Speakers, Degree Recipients, and Honorees


Undergraduate Ceremony Speaker


Victoria Reggie Kennedy

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Victoria Reggie Kennedy is president of the board and co-founder of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate in Boston, a non-partisan organization created to educate the public about the unique role of the United States Senate in our democracy.

Kennedy earned a BA in English from Newcomb College at Tulane University and received a JD from Tulane University School of Law in New Orleans.

She began her legal career as a law clerk in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago. She practiced law in the private sector for two decades with a special emphasis on federal and state regulation of domestic commercial banks and savings and loan institutions.

A practicing attorney and strategic consultant with VR Kennedy Strategies LLC, she has assisted Congress on a variety of national issues that Congress has undertaken, and she has played important roles on such issues as healthcare and education, as well as labor and empowerment of women of all ages.

Kennedy was the co-founder and past president of Common Sense About Kids and Guns, a diverse coalition of gun control advocates, health professionals and gun manufacturers working to reduce gun deaths and injuries to children in the United States.

She is also co-founder and president of the Board of Trustees of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate in Boston.  The Institute has been established to invigorate public discourse, encourage participatory democracy, and inspire the next generation of citizens and leaders.  Her efforts are bringing together innovative, interactive high technology programming to educate visitors about the essential role of the U.S. Senate within our system of government.

Kennedy is also a Distinguished Professor and Mentor at the University of Massachusetts as well as a member of the Board of Overseers of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston.


Graduate Ceremony Speaker


Colonel Timothy P. Alben

Timothy Alben was appointed colonel/superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police in 2012.

A 1983 graduate of the Massachusetts State Police Academy, he was assigned to the Shelburne Falls and Northampton barracks and later transferred to the Office of the Hampden County District Attorney.  In 1990 Col. Alben moved to the Special Services Section, Organized Crime Unit, where he coordinated investigations associated with the Genovese crime family for the next 13 years.

Col. Alben was promoted to captain in 2004 and assigned to the Division of Field Services and Tactical Operations in Framingham.  In that role he directed security and crowd control for the Democratic National Convention in Boston, as well as for Boston’s Fourth of July celebration and the Boston Marathon.

In 2013 as colonel/superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police, Col. Alben played a leading role in the manhunt for the Boston Marathon bombing suspects following the Patriot’s Day bombing.

Col. Alben holds a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Westfield State University, and a master’s in Criminal Justice Administration from Western New England University, and a master’s in Security Studies (Homeland Defense and Security) from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California.  He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

A Holyoke native, Col. Alben resides in East Longmeadow with his wife, Maryann, and has three grown children.   


Law Ceremony Speaker


Justice Andrew J. McDonald

commcdonaldjpgJustice Andrew J. McDonald has served as associate justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court since January 2013.

Prior to his appointment, Justice McDonald was general counsel to the Office of the Governor for the State of Connecticut. In that role, he was chief legal advisor to the governor, lieutenant governor, and senior staff of the executive branch of the government.

From 1991 to 2011, he practiced law with the firm Pullman & Comley, LLC, where he was a commercial litigator handling all stages of litigation in federal and state courts at both the trial and appellate levels.

Additionally, from 1999 to 2002 McDonald was director of Legal Affairs for the city of Stamford, Connecticut, where he served in the mayor’s cabinet and oversaw administration, supervision, and performance of all legal, human resource and labor relations functions of the city, its boards, commissions, and agencies.

Justice McDonald was a state senator from 2003 to 2011, representing Stamford and Darien in the 27th District, and was senate chairman of the Judiciary Committee for all of his eight years in the General Assembly.

During periods of his legislative career he also served as the Senate Vice Chairman of the Energy and Technology Committee and as member of the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee, the Transportation Committee, the Education Committee and the Regulations Review Committee. From 2005 to 2011 he served as Deputy Majority Leader of the Senate.

Earlier in his career, Justice McDonald served on the Stamford Board of Finance from 1995-1999, including serving as the board's Chairman from 1997-1999, and as Co-Chair of the Audit Committee, from 1995-1997. He began his public service career in 1993 as a member of the Stamford Board of Representatives, where he served until 1995.

A graduate of Cornell University, Justice McDonald earned his JD from the University of Connecticut School of Law in 1991.