Worcester Red Sox Chairman & Principal Owner Larry Lucchino to Deliver Commencement Address
Paqui Kelly and Wendy Wright to also receive honorary degrees
Larry Lucchino, Boston Red Sox Hall of Famer and Chairman & Principal Owner of the Worcester Red Sox, will deliver the Commencement address during Assumption's 105th Commencement exercises on Sunday, May 8, at the DCU Center in downtown Worcester. Lucchino, along with Paqui Kelly, co-founder and board president of the Kelly Cares Foundation, and Wendy M. Wright, Ph.D., professor emerita of theology at Creighton University, will receive honorary degrees during the ceremony.
“The Assumption community is pleased to award honorary degrees to Mr. Lucchino, Mrs. Kelly, and Professor Wright, individuals who have inspiring stories to share with the Class of 2022,” said Assumption President Francesco C. Cesareo, Ph.D. “Each of these individuals has made an indelible impact in their respective fields and are inspiring examples for our graduates to emulate. Mr. Lucchino and the Worcester Red Sox have transformed Worcester and, through the University’s partnership with the team, are transforming the way in which professional sports enhance the undergraduate experience. We look forward to the wisdom he will impart upon our graduates during his commencement address on May 8.”
In October 2018, Assumption announced it was one of the Worcester Red Sox’s Founding Partners, “The 21 Club,” paving the way for opportunities for Assumption students, including internships that have already led to full time jobs. At the time of the announcement, Lucchino called the partnership “unique in baseball” and a “multidimensional educational partnership,” one that has the Red Sox and Greyhounds collaborating “to expand the educational experiences of those who are fortunate enough to call Assumption their home.”
Lucchino, “the man who chose Worcester,” served as President/CEO of the Boston Red Sox during a historic 14-year period through 2015, in which the club won three World Series, preserved and expanded Fenway Park, established the Major League Baseball record for consecutive sellouts (820 games), and created the charitable Red Sox Foundation. In 2015, Lucchino and the late Jim Skeffington assembled a group and purchased Boston's longtime Triple-A affiliate in Pawtucket, RI. In 2018, Lucchino made a landmark agreement with the City of Worcester and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts that preserves the team in New England for at least the next three decades. Polar Park, which opened in April 2021, was Lucchino’s fifth ballpark project, starting with Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore; Petco Park in San Diego; JetBlue Park in Lee County, FL; and of course the ten years of renovations that preserved, protected, and enhanced legendary Fenway Park in Boston.
After graduating from Yale Law School, Lucchino in 1974 began specializing in sports law and litigation, including serving as general counsel to the Washington Redskins. Lucchino entered the world of baseball when he became vice president/general counsel for the Baltimore Orioles in 1979, later becoming president (1988-93). After the Orioles were sold, Lucchino served as president and CEO of the San Diego Padres (1995-2001) before joining John W. Henry, Tom Werner, and their partners, who purchased the Red Sox, Fenway Park, and 80 percent of NESN in December 2001.
Lucchino has served on several MLB committees, helped establish baseball's first International Opener, and was an early supporter of the World Baseball Classic. In addition to the Red Sox Hall of Fame, the Pittsburgh native is a member of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame and the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame. He received the Judge Emil Fuchs Award from the Boston chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America in 2011 in honor of his three decades of service to the game of baseball.
An All-City second baseman in high school in his native Pittsburgh, Lucchino played basketball and graduated with honors from Princeton University, where he played in the Final Four. He has the distinction of having earned a Final Four Watch, Super Bowl Ring, and multiple World Series Rings. He serves as chairman of the Red Sox’s official charity, “The Jimmy Fund” at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, which has three times saved his life.
Paqui Kelly, Co-founder and Board President of Kelly Cares Foundation.
The Kelly Cares Foundation was founded by Paqui and Brian ’83, HD ‘12 Kelly, a two-time breast cancer survivor, to raise awareness of and funds for the fight against breast cancer. Since its founding, the organization has strengthened communities and inspired hope by donating more than $5.5 million to over 195 causes in 20 U.S. states and four countries that align with the foundation’s two key initiatives: cancer research and patient advocacy. The foundation states that it serves “as a ‘Playbook for Hope’ for thousands of families, patients, caregivers, students, and organizations” in the areas of health (by funding research, essential services, prevention programs, and healthy-living initiatives); education (by supporting research and institutional advancement that are committed to quality education); and investing in community programs that promote active participation and engagement of its members.
Prior to founding the Kelly Cares Foundation, Kelly served for more than 13 years as a chemistry teacher. She holds a Master of Education from Grand Valley State University.
Wendy M. Wright, Ph.D., Professor Emerita of Theology, Creighton University
Dr. Wright is a professor emerita of theology at Creighton University and an affiliated faculty member of the Institute for Contemporary Spirituality for the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio, TX, a position she has held since 2014. She is a leading expert in Salesian spirituality and a prolific author, including such titles as Bond of Perfection: Jeanne de Chantal and Francois de Sales, Francis de Sales and Jane de Chantal: Letters of Spiritual Direction, and Francis de Sales: Introduction to the Devout Life and Treatise on the Love of God.
Wright taught at the University of Santa Barbara, the Weston School of Theology in Cambridge, and the University of Nebraska at Omaha before joining Creighton University as a visiting professor of theology in 1989. She served as professor of philosophy until 2017, when she was named professor emerita; she was also director of the Center for the Study of Catholicism at Creighton and the John C. Kenefick Faculty Chair in the Humanities.
She holds a bachelor’s degree from California State University at Los Angeles, and a master’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of California at Santa Barbara.