Carlow University Names Three to Receive Honorary Degrees at May Commencement

Michele Atkins, Gregg Behr, and Victoria Nalongo Namusisi will receive Doctor of Humane Letters degrees during May’s Commencement ceremony.

Marketing and Communications For Immediate Release
Drew Wilson, Director, Media Relations March 08, 2019
412.578.2095 (phone)
412.260.6807 (cell)
412.578.2080 (fax)

Each Honoree Will Give Brief Remarks to the Class of 2019 at Commencement

Pittsburgh, Pa. –Carlow University will honor three outstanding individuals with a Doctor of Humane Letters honorary degree at the university’s Saturday, May 11, 2019 Commencement.

“All of the honorees embody our Carlow University values of hospitality, mercy, service, discovery, and sacredness of creation,” said Suzanne K. Mellon, PhD, President of Carlow University in making the announcement.  “I look forward to honoring them at our Commencement ceremony.”

The honorary degree recipients are:

Michele Atkins, a Carlow alumni from the class of 1982, served as Carlow University Board Chair from 2013-2016, is a Trustee Emerita, Carlow Laureate, and Woman of Spirit® 2001.  This past fall, Atkins and her husband Pat, received the David and Barbara Capozzi Kirr ’60 Leadership in Philanthropy Award for their outstanding commitment of time and treasure to Carlow.  For more than 30 years, Atkins has devoted herself to initiatives that serve the most vulnerable members of society, protect the sacredness of all creation, and advocate for the arts and education.  Most recently, to recognize the importance of ethical behavior throughout all society, Michele and Pat endowed the Atkins Endowed Center for Ethics at Carlow.

Gregg Behr, JD, Executive Director of The Grable Foundation, and also co-founder of the Remake Learning Council. Previously, he was president of The Forbes Funds, a Pittsburgh-based foundation that supports non-profit capacity building, research, and leadership development. Nationally, he is a trustee for and Grantmakers for Education.  In 2016, the White House recognized Behr as a Champion of Change for his efforts to advance making and learning.  In 2015, he was recognized as one of America’s Top 30 Technologists, Transformers, and Trailblazers by the Center for Digital Education.  In 2014, he accepted the Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Award on behalf of Pittsburgh’s efforts to reimagine and remake learning.

Victoria Nalongo Namusisi, a journalist and community leader in Uganda.  In 2000, she founded Bright Kids Orphanagein the hope of improving the lives of children in Uganda. Today, Bright Kids Orphanageprovides a home and education to more than 110 children in Entebbe, Uganda, who have been affected by violent conflicts in Northern Uganda, HIV/AIDS, poverty, and abandonment. Her efforts were recognized by the Ugandan government and, in 2008, she was awarded the Ugandan Woman of the Year Award.  She is referred to as “mother” throughout Uganda and is considered to be a national treasure.

Rather than a keynote commencement address, each of the honorary degree recipients will give brief remarks to the Class of 2019.

Carlow’s Commencement ceremony will take place on Saturday, May 11, 2019, at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall in Oakland.  The procession begins at 12:45 p.m. In accordance with Carlow tradition and in keeping with the university’s Catholic heritage, the day will begin at 10 a.m. with a Baccalaureate Mass in St. Paul Cathedral, located on the corner of Fifth Avenue and Craig Street, Oakland.

The honorary degree recipients were selected from nominations made to the Honorary Degree Selection Committee, which was composed of Michael Balmert, PhD, professor in the College of Leadership and Social Change; Susan O’Rourke, EdD, professor from the College of Learning and Innovation, Mary Fran Reidell, faculty from the College of Health and Wellness, Caitlin McLaughlin, a Carlow Trustee, and ex-officio members, Sibdas Ghosh, Provost, Kim Hammer, Vice President of Advancement, and Shawn Butler, Special Assistant to the President.


About Carlow University

Carlow is a private, co-educational, Catholic university located in the heart of Pittsburgh’s “Eds, Meds, and Tech” district. Founded by the Sisters of Mercy, Carlow’s graduates, curricula, and partnerships reflect its strong commitment to social justice; ethical, forward-thinking and responsible leadership; and service to the community that has a meaningful impact. Undergraduate and graduate degrees are offered in four colleges: Health and Wellness, Leadership and Social Change, Learning and Innovation, and Professional Studies. Carlow graduates are in demand for their professional expertise, in fields ranging from nursing, the sciences, and perfusion technology to counseling, education, and forensic accounting; their entrepreneurial spirit and creative mindset; and their ability to manage change.  Carlow’s 13 athletic teams are known as the Celtics, a reflection of the university’s Irish heritage and roots.

© Copyright 2022 Carlow University. All rights reserved.