, landmark legislation providing the equitable resources and accountability measures necessary for school improvement. The Act produced extraordinary gains in student achievement in Massachusetts.

Mr. Roosevelt holds a Juris Doctorate from Harvard Law School and a Bachelor of Arts from Harvard College. He is a graduate of the Broad Urban Superintendent’s Academy, an intensive executive management program designed to prepare educators and professionals from other fields to lead large city school systems. He has taught Political Science at Brandeis University, where he was also the Director of the Gordon Public Policy Center and currently teaches a course on the intersection of American history and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz Graduate School of Public Policy.

José A. Zaglul is the President of EARTH University, an international, private, not-for-profit institution in Costa Rica, dedicated to preparing leaders with ethical values to contribute to the sustainable development of the tropics and to construct a prosperous and just society. Dr. Zaglul has been President of EARTH University since its inception in 1989 and has provided the vision and leadership for this innovative institution and its unique educational environment that encourages the development of responsible leadership based on values, social commitment, environmental consciousness, academic excellence and an entrepreneurial and enterprising spirit.

Born and raised in Costa Rica to parents of Lebanese descent, Dr. Zaglul obtained his B.S. in Agricultural Economics and M.S. in Animal Science from the American University of Beirut in Lebanon. He later received a second M.S. in Food Science and Human Nutrition and a PhD in Meat and Muscle Biology from the University of Florida.

Prior to serving as EARTH University’s President, Dr. Zaglul was Head of the Animal Production Department at the Centro Agrícola Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza (CATIE) in Costa Rica, an international center for tropical research and the oldest postgraduate school of agriculture in Latin America. From 1981 to 1985, Dr. Zaglul was a Food Science professor and later Vice President of Research and Extension of the Instituto Tecnológico de Costa Rica (ITCR).

Dr. Zaglul is the former President (2005-2007) and a current Executive Committee member of the Global Consortium of Higher Education and Research for Agriculture (GCHERA) and is a member of the Board of Trustees of the American University of Beirut and the Board of Directors of Citizens in Solidarity. He served as the co-chair of the five-year SEMCIT international seminar series (Sustainability, Education and the Management of Change in the Tropics) and travels extensively around the world to present EARTH University’s innovative educational model and raise funds for the institution.

Undergraduate Commencement Speakers
Alison R. Bernstein, recently named the 2010 William and Camille Cosby Endowed Professor at Spelman College, served as The Ford Foundation’s Vice President for the Knowledge, Creativity and Freedom Program since 1996. She joined the Foundation in 1982 as a Program Officer and subsequently served as Director of the Education and Culture Program from 1992-1996.

A former Associate Dean of Faculty at Princeton University, Dr. Bernstein is the author of three books: American Indians and World War II: Towards a New Era in Indian Affairs (University of Oklahoma Press, 1991); with Virginia B. Smith, The Impersonal Campus (Jossey-Bass, 1979) and with Jacklyn Cock, Melting Pots and Rainbow Nations: Conversations about Difference in the United States and South Africa (University of Illinois Press, 2002).

She is a former member of the Presidential Advisory Board on Tribal Colleges and Universities and the Board of Advisors to the Smithsonian Institution – National Museum of American History. Dr. Bernstein is currently a Contributing Editor to Change Magazine, and serves on the Board of Project Pericles and the International Fellowships Fund. She graduated from Vassar College, and received a Ph.D. and an M.A. in History from Columbia University.

William Benter is Chairman and International CEO of Pittsburgh-based Acusis LLC, a leading outsourced medical transcription organization with hospital clients throughout the United States. The son of Chatham alumna Dorothy Benter ’45, Mr. Benter began his successful business career in high technology entrepreneurial software development.

Mr. Benter studied at Case Western University and the University of Bristol (England), is a visiting professor at the University of Southhampton (England), and has lectured at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Stanford University, Harvard University, Carnegie Mellon University, City University of Hong Kong, and University of Nevada, Las Vegas. The Liu Bie Ju Centre for Mathematical Sciences (of the City University of Hong Kong), a leading research centre in the Asia-Pacific region, recently established the William Benter Prize in Applied Mathematics in honor of Mr. Benter’s support of the University’s mission of conducting world-class research in applied and computational mathematics.

Long engaged in efforts to promote greater international understanding, Mr. Benter in 2006 funded the Benter Global Citizenship Initiative at Chatham which enables Chatham University faculty and students to collaborate on and develop programs that encourage experiential learning, international citizenship and greater awareness of global issues through active participation in other cultures. Mr. Benter serves on the board of the World Affairs Council and is a major donor to the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the new Pittsburgh Middle East Institute.

About Chatham University
Chatham University provides its almost 2,000 students with a solid education built upon strong academics, public leadership and global perspectives. Chatham’s graduate programs, continuing education and certification programs provide women and men with advanced education for professional careers. Founded in 1869, the University includes Chatham College for Women; the College of Graduate Studies; and the College for Continuing and Professional Studies. The 35-acre arboretum campus is located on historic Woodland Road in the Shadyside section of Pittsburgh. For more information call 800-837-1290 or visit