T H E  C O L L E G E  O F  N E W  R O C H E L L E
101st Commencement Exercises
Thursday, May 22, 2008


The College conferred honorary degrees on Cardinal Oscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga, S.D.B., Sister Antona Ebo, F.S.M., civil rights pioneer, and Emily Rafferty, President of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, pictured here with Board of Trustees chair Michael N. Ambler (left) and President Stephen J. Sweeny (right).

H O N O R A R Y  D E G R E E  R E C I P I E N T S

Cardinal Oscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga, S.D.B.

Ordained a priest in 1970 and Bishop in 1978, Cardinal Oscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga was named the Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras in 1993. One of Latin America’s most visible Catholic leaders, he has been described as ferocious defender of social justice and champion of human rights. Cardinal Rodriguez founded the Catholic University of Honduras, “Our Lady Queen of Peace,” and in 2003 announced a partnership between the University and the Catholic Medical Mission Board (CMMB).  The partnership will expand the Cardinal’s health initiative by establishing Nuestro Paso por Honduras, a program to establish healthcare clinics on each of the campuses of Catholic University to address the needs of the surrounding poverty-stricken areas. Cardinal Rodríguez is Chairman of the Hope for a Healthier Humanity (HHH) Foundation, a not-for-profit humanitarian organization that provides healthcare throughout Latin America. CNR’s School of Nursing serves as the Foundation’s official nursing school. The Cardinal holds degrees in philosophy, theology, and clinical psychology and psychotherapy. He has served as a member of several Pontifical Councils, including the Council for Social Communications, the Council for Justice and Peace, and the Commission for Latin America  

Sister Antona Ebo, F.S.M.

Born Elizabeth Louise Ebo in 1924, Sr. Antona Ebo grew up in the McLean County Home for Colored Children in Bloomington, IL, during the Great Depression.  She converted to Catholicism as a young girl and became a Franciscan Sister of Mary in 1947. On March 10, 1965, Sr. Antona and five fellow Catholic Sisters joined the front lines of the Civil Rights Movement in Selma, AL.  Put at the front of the line because of her dark skin and religious habit, Sr. Antona was featured on the front page of The New York Times, telling reporters, “I’m here because I’m a Negro, a nun, a Catholic, and because I want to bear witness.” In 1967, she became the first black woman religious to run a hospital when she took the helm at St. Clare Hospital in Baraboo, WI. In 1968, Sr. Antona went on to be one of the founders of The National Black Sisters’ Conference, later servings as its president. Her experience from the March from Selma to Montgomery in 1965 is included in the Library of Congress Exhibition “Voices of Civil Rights,” and she is featured in the PBS documentary Sisters of Selma: Bearing Witness for Change.  

Emily Rafferty
Named president of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2005, Emily Rafferty began her 28-year career at the Met in 1976 as an administrator for corporate, foundation and individual fundraising.  Mrs. Rafferty is the first woman to run the Museum’s day-to-day operations, overseeing 2,000 employees, a $190 million annual operating budget and an $80 million merchandising business. Her inspiration has encouraged people from all backgrounds to celebrate and appreciate each other through the arts, and she exemplifies the highest standards of leadership. Mrs. Rafferty is affiliated with a number of arts and inter-museum organizations, including ArtTable, the Association of Fundraising Professionals, and the American Association of Museums. She is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation and the recipient of numerous awards and honors.

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