Manhattanville College’s 182nd Commencement Ceremonies Held

May 21, 2023
President Feroe and graduate pose on stage at Commencement
President Feroe and graduate pose on stage at Commencement

Nearly 400 students from the Class of 2023 received graduate and undergraduate degrees and heard from honorary degree recipients who are leaders in business and education 

PURCHASE, NY, May 2023 – Nearly 400 Manhattanville College students received graduate and undergraduate degrees last week in two separate outdoor commencement ceremonies on the campus quad on Thurs., May 11, and Sat., May 13. The school awarded 300 undergraduate degrees, 100 graduate degrees, and 20 doctoral degrees.

Congressman Jamaal Bowman, a 2019 graduate of the doctoral program in educational leadership at Manhattanville, made a special guest appearance and addressed the crowd. Last year, Bowman was an honorary degree recipient and speaker for the graduate ceremonies.

“Throughout history we have always been in so much conflict with each other because of our differences and who we are,” said Dr. Bowman. “But I think the next evolution of human history is about what we have in common. You all have the ability to solve these problems.”

Betty A. Rosa, Ed.D., Commissioner of Education and President of the University of the State of New York, was awarded an honorary degree, and Linda Pistecchia Kirkpatrick, President of North America at Mastercard, was the keynote speaker at the graduate ceremonies. Kirkpatrick, a Board member and 1999 alumna of Manhattanville, also received an honorary degree.

Addressing students at the undergraduate ceremony on May 13 was 1997 alumnus Jason Rivera, Ph.D., Associate Vice Provost of Student Success and Dean of University College at Ball State University. Alums and former Manhattanville trustees Dwight Hilson and Mary Foley Cooper were honored at the ceremony. All three received honorary degrees, with Cooper's awarded posthumously and presented to her family, who flew in from California.

In addressing those who earned their master’s and doctoral degrees, Manhattanville Interim President Louise Feroe, Ph.D., congratulated graduates and urged them to not forget the lessons they had learned at Manhattanville.

“Tonight, we celebrate the achievements of those of you who have completed advanced degrees – often while working and taking on many additional responsibilities. You are to be celebrated this evening. Your achievements are impressive– whether you are completing a master’s degree in business management, human resource management, sport business management, biomedical science, nursing, writing, or education, this credential is hard-earned and should prepare you to take on the world in those areas you have studied. And to our 20+ doctoral candidates: our heartiest congratulations: you have reached the pinnacle of American education,’’ said Dr. Feroe.

Dr. Feroe also gave special recognition to Shelley Wepner, Ed.D., retiring as Dean of the School of Education after 19 years. Dean Wepner founded the school’s Changing Suburbs Institute in 2005, which now works with more than 19 school districts to acclimate first-generation students. "She came to Manhattanville in 2004 and has created many programs through her years of service to the college,” said Dr. Feroe.  “Dean Wepner truly has lived out the Manhattanville motto: “To a Valiant heart, nothing is impossible!”

Kirkpatrick told graduate students that when she left the college in 1999, she was ready to take on the world. Manhattanville, she said, was a special community where the values she learned helped her excel both as a business leader and as a human being. As President of North America at Mastercard, Kirkpatrick oversees the operations and customer-facing activities in the United States and Canada. Bloomberg Businessweek named Kirkpatrick to the 2020 Bloomberg 50.

“I still remember walking through the doors of historic Brownson Hall for the first time as a bright-eyed freshman; how this place would instill in me the value of community, how it would push me out of my comfort zone, how it would teach me to see the value and worth of everyone around me – lessons that have stayed with me to this day. And so, throughout my career, every time I felt anxious or unsure of myself, I leaned on my experiences at Manhattanville, knowing discomfort would only lead me to the next good thing,’’ said Kirkpatrick.

She added, “An education like this is not common. It is special. In fact, in a lot of corners of the planet, people are trending in the opposite direction — with a limited set of facts, closed-minded circles, and more cynical outlooks. No, not every single class you took here will be valuable to you out there — but the energy of this place is so rare that your perspective will make you invaluable everywhere you go.”

In awarding the honorary degree to Rosa, Dr. Feroe said, "Dr. Rosa has been a fearless advocate for educational equity, a stalwart defender of social justice, and a steadfast leader in the fight for educational access and opportunity.’’

In a separate ceremony, Dr. Feroe commended undergraduate students for surviving a college career marred by the COVID pandemic. “This was NOT a little bump in the road. You have succeeded through the greatest crisis many of us will see in our lifetime. You have shown amazing resilience, and we are so proud of you.

And now, what is next for you? As we read everywhere that the legacy of COVID for our society is a kind of ongoing loneliness, you wove the story of your development anyway – and you learned the power of community,” she said.

Keynote speaker Dr. Jason Rivera told students that his experience at Manhattanville taught him to embrace change and use fear to propel him to greater things. Dr. Rivera’s research explores college completion for Latino and African American male students and how care, capital, and community cultural wealth influence student outcomes. His research was used to develop the Achieving the Promise Academy, an academic coaching program created to ensure every student has the assistance, opportunities, and tools needed to succeed in college.

“When I graduated nearly 30 years ago, I was the first person of color who was also openly gay to serve as the president of the student government. On my commencement day, I stood on this same stage as I am today, overlooking the quad with Reid Hall as a beautiful backdrop—and I offered greetings to the class of 1997 and their families and circles of support. So, in many ways, this is a full circle moment for me,’’ he said.

He added, “Manhattanville prepared me to enter an ever-changing world – it taught me to openly embrace the unknown – to get comfortable in the spaces between certainty and uncertainty – and to meet the complexities of change without fear.”

View photos of the ceremonies and speakers here:

Recordings of the full ceremonies can be found on the Manhattanville College YouTube channel:

Graduate commencement:

Undergraduate commencement:


About Manhattanville College

Manhattanville College is a small, private liberal arts institution dedicated to academic excellence, purposeful education, and social justice. Located 30 miles from New York City on a 100-acre suburban campus in the heart of bustling Westchester County, Manhattanville enables easy access to robust entertainment offerings, educational resources, and business opportunities for its primarily residential and diverse student body. For two years in a row, the U.S. News and World Report has ranked Manhattanville the number one private, non-profit institution in New York among Top Performers of Social Mobility in Regional Universities North. The college serves 1,400 undergraduate students and nearly 1,000 graduate students from more than 44 countries and 33 states. Founded in 1841, the college offers more than 75 undergraduate and graduate areas of study in the arts and sciences, education, business, creative writing, and continuing and executive education programs. Graduate students can choose from over 70 graduate and certificate programs. Extracurricular offerings include more than 45 clubs and 23 NCAA Division III teams. To learn more, visit


Cara Cea,, 914-323-1278 or 914-906-9680.


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