Nichols College to Celebrate Class of 2019 This Week

In addition to Massachusetts Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, two other accomplished individuals will receive honorary degrees from Nichols College: Charles F. Monahan Jr., president of the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS) University; and, posthumously, Robert Miller, Ph.D., a former Nichols trustee.



DUDLEY, Mass.—Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito will deliver the keynote address at Nichols College’s Commencement exercises this Saturday, May 11, 2019, at the DCU Center in Worcester. During the ceremony, she will also receive an honorary doctoral degree in public administration from the College. The event starts at 1 p.m.

Lt. Governor Polito was inaugurated on Jan. 8, 2015, as the 72nd lieutenant governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, having previously served in both the public and private sectors. She and Governor Charlie Baker—who delivered the 2016 Nichols College Commencement address—were reelected to their second terms in November 2018 and inaugurated Jan. 3, 2019.

“I am honored to celebrate this important day with the Nichols College Class of 2019 as they reflect on their collegiate successes and embark on the next chapter in their lives,” said Lt. Governor Polito. “I look forward to joining this next generation of leaders at Commencement.”

Since taking office with Governor Charlie Baker, Lt. Governor Polito has visited and partnered with leadership in all 351 of the Commonwealth’s cities and towns, signing Community Compact agreements with every municipality on more than 800 smarter ways to deliver services. Additionally, under leadership the Seaport Economic Council has directed more focus and support to helping coastal communities address their unique challenges and economic opportunities.

As co-chair of the STEM Advisory Council, Lt. Governor Polito has encouraged further opportunities in STEM education to inspire more students to get involved in these important fields and better connect them to good careers. As chair of the Governor’s Council to Address Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence, she and a diverse team of professionals have brought innovative approaches to combating domestic violence.

“We are honored that Lt. Governor Karyn Polito will deliver the Commencement address to Nichols College’s undergraduate and graduate members of the Class of 2019,” said Nichols College President Susan West Engelkemeyer, Ph.D. “I anticipate that Nichols graduates will take great interest in hearing her speak about how Massachusetts is leading the way in terms of supporting workforce development, women’s leadership, business creation, education, public safety, and other efforts to make the Commonwealth stronger every single day.”

Lt. Governor Polito is a graduate of Worcester’s Holy Name Central Catholic High School, Boston College, and the New England School of Law. A lifelong resident of Shrewsbury, she owns and operates a commercial real estate development firm and lives with her husband, Stephan M. Rodolakis; and two young children, Bobby and Judy.


In addition to Lt. Governor Polito, two other accomplished individuals will receive honorary degrees from Nichols College: Charles F. Monahan Jr., president of the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS) University; and, posthumously, Robert Miller, Ph.D., a former Nichols trustee.

President Monahan will receive an honorary doctoral degree in educational leadership administration.

A 1962 graduate of MCPHS University with a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy, Monahan became the fifth president of MCPHS University in 1997 after 35 years as a practicing pharmacist and successful businessman. Prior to his inauguration as president. Monahan served as a member of the University’s Board of Trustees for 18 years, the last six years as its chairman. Under President Monahan’s leadership, MCPHS University has experienced unprecedented growth in enrollment, physical facilities, research, and endowment.

Robert Miller will posthumously receive an honorary doctoral degree in educational leadership. Dr. Miller passed away last month; a member of his family will accept on his behalf his honorary degree.

Educated at the University of Connecticut—where he obtained his bachelor, master, and Ph.D. degrees—Dr. Miller built a career as a devoted leader, advocate, and champion of the Connecticut community college system.

He was the founding president of Quinebaug Valley Community College (QVCC)—which is one of four community colleges that partners with Nichols College in providing an affordable pathway for transfer students to continue their education toward a bachelor’s degree and beyond. During his 21 years of leadership, QVCC expanded to a 68-acre campus in Danielson, Conn., opened a satellite center in Willimantic, Conn., and continued to grow in its service and educational offerings to students.

He made many contributions to his community and profession as past chairman of the New England Board of Higher Education, and as a member of the Northeast Connecticut Alliance for Economic Development, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education, Connecticut Humanities Council, Day Kimball Hospital, the Northeastern Connecticut Chamber of Commerce, and Catholic Foundation of the Diocese of Norwich, among others.

A former member of the Nichols College Board of Trustees, Dr. Miller served as a sage and steadfast advisor to four Nichols presidents, a past chairman of the Academic Affairs Committee, and a member of the Nichols College Board of Trustees executive and governance committees.

Born and raised in Connecticut, Dr. Miller lived in Brooklyn, Conn., with his wife, Sylvia. They have five children, 13 grandchildren, and one great grandchild.

Lorraine U. Martinelle is director of public relations and social media at Nichols College in Dudley, Mass. Email story ideas to

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