Speaker announced for S.I. commencement ceremony

R. James Nicholson, U.S. Secretary of
Veterans Affairs, will give the 2007
Commencement Address at St. John’s
University’s Staten Island Campus on Saturday,
May 12, according to a university press release.

This announcement came a week after it
was revealed that Chief Washington
Correspondent for ABC News, George
Stephanopoulos, would be giving the
Commencement Address at the Queens
Campus, a day later, on May 13.

Nicholson, along with the Most Reverend
Robert J. Cunningham, the 13th Bishop of
Ogdensburg, and Sister Judith Garson,
R.S.C.J., Executive Director of Little Sisters of
the Assumption Family Health Services, will
receive honorary degrees from Rev. Donald J.
Harrington, C.M., President of St. John’s.

“Jim Nicholson, the Most Reverend
Cunningham and Sister Judith Garson are all
distinguished honorary degree recipients who
will highlight our Staten Island
Commencement ceremonies,” said Father
Harrington in a university press release. “They
are all dedicated to living their lives in the true
meaning of the Vincentian Mission and will
serve as great role models for our graduates.”

Nicholson was nominated to serve as
Secretary of Veterans Affairs by President Bush
and was sworn into office as only the fifth holder
of that position in U.S. history in early
February, 2005.

As Secretary of Veterans Affairs, it is his job
to ensure that veterans are supported and recognized
for their service to our country.

Nicholson also directs the Department of
Veterans Affairs, the federal government’s second
largest Cabinet Department. This department
is responsible for a nationwide system of
health-care services, benefit programs, and
national cemeteries for America’s veterans and

Born in Iowa, Nicholson is a graduate of the
United States Military Academy at West Point.
He is also a veteran of the Vietnam War,
where he earned the Bronze Star Medal,
Combat Infantryman Badge, the Meritorious
Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Cross of
Gallantry and two Air Medals.

After 30 years of service, Nicholson retired
from the military with the rank of Colonel.
He has received a Master’s Degree from
Columbia University as well as a law degree
from the University of Denver.

The ceremony will be held on Kelleher
Lawn at the Staten Island Campus. The procession
of graduates, faculty and honored guests
will start at 9:45 a.m. and the Commencement
Exercises at 10 a.m. The formal ceremony will
then occur immediately afterwards.