Director of the National Science Foundation France A. Córdova to Serve as 2016 Commencement Speaker

Jersey City, N.J. – March 16, 2016 – Saint Peter’s University today announced that France A. Córdova, director of the National Science Foundation, will address the Class of 2016 at the 125th commencement exercises for the University on May 23. Dr. Córdova will also receive an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, honoris causa. In addition, the University will bestow an honorary degree upon Rev. Charles Currie, S.J., former president of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU).

In March 2014, Dr. Córdova was nominated by President Barack Obama to head the National Science Foundation (NSF), a $7.2-billion independent federal agency responsible for the advancement of all fields of scientific discovery, technological innovation and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. Prior to her role with the NSF, Córdova served as president of Purdue University and chancellor of the University of California. She was a distinguished professor of physics and astronomy at the University of California and led the department of astronomy and astrophysics at Pennsylvania State University. She also served as NASA’s chief scientist and as deputy group leader in the Earth and space science division at Los Alamos National Library.

“As an internationally recognized astrophysicist serving at the highest levels of government, we believe Dr. Córdova’s knowledge and experience will undoubtedly inspire our graduates to renew their commitment to the noble ideas of their beloved alma mater,” said Eugene J. Cornacchia, Ph.D., president of Saint Peter’s University. “The University community is looking forward to hearing her words of wisdom.”

The second honorary degree recipient, Fr. Currie, is a well-known advocate for independent higher education, who served as the president of AJCU for 14 years. Under his leadership, AJCU focused efforts on preserving student aid and increasing access to the underserved. Fr. Currie played a key role in the establishment of the AJCU Seminar on Higher Education Leadership and the development of the Jesuit Distance Education Network (JesuitNET). Prior to his role at AJCU, he served as president of Wheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia and Xavier University in Ohio. Beyond his support of students and colleges he is also dedicated to assisting victims of natural disasters and war crimes.

The commencement ceremony for Saint Peter’s University will be held at the PNC Bank Arts Center at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, May 23.

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Saint Peter’s University, inspired by its Jesuit, Catholic identity, commitment to individual attention and grounding in the liberal arts, educates a diverse community of learners in undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and professional programs to excel intellectually, lead ethically, serve compassionately and promote justice in our ever-changing urban and global environment.


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