2018 Commencement Speakers Are Steeped in Service

Paul Grogan of The Boston Foundation, Timothy Phillips of Beyond Conflict, and the Hon. Linda Stewart Dalianis, retired chief justice of the NH Supreme Court
2018 commencement speakers Paul Grogan, Timothy Phillips, and Linda Stewart Dalianis
2018 commencement speakers Paul Grogan, Timothy Phillips, and Linda Stewart Dalianis

Three leaders whose inspirational work has changed lives—through community development, peacemaking and the justice system—will speak at Suffolk University commencement ceremonies to be held on Sunday, May 20, at Blue Hills Bank Pavilion, 290 Northern Ave., Boston.

Boston Foundation President and CEO Paul S. Grogan, a leader in addressing challenges in Boston and the region, whose commitment to communities is unrivaled, will speak to undergraduates and graduates of the Sawyer Business School at the 9 a.m. commencement. The University will award Grogan an honorary Doctor of Business Administration degree in recognition of his achievements.

Timothy Phillips, founder and CEO of the internationally respected Beyond Conflict peacemaking and human rights initiative, a Suffolk alumnus, will speak at the College of Arts & Sciences undergraduate and graduate commencement at 1:30 p.m. Phillips’ international service will be acknowledged with an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.

The Hon. Linda Stewart Dalianis, a Suffolk Law alumna who achieved several firsts for women in the judiciary before retiring recently from her position as chief justice of the New Hampshire Supreme Court, will speak at the Law School commencement ceremonies at 5:30 p.m. Dalianis will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree in recognition of her efforts on behalf of justice for the people of New Hampshire and her promotion of opportunities for women in the law.

Speaker biographies

Paul S. Grogan

Paul S. Grogan’s life’s work has been the betterment of communities. He is president and CEO of the Boston Foundation, one of the nation’s oldest and largest community foundations. Under Grogan’s leadership since 2001, the Foundation has become a highly influential civic convener on issues and challenges facing the City of Boston and the region. Grogan has launched high-impact initiatives in areas including education, youth violence prevention, community development, health care and the arts.

Before joining the Boston Foundation, Grogan served as vice president for government, community and public affairs at Harvard University and as a senior lecturer at the Harvard Business School. He spearheaded commitments to the community that included significant funding for affordable housing and the Harvard After-School Initiative. He also founded the “CEOs for Cities” civic innovation lab.

Earlier, as president and CEO of the nonprofit community development intermediary Local Initiatives Support Corporation, Grogan spearheaded a period of national policy successes, including the creation of the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, the establishment of the HOME program, the strengthening of the Community Reinvestment Act and the creation of the New Markets Tax Credit.

Grogan’s passion for cities began with his service in the administrations of Boston Mayors Kevin H. White and Raymond L. Flynn. He headed Boston’s neighborhood revitalization efforts in the early 1980s, helping to pioneer a series of public/private ventures that included the Boston Housing Partnership and the Boston Compact, a partnership between the city’s corporate community and public school system.

Grogan is a founder and director of The Community Development Trust and a director of New Profit Inc. He is co-author, with Tony Proscio, of Comeback Cities, a book that has been called “arguably the most important and insightful book on the American city in a generation.”

Grogan holds a bachelor’s degree in American History from Williams College and a master’s degree in administration from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Timothy Phillips

Timothy Phillips has had an international impact on peace-making, democratization, human rights and the environment through his innovations in the nonprofit and for-profit sectors.

He is the founder and CEO of Beyond Conflict, a pioneering conflict resolution and reconciliation initiative that has made important contributions to peace and democracy around the world. The organization has achieved international recognition for its contributions to the Northern Ireland peace process, national reconciliation in El Salvador and Nicaragua, the establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa and its catalytic role in helping launch the field of transitional justice.

In the private sector, Phillips was a founder of Energia Global International Ltd., a leader in the development and operation of privately owned renewable energy facilities in Central and South America in the early 1990s. Through its successful operations, EGI demonstrated that the private sector can invest in renewable energy technologies in developing countries that are clean, sustainable and profitable.

Phillips helped launch and serves on the advisory committee of the Club of Madrid, which works with more than 80 former heads of state and government to promote the consolidation of democracy around the world. He also has advised the U.S. Department of State, the Council of Europe and the United Nations on conflict resolution and democratization.

Early in his career, Phillips worked internationally in support of human rights and the environment. In 1989, he developed and organized a seminar that introduced journalists to the concept of global warming, one of the first initiatives of its kind.

Phillips serves on the boards of numerous institutions, including the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and the Foundation for a Civil Society. He also serves as a strategic on issues of democratization, civil society, conflict resolution and technologies to bridge the digital divide in the developing world.

Phillips was educated at Suffolk University and the London School of Economics.

Linda Stewart Dalianis

The Hon. Linda Stewart Dalianis’s 45-year legal career has been defined by milestones. She has the distinction of being the first female associate justice and chief justice on the New Hampshire Supreme Court, as well as the first woman to serve as a judge on the state’s Superior Court trial bench and to be appointed a marital master. While Dalianis has received much attention over the years for these accomplishments, her response has been to say: “The best thing about ‘firsts’ is that they give way to the ‘familiar,’ the point in time when you know you are truly making progress.”

Dalianis, a Suffolk Law alumna, recently retired after serving on New Hampshire’s high court for 18 years. As the leader of the state’s judicial branch, she started the NH e-Court program, which ushered in the era of electronic case filings at all levels of New Hampshire’s judicial system, and founded the J-ONE Initiative, a complex and groundbreaking program dedicated to integrating all components of the state’s criminal justice system. Her legacy also includes developing alternative dispute resolution services and improving how the court delivers services in family law cases.

Dalianis received the Frank Rowe Kenison Award in 2015 from the NH Bar Foundation for her substantial contributions to the betterment of New Hampshire citizens through the administration of justice, the legal profession and the advancement of legal thought. The NH Women’s Bar Association gave her its highest honor in 2017 with the Marilla Ricker Award, which recognizes an outstanding woman lawyer in New Hampshire who has achieved professional excellence, paved the way to success for other women lawyers and advanced opportunities for women in the profession.

Dalianis earned a BA in English from Northeastern University in 1970 and a JD from Suffolk University Law School in 1974. Suffolk University awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree to Dalianis in 2001.

Media Contact

Greg Gatlin
Office of Public Affairs