2018 Commencement Speakers | Salem State University Skip to main content

Salem State University has announced the lineup of speakers for its three 2018 Commencement ceremonies. Speakers include Brian McGrory, editor of The Boston Globe; James O’Shanna Morton, CEO of the YMCA of Greater Boston; and Kim Gassett-Schiller, higher education advocate and philanthropist. All commencement speakers will be receiving honorary doctorate degrees from Salem State University.


“Our speakers and degree recipients this year bring an impressive track record of serving the public and contributing to the greater good. Each will contribute greatly to the ceremonies, delivering remarks that I am certain will inspire and motivate our students,” said John Keenan, President of Salem State University. “We look forward to welcoming these leaders to our campus in May as we honor our students.”


Brian McGrory headshot

Brian McGrory, editor of The Boston Globe, will address Salem State’s School of Graduate Studies ceremony on Thursday, May 17 at 4 pm. During his 27-year tenure at the Globe, Mr. McGrory has worked as the newspaper’s Metro columnist and associate editor. He has also held the roles of The Boston Globe’s Metro editor, White House reporter, national reporter, general assignment reporter, and suburban reporter. Under Mr. McGrory’s leadership, The Boston Globe won the Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Reporting in 2014 for its coverage of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. Mr. McGrory earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from Bates College. He is the author of five books.


James Morton headshot

James O’Shanna Morton will address Salem State’s College of Arts and Sciences and School of Education on Saturday, May 19 at 10 am. Mr. Morton is the CEO of the YMCA of Greater Boston following his service to the YMCAs in Hartford, CT and Springfield, MA. During his time in the YMCA movement, Mr. Morton has provided support and leadership in response to such issues as the achievement gap, youth violence, health disparities within diverse communities, community-police relations, chronic disease control, social-emotional learning, equity and social justice, and workforce development. Prior to the YMCA, Mr. Morton was a lawyer for 18 years, a high school teacher, and the administrator of an adult education center. Mr. Morton earned his bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Wisconsin and his juris doctorate from Northeastern University School of Law.


Kim Gassett Schiller headshot

Kim D. Gassett-Schiller, higher education advocate and philanthropist, will address Salem State’s Maguire Meservey College of Health and Human Services and the Bertolon School of Business. Ms. Gassett-Schiller graduated from Salem State University in 1983 with a bachelor's degree in business administration. She began her career of giving to Salem State on her graduation day with a $1.00 donation and has given every year since. Ms. Gassett-Schiller serves on the Salem State University Foundation Board’s Fundraising and Engagement Committee, was a member of the Salem State President's Campaign Cabinet, and co-chaired the 10,000 Reasons Campaign, which raised over $26 million for Salem State. In 2008, she and her husband, Philip, endowed the Gassett-Schiller Chair in Accounting and Finance in the Bertolon School of Business. The Harold E. and Marilyn J. Gassett Fitness Center, named in honor of Kim's parents, opened in 2013 and was one of her most recent gifts to Salem State University.


Salem State University’s graduations will all be held at the university’s O’Keefe Complex at 225 Canal Street in Salem, MA.

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