The Class of 2010 Begins A New Journey

Chestnut Hill College Celebrates 83rd Commencement

Release Date: Saturday, May 15, 2010

Monsignor Michael J. Doyle, Ph.D., Camden’s “Poet of Poverty,” delivered the 83rd commencement address at Chestnut Hill College on Saturday, May 15, 2010. The College awarded 293 bachelor degrees and 215 graduate degrees as well as 7 doctoral degrees in clinical psychology during the ceremony. Honorary Doctor of Laws degrees were awarded to Monsignor Michael J. Doyle, Ph.D., a tireless champion for the poor, and Sister Patricia Kelly, SSJ, a member of the Chestnut Hill College board of directors for over 20 years. Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degrees were awarded to Leona and Nelson Shanks, accomplished artists and co- founders of Studio Incamminati in Philadelphia.

Monsignor Michael J. Doyle was ordained a Roman Catholic priest in 1959, at which point he came to Camden, N.J. — and he never left. For more than 50 years, he has devoted his life to addressing and alleviating the neglect of the people of Camden, working to provide them the human dignity and living conditions they deserve.

Monsignor Doyle was a priest and schoolteacher before becoming assistant pastor of St. Joseph’s Pro-Cathedral. In 1971, he was arrested for protesting the Vietnam War, for which he was acquitted. In 1974, he became pastor of his own parish, Sacred Heart.

In the decades that followed, Monsignor Doyle led a project to restore the Sacred Heart church building, an extension of his belief that “liturgy leads to justice;” founded Heart of Camden housing, which renovates abandoned houses and helps low-income families become homeowners; established a free medical clinic; helped to create Camden Churches Organized for People, a community organizing project; promoted a ministry of the arts, helping to build a community theater; and led the development of an urban farm in Camden.

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ., Ph.D., president of Chestnut Hill College, honored four graduates for their scholastic achievement with the President’s Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement. The President’s Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement is awarded to graduates of the School of Undergraduate Studies who have completed eight consecutive semesters at Chestnut Hill College, earned a grade point average of 3.9 or better, and are graduating Summa Cum Laude. Students honored were:

Jacqueline Nevius

Major in English

Minor in Secondary Education

GPA: 3.90

Candice Thomason

Majors in Criminal Justice and Psychology

GPA: 3.93


Tammy Schaaffe

Major in English

Minors in Communications, Technology, and Psychology

GPA: 3.95

Patricia Popelak

Major in Spanish

Minor in Secondary Education

GPA: 3.97

Chestnut Hill College student Lynnette S. Bishop was awarded an honorary Bachelor of Science degree and the Medal of Valor at the ceremony. Lynnette, who passed away at the beginning of June, was an inspiration to her friends, family and members of the College community.

Despite a life threatening illness that has required hospitalizations and surgeries since she was two years old, Lynnette had been a quiet witness to the power of faith, family and friendship.

Lynnette chose Chestnut Hill College because she wanted to attend a college that was diverse and small, one that she felt was a place to grow and become a teacher. In addition to her health issues, which continued into her college years, Lynnette overcame academic challenges in a most impressive manner. Even facing economic obstacles did not deter her from her goal. She took a leave of absence for one year to work in City Year to gain experience and to earn money to be able to continue her college studies.

Upon her return to Chestnut Hill, Lynnette raised her GPA by impressive proportions and scored higher than required scores in the Praxis examinations for future teachers. Her GPA and her Praxis scores are proof of having overcome physical and educational obstacles by heroic effort. She managed to maintain excellent grades and hold down a job and do volunteer work with children even as she fought her physical battle. This year, despite surgery and chemotherapy in the fall, Lynnette achieved academically and even qualified for membership into Kappa Delta Epsilon, the education honors society. Lynnette’s signature was often “yours in service,” and this simple phrase typifies her character, her goals and her shining example at Chestnut Hill College.

Doyle Grad Caption 1

Monsignor Michael J. Doyle, Ph.D., Camden’s “Poet of Poverty,” addressed the graduates of the Class of 2010 at a ceremony on campus on May 15, 2010.


Grad Caption 2 Grad Caption 3 

Happy graduates of the Class of 2010 display their hard earned diplomas during commencement exercises at the College.

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Honorary degree recipients Monsignor Michael J. Doyle, Ph.D., Sister Patricia Kelly, SSJ, and Leona and Nelson Shanks pose with Chestnut Hill College President Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D. (center) before commencement. 




Baccalaureate Mass - 5.14.10