Assumption University Undergraduate and Graduate School Commencement Honorands Announced

Apr 23, 2024

Assumption University is delighted to announce its speakers and honorary degree recipients for both the Undergraduate and Graduate School Commencement Ceremonies.

Aaron Dominguez, Ph.D., will deliver the commencement address at the Undergraduate Commencement ceremony on May 12, 2024, where he will also receive an honorary doctorate.

Dr. Dominguez, who currently serves as the Provost at The Catholic University of America, is a particle physicist and a devout Catholic – an unlikely combination but one that highlights the complementarity of reason and faith. In his address, Dr. Dominguez will discuss how a variety of academic disciplines–including the natural sciences- contribute to the University’s Catholic mission and allow for the pursuit of truth wherever it can be found. Asking fundamental questions, whether about his work in the laboratory or his wonderment in a Catholic mass, has informed his vocation as a professor and provost.

“We are honored to welcome Dr. Dominguez, a distinguished physicist, professor, and provost, as our guest speaker for the Undergraduate Commencement ceremony this year,” said Assumption University President Greg Weiner. “Dr. Dominguez will speak to graduates on how a variety of disciplines, including physics, help to enrich and make possible the Catholic liberal education that we and other Catholic liberal arts institutions offer. He has dedicated his career to the importance of both faith and science, further emphasizing the strength of Catholic liberal arts education.”

The son of Latino immigrants, Dr. Dominguez has spent much of his career in service of providing first-generation and ALANA students access to liberal education. He currently serves as a board member of the Raza Development Fund, which provides responsible and attainable financial solutions to community-based organizations focused on health, education, affordable housing, climate resilience, homeownership, and entrepreneurship. Prior to his appointment as Provost, Dr. Dominguez served as the Dean of Catholic University’s School of Arts and Sciences from 2016-2019. His main area of scholarly research is in using particle colliders to search for new physics, including the Higgs boson. Dr. Dominguez received his undergraduate degrees from Whitman College and Caltech, his Ph.D. in physics from UC San Diego, and was a postdoctoral researcher at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Carolyn M. Clancy, an alumna from the class of 1982, will deliver the keynote address, and receive an honorary degree, at the University’s Graduate School Commencement on May 18, 2024. After graduating from Assumption with a bachelor’s degree in business management, Ms. Clancy received her Master of Business Education with distinction from Babson College in 1989.

Ms. Clancy’s professional experience spans a variety of companies and industries. Ms. Clancy served as a member of the Chief Executive Officer’s Leadership Team at Fidelity Investments for fifteen years, where she held managerial responsibility for businesses up to $1.5B in revenue. Prior to her work at Fidelity, Ms. Clancy worked for 16 years at four large and mid-sized firms in high tech, manufacturing, and defense businesses, including Honeywell/Loral, Lockheed/Sanders, and Barry Controls. Her roles included Director of Sales & Marketing, National Sales Manager, and Program, Contracts and Product Manager.

Ms. Clancy is currently a member of the University’s Board of Trustees and she has been a member of the President’s Council since 2000. She was inducted into the University’s Alumni-Athletic Hall of Fame in 2002 in recognition of her accomplishments on the field hockey team. In addition to her support of Assumption, Ms. Clancy volunteers for organizations that support women and girls in leadership.

In addition to the two commencement speakers, the University will bestow honorary degrees to Robert DeMott, Ph.D., a noted scholar of the works of author John Steinbeck, and Michael M. Collins, M.D., Chancellor of UMass Chan Medical School.

Dr. Robert DeMott is the Edwin and Ruth Kennedy Distinguished Professor of English at Ohio University. A graduate of Assumption University’s class of 1965, Dr. DeMott is a classic Assumption story of grit and perseverance. A member of the University’s ice hockey team and self-described “lackluster” student, Dr. DeMott found his vocation at Assumption while studying with the late John Burke and Michael O’Shea, two beloved professors in the English department. Dr. DeMott was inspired to pursue graduate study at Kent State University, where he earned a Ph.D. in American literature (with a dissertation on Henry David Thoreau) in 1969.

That year, DeMott began his full-time teaching career at Ohio University in Athens, a public university of 20,000 students, where he remained from 1969 until his retirement in 2013, during which time he won six teaching awards, directed 22 PhD dissertations and countless MA theses and BA Honors theses, published numerous well-received books, and became internationally known as a significant scholar and commentator on the life and work of John Steinbeck. Since retiring, he has remained active as a writer. His recent works include a memoir, Angling Days: A Fly Fisher’s Journals (2019), as well as prose poems and essays, including Up Late Reading Birds of America (2020) and Steinbeck’s Imaginarium: Essays on Writing, Fishing, and Other Critical Matters (2022).

Dr. Michael F. Collins, a tenured professor of population and quantitative health sciences and medicine, was appointed chancellor of UMass Chan Medical School in 2008. As the senior vice president, Dr. Collins has spearheaded two five-campus life sciences strategic planning processes and continues to guide the strategic direction of the University’s life and health sciences portfolio. Before joining the University of Massachusetts, Dr. Collins served as president and chief executive officer of the Caritas Christi Health Care System from 1994 to 2004.

An alumnus, honorary degree recipient, and former board chair of the College of Holy Cross and a graduate of Tufts University School of Medicine, Dr. Collins is a board-certified physician in internal medicine. He is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians, as well as an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. Dr. Collins currently sits on the boards of UMass Memorial Health, Inc., the Higher Education Consortium of Central Massachusetts, and the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce.

The University thanks the Honorary Degree Committee of the Board of Trustees for its work in evaluating and recommending candidates for these honors.

The Undergraduate Commencement ceremony will begin at 10:00 a.m. at the DCU Center in downtown Worcester. The Graduate School Commencement ceremony will begin at 10:00 a.m. in the University’s Plourde Recreation Center. A livestream of both ceremonies will be available on the University’s website,