Bishop Robert Barron to Deliver Address at Assumption’s Commencement

Jan 07, 2019

Bishop Robert Barron, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and evangelist who uses various forms of media, in particular social media, to share the Gospel message, will deliver the Commencement address during Assumption’s 101stCommencement exercises on Sunday, May 13, at the DCU Center in downtown Worcester. Bishop Barron, John Agresto, Ph.D., the former president of St. John’s College, and Judith Beck, Ph.D. co-founder of the Beck Institute for Cognitive Behavior Therapy, will receive honorary degrees during the ceremony.

Bishop Barron is founder of Word on Fire Catholic Ministries and host of CATHOLICISM, a groundbreaking, award-winning documentary about the Catholic Faith, which is now a nationally syndicated series. His website,, attracts millions and he is followed by more than 1.5 million on Facebook. According to Bishop Barron’s YouTube channel, his videos, which have been viewed more than 25 million times, provide “brief and insightful commentaries on faith and culture” that complement his weekly sermons podcasted at

“Assumption is honored to welcome Bishop Robert Baron to impart upon the class of 2018 relevant advice as they prepare to use the knowledge they obtained at the institution to make a meaningful difference in the world,” said Francesco C. Cesareo, Ph.D., president of Assumption. “Bishop Barron is one of the most celebrated, and accessible, Catholic figures of our time who has inspired millions, especially young adults, using modern communication vehicles to share a two-thousand year old message that remains true and relevant today. Bishop Barron, Dr. Beck, and Dr. Agresto, embody the mission of Assumption College as they use their gifts in the service of others.”

Francis Cardinal George described Bishop Barron as “one of the Church’s best messengers” because of his extensive and effective use of social media to spread the Catholic faith. Bishop Barron has served as a keynote speaker at many conferences and events across the world, including the 2016 World Youth Day in Kraków, Poland, and the 2015 World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia both of which included Pope Francis. He is also a bestselling author on Amazon, having published 15 books, and has written many articles on theology and the spiritual life. Bishop Barron regularly appears on CNN, EWTN, FOX News and NBC News offering clarity from a Catholic perspective on significant issues.

Judith S. Beck, Ph.D.

Judith S. Beck, Ph.D., is president of The Beck Institute for Cognitive Behavior Therapy, a nonprofit organization based in suburban Philadelphia, which she co-founded with her father, Aaron T. Beck, M.D., in 1994. Through the Institute, she has trained thousands of health and mental health professionals, nationally and internationally. Dr. Beck is also a clinical professor of psychology in psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania; her online courses have been taken by mental health students and professionals in more than 100 countries. Dr. Beck divides her time between teaching and supervision, administration, clinical work, program development, research, and writing. 

For more than 20 years, Assumption has been home to the Aaron T. Beck Institute for Cognitive Studies, working in conjunction with the institution’s clinical counseling psychology program.  Each year, the Institute hosts internationally recognized psychologists and psychiatrists during its annual clinical workshop series on cognitive therapy. The purpose of these workshops is to educate mental health professionals, Assumption College students, and the community at large on cognitive therapy and its efficacy in resolving problems in daily living.

Dr. Beck has written more 100 articles and essays, and has made hundreds of presentations, nationally and internationally, on a variety of topics related to cognitive behavior therapy. She is the author of the widely adopted textbook, Cognitive Behavior Therapy:  Basics and Beyond, which has been translated into 20 languages.

John Agresto, Ph.D.

John Agresto, Ph.D., has amassed a lifetime of service to the higher education community, including service to enhance education in Iraq. From 1989-2000, Agresto served as president of St. John’s College in Santa Fe, NM, during which he conducted the most successful capital campaign in the college’s 300-year history, tripling its endowment and realizing a number of ambitious construction projects. In addition to his leadership service at St. John’s, Agresto served as assistant, deputy and acting chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities in Washington, D.C.; interim president of the American College of Education; and as a Lilly senior research fellow in the liberal arts at Wabash College in Indiana.

From 2003-04, Agresto was senior advisor for higher education and scientific research for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq. Over the next several years, he would return to Iraq, fulfilling important roles at the American University of Iraq in Sulaimani as provost and dean of faculty and interim chancellor and provost, positions he held from 2007-2010. Though retired, Agresto currently serves as president of John Agresto & Associates and in May 2017, he was appointed Santa Fe (NM) County’s new probate judge, a position in which he continues to serve his community.