Fisher Celebrates 58th Commencement
St. John Fisher College held its 58th Commencement on Saturday, May 5, welcoming over 1,100 graduates into the alumni family. During the two ceremonies—one for baccalaureate students and the other for master’s and doctoral students—Dr. Donald Bain, President, awarded an honorary degree and also honored two individuals with President’s Medals.
In the morning ceremony, the honorary Doctor of Laws degree was presented to world-renown historian and author, Doris Kearns Goodwin. For over three decades, Ms. Goodwin has been reporting on her two great passions—politics and baseball. She is the author of four books about former U.S. Presidents—Lyndon Johnson & The American Dream; The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys; No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The American Home Front During World War II; and Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln. She also penned Wait Till Next Year: A Memoir, about growing up in the 1950s in love with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
All of her books have been on the New York Times bestseller list for months and No Ordinary Time earned her a Pulitzer Prize in 1995. She is currently at work on a new book about the progressive era: Theodore Roosevelt, William Taft, and the golden age of journalism.
The recipient of the President’s Medal for Service to the Rochester Community was David H. Klein, CEO of The Lifetime Healthcare Companies, the parent company of Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. Under Mr. Klein’s leadership, Lifetime has enjoyed profitability and continued growth in all of its businesses. Nationally recognized in the health care industry as an innovative thought leader and a progressive executive, he is valued at local and state levels as a trusted business adviser and a sought-after community leader.
Community is extremely important to Mr. Klein. He has been the chair of United Way of Greater Rochester, president of the local Boy Scout Council, and chair of an American Cancer Society Capital Campaign. Among his numerous awards are the Boy Scouts’ Distinguished Eagle Scout, Silver Beaver, and Silver Antelope Awards; United Way of New York State’s Volunteer Leader of the Year; and the American Cancer Society’s Champion of Hope.
In the afternoon ceremony, the President’s Medal for Service to St. John Fisher College and the Rochester Community was presented to Dr. Frederic Skalny.
Dr. Skalny is on the board of the Joseph and Irene Skalny Charitable Trust and the Louis Skalny Family Foundation, and is a manager for the Joseph and Irene Skalny Endowed Scholarship at St. John Fisher College. Through this scholarship, over 700 students have been able to pursue a college degree at Fisher. In addition, Dr. Skalny was instrumental in helping the College upgrade our science center with state-of-the-art equipment, restore the Nicolaus Copernicus sgraffito on the external wall of Kearney Hall, and create a new Welcome Center, which provides a warm and congenial gathering place for both prospective students and alumni who visit the Fisher campus.
Dr. Skalny is also a Past President of the Board of Directors of the Polish Heritage Society of Rochester and continues to be involved in the Rochester-Krakow Sister Cities Committee, the Polish American Historical Association, and the American Council for Polish Culture. Dr. Skalny is a recipient of the distinguished Cavalier Cross of Merit from the Republic of Poland, the Distinguished Service Award from the Polish American Historical Association, the Cultural Achievement Award from the American Council for Polish Culture, and the Mayor’s Renaissance Award.