Drexel’s 2023 Commencement speakers | The Triangle

Drexel’s 2023 Commencement speakers

Commencement is quickly approaching, and graduating students have many school ceremonies to look forward to, including the university-wide celebration at Citizens Bank Park. 

After Drexel University decided on May 18 to reinstate the university commencement ceremony at Citizens Bank Park, details about the event were kept under wraps.

However, on Wednesday, June 7, Drexel’s keynote commencement speaker was revealed as Philadelphia Orchestra Music and Artistic Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Nézet-Séguin has led the Philadelphia Orchestra for eleven years, including during 2022 when the ensemble was presented with their first Grammy award for Best Musical Performance. According to Niki Gianakaris, Vice President of Strategic Communications for Drexel’s Marketing and Communications team, Nézet-Séguin will be presented with an honorary doctorate degree from Drexel University for “his leadership in elevating the arts in Philadelphia and beyond.” 

As for individual school and college ceremonies, here is a comprehensive list of keynote speakers: 

School of Education: 5 p.m. June 14 at the Academy of Music 

Warren Hilton, Educational Leadership and Management EdD ‘13 alum 

Dr. Hilton is currently serving as president of Onondaga Community College. He’s worked for several higher institutions, including Kutztown University, the Community College of Philadelphia, Johns Hopkins University and more. Most notably, he worked as the Associate Dean for Student and External Affairs in the School of Public Health and in the School of Education at Drexel University. 

College of Computing and Informatics: 5 p.m. June 14 at the Mann Center

Rick Rioboli, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of Comcast Cable

Rick Rioboli’s extensive career at Comcast Cable has seen him lead technological transformations for their strategic initiatives in customer experience, digital-first, data privacy and artificial intelligence. He has been recognized as a Forbes CIO Top 50 Innovative Technology Leader and is an active member of Drexel University’s College of Computing Executive Advisory Council.

Bennett S. LeBow College of Business: 8:30 a.m. on June 15 at The Mann Center

K. Blair Christie, Business and Administration Management ‘94, MBA ‘99

Christie is a leader in global technology who is the founder and CEO of the business equity and strategy company Denim USA. Her work at Denim centers on reimagining the modern hourly workforce through holistic solutions.

Pennoni Honors College Custom-Designed Majors: 9 a.m. on June 15 at the Mandell Theater in the Creese Student Center 

Maura Jarvis, Sustainable Product Development ‘16

Jarvis is a leading public affairs specialist at the Philadelphia Water Department who is a recipient of the 2022 US Water Prize and other awards. After graduating in 2016 with a degree in her custom-designed major, Jarvis has been dedicated to fighting water pollution in Philadelphia. 

School of Biomedical Engineering and Health Systems: 9 a.m. June 15 at the Academy of Music

Paul Citron, Electrical Engineering BS ‘69 alum

Dr. Citron is an innovator in medical technology, holding ten patents for ten globally utilized inventions including the tined cardiac pacing lead. Since implementing these inventions, Citron has gone on to serve as a professor at Georgia Tech and UC San Diego, as well as Founding Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. 

College of Engineering: 1 p.m. June 15 at the Mann Center 

Margaret C. “Peggy” Burns, Electrical Engineering BS ‘79 alum 

Margaret Burns serves as senior director and program manager for Transportation Solutions in the Civil Group of Leidos. During her extensive career, Margaret has been a staunch advocate of diversity and representation in STEM. She is heavily involved in the Drexel community, serving on the Drexel University President’s Leadership Council and as chair of the Drexel Engineering Dean’s Executive Advisory Council. 

Dana and David Dornsife School of Public Health: 1 p.m. June 15 at the Academy of Music 

Valerie A. Arkoosh, Acting Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services

Before Governor Josh Shapiro appointed Arkoosh to her current role, she served on the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners. Arkoosh focused on strengthening services for veterans, children, and seniors and other public health initiatives during Covid-19. She has previously taught at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. 

Charles D. Close School of Entrepreneurship: 1 p.m. June 15 at the Mandell Theater in the Creese Student Center 

Stanley Silverman, Chemical Engineering BS ‘69, MBA ‘74 alum

Stanley Silverman is the former president and CEO of PQ Corporation, a large manufacturer of industrial chemicals and materials. Silverman is a long-time supporter of Drexel’s Close School, serving on its External Advisory Board and contributing multiple philanthropic gifts. 

Goodwin College of Professional Studies: 5 p.m. on June 15 at the Mandell Theater in the Creese Student Center  

Nona Lee, founder and CEO of Truth DEI Consulting

Nona Lee champions diversity at Truth DEI Consulting, which helps organizations develop strategies to enhance their Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives. Lee is also the former executive vice president of the Major League Baseball team the Arizona Diamondbacks. 

College of Arts and Sciences: 5 p.m. June 15 at the Mann Center 

Elizabeth Lombardo, Clinical Psychology PhD ‘02 alum

Dr. Lombardo is a high-profile psychologist who’s published several books, made numerous television appearances and coached several celebrities. In her keynote address, she will share her expertise, advice and career experiences with the CoAS graduating class. 

Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts and Design: 12:30 p.m. June 16 at the Mann Center 

Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson, Chair of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)

Dr. Jackson is a tenured professor at the Institute for Design and the Arts and Arizona State University with a 25-year-long career supporting and elevating arts and culture in communities. She is passionate about social science and humanities-based approaches to the arts and is the first Black and Mexican-American woman to serve as chair of the NEA. 

College of Nursing and Health Professions: 8:30 a.m. on June 16 at The Mann Center

Rev. Lorina Marshall Blake, president of the Independence Blue Cross Foundation

Rev. Blake is both president of Independence Blue Cross and its vice president of community affairs, a role in which she has served the Philadelphia community and worked closely with Drexel. She has served as a mentor within and a dedicated donor to Drexel’s College of Nursing and Health Professions as well as Drexel’s 11th Street Family Health Services clinic.