2018 Commencement and Honors Convocation Speakers and Honorary Degree Recipients Announced

Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito
Commencement Speaker, Honorary Degree Recipient

Lt. Governor PolitoKaryn Polito is the 72nd Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts. She began her public service in local government, serving as a member of the Shrewsbury Board of Selectmen and then as a state representative for five terms.

Lt. Governor Polito chairs the Community Compact Cabinet, elevating the administration’s partnerships with local government and promoting best practices. All 351 cities and towns in the Commonwealth have joined this partnership and have adopted over 800 best practices.

As chair of the Seaport Economic Council, Lt. Governor Polito works with coastal communities to leverage their unique assets to drive sustainable growth.

Preventing sexual assault and domestic violence have been priorities for Lt. Governor Polito, and she now serves as chair of the Governor’s Council to address these important issues.

Lt. Governor Polito is co-chair of the STEM Advisory Council, working to ensure that all students have access to STEM courses with the goal of preparing them for careers and closing the skills gap.
Lt. Governor Polito is a lifelong resident of Shrewsbury, where she lives with her husband and two children.


Sam Vaghar
Honors Convocation Distinguished Speaker, Honorary Degree Recipient

Sam Vaghar Sam Vaghar is an American social entrepreneur deeply committed to helping young leaders find their voice and own their power for social progress. Sam co-founded Millennium Campus Network (MCN) in his university dorm room and has led the network for a decade. MCN trains 21st century ethical leaders on university campuses. The leadership development network has convened and trained over 5,500 social impact leaders from 300 universities to date—including cohorts of Becker College undergraduates since 2015 when Becker became a Millennium Campus. Seventy-five percent of MCN alumni now work in social impact careers, leading in the private sector, governments, nonprofits, at the United Nations, and creating their own social enterprises to address humanity's greatest challenges.

As Executive Director, Sam has represented MCN in engagements with U.S. Presidents, Ambassadors, and CEOs of the world’s leading corporations and foundations. He has shared talks on the role of youth leadership in strengthening communities at over 100 institutions worldwide, including at the White House, across four nations for the U.S. Department of State, at the United Nations, and at the Vatican. In addition, Sam serves on four Advisory Boards, including as an Advisor to the Executive Director of United Nations Women. Sam is a 2008 graduate of Brandeis University.


Eric Schwarz
Honorary Degree Recipient

Eric SchwarzEric Schwarz is the Co-Founder and CEO of the College for Social Innovation, which brings together colleges and social sector organizations to create fully-credited, semester-long experiential learning opportunities that are meaningful, accessible, and life-changing. College for Social Innovation was incorporated in July, 2015 and began enrolling students in the 2016-17 academic year. The mission of the organization is to educate and inspire the next generation of social problem solvers.

Eric is also the Co-Founder and former CEO of Citizen Schools, a successful social enterprise that scaled to a $30 million annual budget and has had a positive impact on the after-school and extended learning time fields across the U.S. Schwarz is the author of the critically-acclaimed book, The Opportunity Equation, published by Beacon Press in 2014, the co-editor of The Case For 21st Century Learning, and the author of numerous articles and book chapters, including “Calling All Citizens” in The New York Times best-selling Waiting For Superman.

Prior to starting Citizen Schools in 1995, Schwarz served as vice president of City Year, the national service program, and as a journalist at The Oakland Tribune and The Patriot Ledger (Quincy, MA) where he was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. He is a member of the board of Beyond12, an organization focused on college completion for first-generation college students, and of Citizen Schools, and chair of the board of US2020, a national STEM mentoring initiative launched at the White House. Schwarz is a frequent speaker on education, opportunity, and the social sector at national and local conferences and convenings. He graduated from the University of Vermont (B.A.) in 1983 and from the Harvard Graduate School of Education (M. Ed) in 1997. Schwarz lives in Brookline, MA with his wife and two children.


Dr. Gregory Pogue, Class of 1970
Honorary Degree Recipient

Dr. Gregory Pogue '73As The College of New Jersey’s vice president and chief human resources officer, Dr. Gregory Pogue is responsible for benefits, classification and compensation, recruitment and workforce planning, labor/employee and faculty relations, policy and procedures/practices, HRIS, AA/EEO/Diversity, rewards and recognition, training, and professional development. Prior to his appointment at the College of New Jersey, he served in human resources leadership positions at institutions of higher education, corporations, and foundations.

A native of Elizabeth, New Jersey, Dr. Pogue received his doctorate in Business Administration from Argosy University-Sarasota, an MBA from Wagner College, a B.S. from Nichols College, and an A.S. from Becker Junior College. He is also a graduate of the AASCU Millennium Leadership Institute.

He has served on the Becker College Board of Trustees, the YMCA of Union County New Jersey, and Children’s Specialized Hospital in Mountainside, New Jersey, and on advisory boards and councils. He has published numerous articles and a book, Employee Assistance Programs on Liberal Arts Campuses. He is an adaptive and collaborative leader with a reputation for delivering transformational change, based upon a philosophy of respecting the life and dignity of each person, understanding the power, value, and importance of diversity, productivity, teamwork, employee engagement, and workforce flexibility as they relate to successful organizations.