(Worcester, Mass.) -- John Connolly ’62, Ed.D. will serve as the keynote speaker at Worcester State University 2011 Commencement, Saturday May 14 at the DCU Center at 12:00 noon.
There will be 913 undergraduate students receiving bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degrees and 233 students receiving graduate degrees.
“We are so proud to be welcoming Dr. Connolly back to our campus,” said WSU President Janelle C. Ashley. “He has a long and distinguished career in education, serving as a class room teacher and college president, as well as serving as president and CEO of his own medical consumer guide company. I am certain our graduates will benefit from his wisdom.”
Connolly went from being a classroom teacher to being the nation’s foremost expert on identifying top physicians. As president and CEO of Castle Connolly Medical Ltd., publisher of consumer guides to help people find the best health care, he is a frequent guest on television and radio shows including Today, Good Morning America, 20/20, and others. He is the author/editor of more than a dozen books including America’s Top Doctors® and America’s Top Doctors® for Cancer, and his company’s articles have been featured in numerous magazines and newspapers.
Connolly attributes much of his success to the fact that he has “always been open to learning new things”—a quality that was evident when he was a student at Worcester State Teachers College. While Connolly was teaching at Worcester’s Chandler Junior High School, he earned a master’s degree in counseling psychology from the University of Connecticut. “By then I was becoming interested in the community college movement,” recalls Connolly. “It was an exciting new thing offering people an opportunity to go to school for two years and either seek employment in their chosen field or continue their education.” California was the leader in the movement, but New York was a close second. Connolly took a position as director of admissions and registrar at Sullivan County Community College in New York and began working on a doctorate in college and university administration from Teacher’s College, Columbia University. He served as president of Dutchess Community College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., for 10 years.
He was very active in community service. Connolly was serving on the board of New York Medical College in Valhalla, N.Y., when the board of trustees, chaired by John K. Castle, asked if he would consider taking over as president. The college, the nation’s second largest private medical college, was struggling at the time. Connolly, along with Castle, other trustees, and faculty and administrative leaders, turned it around in 18 months. He served a total of 10 years as president. “By then, I’d spent 20 years as a college president and was beginning to think it was time to do something different,” Connolly recalls. “John Castle suggested we found a company to help people find excellent doctors, since people were always asking us for advice about finding good doctors. We thought if our friends and colleagues were asking us, a lot of other people probably needed the same information.” Through books, articles, conferences, and a website that displays two million physician profiles a month (www.castleconnolly.com), the company gives people the tools and information they need to find the best health care, according to Connolly. “We do extensive research to identify the best primary care doctors and specialists both regionally and nationally,” he explains. “We don’t claim to identify every excellent doctor out there, but we are careful to recommend only those who meet our highest standards.”
Worcester State University will award an honorary doctoral degree to Dr. Connolly as part of the commencement ceremony. The University will also Present Dr. William F. O’Neil with the 2011 Community Service Award. “He has contributed greatly to higher education, the arts and community service,” said President Ashley. He served as an elementary school teacher, as director of the Community Education Development Center at Worcester State University and served as President of Massachusetts College of Art for nine years.
He served as the Executive Director of the Council of Presidents of the Massachusetts State Colleges—now universities-- for six years. O’Neil served as the President of the Board of the Worcester Public Library Board of Directors, on the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners and currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the Worcester Public Library Foundation. In addition he served on the Worcester State Foundation for six years, where he served as Chair of the Planned Giving Committee and past Chair of the Academic Development Committee. He serves as Chair of the Worcester Center for Crafts Board of Directors. His leadership supports the future of arts education for both the students of Worcester State as well as the Center’s growing community of artists, crafters, and students.
For more information on commencement, visit: www.worcester.edu/commencement