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Pamela T. Miller, Esq. ’77 Serves as Keynote Speaker at 2015 Michaelmas Convocation

Pamela T. Miller, Esq. ’77, president and CEO of Summit Global Strategies, Ltd., provided the keynote address for the 2015 Saint Peter’s University Michaelmas Convocation. The University community gathered at The Victor R. Yanitelli, S.J. Recreational Life Center on Wednesday, September 30 for the ceremony, which marked the 50th anniversary of the Michaelmas speech Dr. Martin Luther King, H ’65 delivered during his historic visit to Saint Peter’s.

The annual Michaelmas Convocation follows the medieval tradition of convening the faculty and students to start the term and is celebrated in the honor of the feast of the archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. Each year, 10 senior students are inducted into the oldest scholarship society at Saint Peter’s, the Most Noble Order of the Peacock (MNOP), for attaining the highest scholastic average in all courses throughout their first three years at the University. The students inducted into this year’s MNOP society include: Mary Gerraah, Christian R. Ugaz, Genesis Balarezo, Lauren Squillante, Sarah B. Surowitz, Suman Bhattarai, Jennifer E. Mejia, Daniel A. Centeno, Christina M. Petrelis and Natalie R. Ramirez.

A number of students also received achievement awards in all academic areas, including the sciences, arts and business, among others.

During her address, Miller hearkened back to Dr. King’s visit to Saint Peter’s in 1965, noting how the civil rights leader brought light to the disconnect between the country’s values and its treatment of people with different skin colors by awakening the consciences of America.

“He taught that people of all faiths . . . and walks of life have more in common than we have differences,” said Miller, “and that these differences may be the nexus of change that catapults a people to greatness.”

Ms. Miller received a bachelor’s degree in biology from Saint Peter’s in 1977. From there, she continued her education and went on to earn a M.P.A. in health, policy, planning and administration from New York University and a J.D. from the Seton Hall University School of Law.

With more than 20 years of experience as an executive for planning, sustainability and government, Miller presently leads Summit Global Strategies, Ltd., an international consulting company specializing in business and market strategy, development, sustainability and policy. In addition, she sits on the Saint Peter’s Board of Trustees and is a recipient of numerous business and industry awards.

Miller urged students to take their education and change the world for the better whether it might be improving public education, eliminating violence, remodeling the mental health system, serving as civil rights lawyers, spearheading immigration reform policies or addressing global warming and climate change.

“While you are here, prepare yourselves well for your future of becoming a strong and effective change agent,” she said. “It will rarely be easy to go against the grain, but it will always ultimately be worth it.”

Miller concluded by telling the students that each of them had his or her own great gift. “When you know your unique gift, you will know your passion,” she continued. “I’m looking forward to the change you will make.”

Eugene J. Cornacchia, Ph.D., president of Saint Peter’s University, congratulated the students, faculty and parents on their successes. In addition to celebrating their academic achievements, he explained Michaelmas was also about stirring up important thoughts and feelings — a purpose Dr. King had exemplified during his Michaelmas speech in 1965.

“Fifty years ago, he stood before students and educators, inspiring them to unleash their ideas, think for themselves and like him, pursue their dreams,” added Dr. Cornacchia. “In his wake, he left an unwavering legacy and a presence that can still be felt on campus.”

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