Commencement to Take Place on May 21
St. Lawrence University's Commencement will take place at 10 a.m. on Sunday, May 21, on Creasy Commencement Common, or in Appleton Arena in the event of inclement weather.
Students, faculty, staff and guests will hear remarks from honorary degree recipients Susan M. Collins ’75, U.S. Senator from Maine, Jane (Breckenridge) Eisner ’64, president of The Eisner Foundation, Richard Guarasci, former St. Lawrence professor and 18th President of Wagner College, and Caroline Mastin Welsh P’07, director emerita of the Adirondack Museum.
Doctor of Humane Letters
U.S. Sen. Susan M. Collins ’75
Maine’s Senior United States Senator Susan Collins was first elected to the Senate in 1996. She ranks 15th in Senate seniority and is the most senior Republican woman. Senator Collins chairs the Senate Aging Committee and the Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee, and serves on the Intelligence Committee and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
Senator Collins has earned a national reputation for working across party lines. In 2004, she coauthored landmark legislation overhauling the nation’s intelligence community, improving its effectiveness while protecting civil liberties. Senator Collins was the lead Republican in the successful effort to repeal the military’s discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in December 2010. In October 2013, she led a bipartisan group of Senators who wrote the framework of the plan that ended the 16-day government shutdown.
For the last three consecutive years, she has ranked as the most bipartisan member of the U.S. Senate, and she recently received the inaugural Jacob Javits Prize for Bipartisan Leadership. Known for her Maine work ethic, Senator Collins has never missed a roll call vote, casting more than 6,300.
Senator Collins, a native of Caribou, Maine, graduated Phi Beta Kappa from St. Lawrence University in 1975 and joined the staff of then-Congressman and later Senator William Cohen. She was appointed Director of the Small Business Administration’s regional office in Boston by President George H. W. Bush, and was the founding executive director of the Center for Family Business at Husson University in Bangor, Maine.
A former classmate of President William L. Fox, Senator Collins spoke at his inauguration on October 1, 2009. Senator Collins is a regular speaker at SLU Connect-DC events, has served as a panelist with President Fox on the national liberal arts symposium, and received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from St. Lawrence University in 1998.
Jane (Breckenridge) Eisner ’64
Jane (Breckenridge) Eisner founded The Eisner Foundation in 1996, along with her husband, Michael D. Eisner, to coordinate the philanthropic activities supported by the Eisner family. She serves as president of the foundation. To date, the foundation has donated $125 million to support nonprofit organizations based primarily in Los Angeles County. The Eisner Foundation invests in high-quality and innovative programs that unite multiple generations for the enrichment of the community. In 2015, the foundation became the only U.S. funder investing exclusively in intergenerational solutions.
Eisner has served on the board of trustees for American Fund for Aids Research (amFAR) as well as on the boards of directors of the Harvard-Westlake School and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association. She is a member of the Aspen Music Festival National Council and serves on the board of visitors of the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California Los Angeles. She is the past chair of the board of the California Community Foundation and is a past member of the Smithsonian National Board, the Los Angeles YMCA and KCET.
Eisner has impacted the lives of St. Lawrence students through the Karen M. Urciuoli Scholarship, which was established in memory of her friend and classmate, Karen Urciuoli ’64, and supports female students with financial need who reside in central and northern New York.
Richard Guarasci is a national leader in higher education, first as a leader in linking undergraduate learning with residential life, later as a curricular innovator in learning communities and experiential learning, and more recently in addressing social inequalities through civic engagement and university/neighborhood partnerships. He has chaired numerous boards of higher education. Currently, he serves as chair of the Board of Directors of Campus Compact, a consortium of 1,100 universities dedicated to civic engagement. He is a leader in six other higher education associations dedicated to undergraduate learning and civic commitments in the urban spaces, the arts and humanities and in public history and design.
Guarasci is the longest serving president of Wagner College where he founded the Wagner Plan for the Practical Liberal Arts, which links the arts and sciences with professional education through field based and civic learning. He has received numerous recognitions for his dedication to undergraduate education. He is widely published in the areas of higher learning and democratic education.
Guarasci taught at St. Lawrence from 1973 until 1992 and served as the founding director of The First-Year Program. This type of interdisciplinary learning, which he pioneered at St. Lawrence, laid the groundwork for the Wagner Plan.
North Country Citation
Caroline Welsh P’07
Caroline Mastin Welsh is an art historian and director emerita of the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake, New York. As chief curator and director of operations from 1994 through 2005, Welsh played a leadership role in the design and implementation of three major additions to the museum campus: the Visitor Center, the Mark W. Potter Education Center and the Collections Storage and Study Center.
Welsh is the author of numerous books and articles on Adirondack artists and other subjects, including Adirondack Prints and Printmakers: The Call of the Wild, (1998), The View from Asgaard: Rockwell Kent's Adirondack Legacy (2000), In Search of a National Landscape: William Trost Richards and the Artists’ Adirondacks 1850-1870 (2002), Wild Exuberance: Harold Weston’s Adirondack Art (2005), and The Adirondack World of A. F. Tait (2011).
She serves as trustee of the Lake Placid Winter Olympic Museum, the Society for the Preservation of American Modernists, the Lake Placid Center for the Arts, The Exhibition Alliance, and is a member of the committee for the Visual Arts at Hamilton College.
She is a graduate of the Kent School and Wellesley College and was awarded fellowships in museum studies at the Smithsonian Institution and museum leadership at the Getty Leadership Institute. Her work in the museum profession includes positions at the Smithsonian Institution and the Albany Institute of History and Art.