Newswise — PHILADELPHA (May 8, 2018) —  Saint Joseph's University will confer nearly 2,200 degrees to graduating students during its 167th commencement exercises on Saturday, May 19. 

The undergraduate ceremony will begin at 9 a.m., and the graduate ceremony will begin at 3 p.m. Both events will be held on the James J. Maguire ’58 Campus. Additional seating will be available in the Cardinal John Foley Campus Center and in Merion Hall, where the ceremonies will be live streamed.

“We are proud to send another successful class into the world,” says Mark C. Reed, Ed.D., president of the University. “Our graduates are poised for leadership. They continually meet and exceed all expectations set for them, and I am certain they will continue to do so as they represent Saint Joseph’s to the world at large.”

Dominick J. DiJulia ’67, the longtime vice president of athletics and athletics director at Saint Joseph’s, will address undergraduates. He will receive an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters along with Sister Helen Cole, SSJ, MSW, LCSW, director and founder of Guadalupe Family Services in Camden, N.J.

Chief Executive Officer and Chair of the Board for Kings Food Markets Inc. Judith A. Spires will be awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters and offer remarks to graduate and doctoral students at the 3 p.m. ceremony.

Jameer Nelson, the all-time leading scorer in the history of Saint Joseph’s University men’s basketball, will officially receive a Bachelor of Science in sociology during the undergraduate ceremony, 14 years after being selected in the first round of the NBA Draft. During Nelson’s time with the Hawks, the team reached the NCAA Tournament three times, culminating with a perfect 27-0 regular season and a run to the Elite Eight in 2003-04. Nelson was the consensus National Player of the Year that season, earning, among other accolades, the John R. Wooden Award and the Naismith College Player of the Year Award.

Nelson re-engaged with the University in the summer of 2016 to complete the coursework for his degree, earning credits online while playing for the Denver Nuggets, New Orleans Pelicans and Detroit Pistons.

“Our goal is to be a national leader in support for student athletes,” Dr. Reed says. "Jameer, like all of our student athletes, recognizes and appreciates that education is essential."

Nelson will be available for a press conference on Saint Joseph’s campus on Thursday, May 17. Details of the event are included below.

“Saint Joseph’s has been a big part of my life since I was first recruited to play there,” Nelson says. “It was important to me to finish work on my degree and to set an example for my own children and young student-athletes who look up to me.”

“Jameer has, once again, moved me to tears,” says Phil Martelli, head men’s basketball coach at Saint Joseph’s. “His drive and determination to become a graduate of SJU is extraordinary, but pales in comparison to the why – for his children, for young people he supports through the Pete and Jameer Nelson Foundation, and as an example to the young guys in the NBA. May 19 will be his greatest accomplishment. I am blessed to have Jameer in my life, and I know that I join an army of Hawks, past and present, in standing to congratulate him on this milestone.”

Nelson received the same support as all student-athletes at SJU, including personalized direction from a staff member in the Educational Support Services for Student-Athletes office. In addition to assigning each athlete an individual advisor, the University also makes available a full-time learning specialist and two academic mentors who meet with students for academic support, help with organization and time management

“It is part of our mission not just to make sure our student athletes graduate, but that they graduate having taken classes that will challenge them and prepare them for success after college, no matter what field they choose,” says Janet Greder, director of the office and Nelson’s contact.

Among other notable graduates receiving degrees are Marisa Egan, a published researcher and biology major from King of Prussia who will pursue a Ph.D. in cellular and molecular biology at the University of Pennsylvania; Aarynn Crawley, an actuarial science major from Sicklerville, New Jersey, who will start her career with KPMG; Avery Marz, a communication studies major from Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania, who suffered a stroke in her freshman year, fought back to rejoin the women’s basketball team as a senior, and will continue her studies by working towards an MBA at Saint Joseph’s; and Dan Soucy, a political science, Asian studies, and history major from Bedford, New Hampshire, who has been awarded an American Indian Foundation William J. Clinton Fellowship to study and serve next year in India.


Press Conference: Saint Joseph’s University will host a press conference with Jameer Nelson, Dr. Reed, Don DiJulia and Phil Martelli on Thursday, May 17 at 9 a.m. in the Hagan Arena interview room. The press conference and Hagan Arena are closed to the public on May 17. Media must confirm interest in advance by contacting Marie Wozniak at [email protected] or 610-660-1727.

Commencement: Saint Joseph’s University welcomes media on its campus to cover the Commencement ceremonies. To enter campus, media must confirm interest in advance by contacting University Communications at [email protected] or 610-660-1222. Because of the traffic congestion surrounding the campus, media planning to attend will receive specific instructions for parking and for set up on the Commencement field. Please note that Jameer Nelson will not be giving interviews on Commencement day.