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For Immediate Release: March 28, 2012

Award-Winning Actress and Rhode Island Native Viola Davis Will Deliver Providence College Commencement Address on Sunday, May 20, 2012


viola.jpgMs. Davis won the 2012 Screen Actors Guild Award for “Best Actress” and was a nominee in the same category for an Academy Award

Providence, R.I. – Viola Davis, a critically revered actress of film, television and theater, will receive an honorary doctorate in fine arts and present the Commencement Address at Providence College’s Ninety-Fourth Commencement Exercises on Sunday, May 20, 2012. The ceremony will take place at 11:00 a.m. at the Dunkin' Donuts Center, 1 LaSalle Square, Providence, R.I.

Davis is one of five distinguished individuals who have been chosen to receive honorary doctoral degrees from the College.

Photo Credit: Art Streiber/AUGUST

In August 2011, Ms. Davis captivated audiences and critics alike with her portrayal of ‘Aibileen Clark’ in the award-winning film, “The Help.” Set in Jackson, Mississippi during the 1960’s, “The Help” chronicles the relationship between three different and extraordinary women who build an unlikely friendship around a secret writing project that breaks societal rules and puts them all at risk. Ms. Davis’ role in the film won her a Screen Actors Guild Award for “Best Actress” as well as Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations in the same category.

On September 28, 2012, Ms. Davis will appear alongside Maggie Gyllenhaal and Holly Hunter in the feature film, “Won’t Back Down” for director Daniel Barnz. The film focuses on two women who are compelled to help make a difference at a local school. 

In January 2012, Ms. Davis co-starred with Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock in the Stephen Daldry picture, “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.” This film tells the story about a boy in search of the fit for a mysterious key left by his father when he was killed in the September 11, 2001 attacks. 

Ms. Davis began her career on the stage at Trinity Repertory Company in Providence where she was a member of the company from 1988-1995. She then moved to the New York stage where she won a Tony and a Drama Desk Award for her role in “King Hedley II” (2001).                                                             

She won a second Drama Desk Award for “Intimate Apparel” (2004). She won a second Tony and a third Drama Desk Award for her role in “Fences” (2010). 

Some of her past notable films include “Traffic” (2000), “Antwone Fisher” (2002), “Solaris” (2002) and “Doubt” (2008). Her eleven-minute-long performance in the film adaptation of John Patrick Shanley's play, “Doubt” earned several honors, including an Academy Award nomination for “Best Supporting Actress.”

Additional film credits include cameo appearances in the feature films, “Madea Goes to Jail,” “State of Play” and “Law Abiding Citizen” as well as a supporting role in “Disturbia” starring Shia LeBeouf for director D.J. Caruso. Davis was also seen in the independent film, “The Architect” opposite Anthony LaPaglia; Jim Sheridan’s, “Get Rich or Die Tryin’” opposite 50 Cent; “Syriana” starring George Clooney, directed by Stephen Gaghan and produced by Steven Soderbergh (Davis’ fourth collaboration with the Oscar-winning director); “Far from Heaven” with Dennis Quaid and Julianne Moore; and “Out of Sight.”

Ms. Davis’ television credits include a recurring role on “Law & Order: SVU;” a recurring role in the CBS mini-series franchise “Jesse Stone” opposite Tom Selleck; a starring role as ‘Diane Barrino’ in “Life is Not a Fairytale: The Fantasia Barrino Story” for Lifetime; a starring role in ABC’s “Traveler” playing Agent Jan Marlow; CBS’ “Century City,” “Lefty,” and the Steven Bochco series, “City of Angels.” Additionally, she had roles in Oprah Winfrey’s “Amy and Isabelle,” and Hallmark Hall of Fame’s “Grace and Glorie.”

Ms. Davis was born on her grandmother's farm in St. Matthews, South Carolina, the second- youngest of six children. Her mother, Mae Alice, was a maid, factory worker, and homemaker and her father, Dan Davis, was a horse trainer. Her family moved to Central Falls, Rhode Island when she was two months old.

Ms. Davis partially credits her love of stage acting with her involvement in the arts at her alma mater, Central Falls High School. While she was a teenager, her talent was recognized by Bernard Masterson who, as director of Young People's School for the Performing Arts in West Warwick, Rhode Island, awarded her a scholarship into that program.

In 1988, Ms. Davis received her bachelor’s degree in theatre from Rhode Island College and went on to graduate from The Julliard School in New York City. She received an honorary doctorate in fine arts from Rhode Island College in 2002.

Ms. Davis resides in Los Angeles with her husband and daughter.                                                            


Additional honorees:

goetz.jpgDr. Charles J. Goetz ’61 will receive an honorary doctorate in laws. Goetz is the Joseph M. Hartfield Chair Emeritus at the University of Virginia. He joined the law faculty in 1975 and held the position as the Joseph M. Hatfield Chair from 1982 until taking Emeritus status in 2006.

At Virginia Law, Goetz brought his scholarly and practice expertise into the classroom, regularly teaching in the areas of Contracts, Antitrust, Law and Economics, and Methods of Proof (scientific and technical evidence). He has also taught Commercial Litigation and State-Local Government Law.   

In 1998, he was named Harrison Foundation Research Professor of Law and served until 2002, when he semi-retired to a halftime faculty position. Prior to UVA, he was professor of economics and director of the doctoral program in economics at Virginia Tech.

Goetz received his bachelor’s degree summa cum laude in economics from PC in 1961. He pursued doctoral studies in economics at the University of Virginia, where he was a student of Nobel laureates James M. Buchanan (Goetz's dissertation director) and Ronald Coase and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. Upon finishing his Ph.D. work in 1964, Goetz was awarded a NATO Postdoctoral Fellowship and spent the 1964-65 academic year at the University of Pavia, Italy, where he learned to speak a passable Italian. After two years at the University of Illinois department of economics, he joined the Virginia Tech economics faculty in 1967.

Goetz has published many scholarly articles in both economics and law. He is the author of the casebook Law and Economics. He has co-authored, with Fred S. McChesney, an antitrust textbook entitled Antitrust Law: Interpretation and Implementation.

Goetz has had wide experience as a forensic economist and consultant on commercial litigation cases and occasionally serves as an expert witness. He has worked on cases ranging from the $6 billion International Uranium Cartel litigation to small cases done on a pro bono basis. He is also a regular lecturer in continuing legal education programs for both the judiciary and the bar. As a lecturer for over 20 years in the Federal Judicial Center and the George Mason Law and Economics Center, he has had a substantial fraction of the federal judiciary as students.

cammie.jpgCatherine “Cammi” Granato ’93 will receive an honorary doctorate in humanities. She was America’s female hockey star, starring on the U.S. national team for 15 years and leading the team to the gold medal in the 1998 Olympics, a victory that inspired girls in all parts of the country to begin playing hockey.

Granato was born into an Illinois family that seemed to live and breathe hockey. She began playing with a boys’ hockey team at the age of 5 and played on male teams until she was 15.

Granato earned a scholarship in 1989 to play on the PC women's hockey team. While at Providence, she was named ECAC Player of the Year for three consecutive seasons and made the ECAC All-Star team in all four seasons.

Granato led the Friars to two ECAC Championship titles and finished her career with an amazing 256 points, a record she holds to this day. She is also the Friars’ leader for single-season points with 84 (1992-93), goals with 48 (1991-92), and assists with 43 (1992-93).                                                           

In 1990, she was chosen to play on the inaugural U.S. Women’s National Team, and made the World Championship All-Tournament Team in 1992 and 1997. Granato was named U.S.A. Hockey Player of the Year in 1996. One of Granato’s most famous achievements came at the 1998 Olympic Games in Nagano, where she captained Team USA in the first-ever women’s Olympic hockey competition. The U.S. shocked heavily-favored Canada in the gold medal game, and Granato was selected to carry the American flag in the closing ceremony.

Granato would go on to win a silver medal in the 2002 Olympics and a gold in the 2005 World Championships. She retired as the all-time leading scorer in women’s international hockey with 54 goals and 42 assists in 54 games.

Granato received the National Hockey League’s (NHL’s) Lester Patrick Award for her contribution to hockey in the U.S. in 2007. The following year, she became the first woman to be inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame and, along with co-inductees Angela James and Geraldine Heaney, the first woman in the International Hockey Hall of Fame. In November 2010, Granato was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.

Her hockey career far from over, Granato was a rinkside reporter for NBC's NHL coverage and a color commentator on NBC's coverage of women's ice hockey at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver. She started the Golden Dreams for Children Foundation, providing support for special needs children. She also operates an annual hockey camp for girls during summers in Chicago and is a partner in BelaHockey, a company that creates hockey accessories for girls.


paulkearn.jpgDr. Paul A. Kearney, Jr. ’75 will receive an honorary doctorate in science. Kearney is professor of surgery at the University of Kentucky Medical Center. He served as Chief of Trauma/Critical Care/Emergency Surgery from 1992 to 2011 and Medical Director of the Trauma and Surgical Intensive Care Units from 1988 to 2011. He currently serves as program director for the ACGME approved Surgical Critical Care Fellowship program that he established in 1999.

Kearney received a bachelor’s degree in biology from PC. In 1980, he earned a doctorate of medicine from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, PA and in 1988, a master’s of science in Clinical Research Design and Biostatistics from the University of Michigan School of Public Health.

Following his General Surgery Residency at the University of South Florida Hospitals and a fellowship in Trauma/Emergency Services and Critical Care at the University of Michigan Medical Hospitals in Ann Arbor, Kearney has devoted his entire academic career to the University of Kentucky. He is board certified in General Surgery and Surgical Critical Care.

Under Kearney’s leadership, the Trauma/Critical Care/Emergency Surgery program has grown to over 3000 admissions a year and has maintained designation as an American College of Surgeons Verified Level I Trauma Center, one of only two centers in Kentucky that are designated to treat the most complex trauma cases. The program and its faculty are widely recognized for innovation and clinical excellence.

Since 2001, Kearney has frequently been named to “Best Doctors in America” and to the Consumer Research Council of America’s “Guide to America’s Top Surgeons”. He served in 2005 at the request of the American Board of Surgery as a guest examiner for the General Surgery Certifying Examination. He has numerous awards from the University of Kentucky for teaching and clinical excellence that include the Ward O. Griffen Award (received four times) and the Gordon Hyde Award.  

Dr. Kearney has published more than 70 peer-reviewed scientific journal articles and an equal number of scientific meeting presentations. He was instrumental in the development of the General Surgery Research Program at UK. He has been the Principal Investigator for over 40 projects during the past twenty years. These projects relate to his research interests in trauma, acute respiratory failure, sepsis, surgical infection and surgical nutrition. He created and served as Medical Director for the Nutrition Support Service from1988-2002. The Nutrition Support Service is a very successful and cost-effective hospital-based service that provides nutritional recommendations and support for critically ill and acute care inpatients.

Kearney has been a visiting professor at many different surgical programs, served as the Chair of the Kentucky EMS Advisory Board (1994-2000), President of the Kentucky Chapter of the Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (1995-1997), and President of the Kentucky Chapter of the American College of Surgeons (2002-2003). He also serves as Medical Director of the annual Statewide Trauma Symposium (1994-present).

He is an active member of prestigious national surgical organizations including the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma (AAST), Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma (EAST), American College of Surgeons (ACS), Surgical Infection Society (SIS), Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM), American Society of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (ASPEN), and the Southern Surgical Association.

In addition to his busy schedule, Kearney volunteers his surgical services for Surgery on Sundays, a HealthSouth-sponsored charity program that provides surgical services for the less fortunate.


Moynihan.jpgDeacon Patrick Moynihan ’99G will receive an honorary doctorate in humanitarian service. He serves as the president of The Haitian Project (THP) and its tuition-free Catholic boarding school in Haiti, Louverture Cleary School (LCS), a post he held from 1996 to 2006 and returned to in March 2009 after serving as President Emeritus in the interim.

Before THP, Deacon Moynihan was a futures and options trader for Louis Dreyfus Corp. Unlike St. Francis, the saint who inspired his conversion and entry into missionary work, Moynihan’s family has supported his efforts since day one. His older brother, Brian Moynihan (CEO of Bank of America), was Chair of THP prior to him joining in 1996. It was Brian who brought THP to his attention. Other siblings have provided everything from architecture support to cars to drive from parish to parish.

Under Deacon Moynihan’s leadership, THP has become a national non-profit with volunteer activity and support from seven dioceses and LCS has grown from 65 students to 350, while maintaining a pass rate for the Baccalaureate (national exam for high school graduates) in excess of 98%. In addition, THP has created a very successful scholarship and job placement program to assist LCS students upon their graduation.

Deacon Moynihan has participated on a panel for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) secretariat on Social Ministry dealing with Haiti/Cuba, written a testimony on behalf of the Haitian community for a hearing of the United States Congress, facilitated the translation of Episcopal Conference of Haiti documents for publication in the United States, and has lectured to Legatus and other groups on Catholic Social Teaching focusing on the past 100 years of development in Catholic Social Doctrine from Rerum novarum to Centisimus annus.

In addition to his work with THP, he is a Deacon for the Rockford Catholic Diocese (Ill.) where he served as the Formation Director from 2001 to 2006 and Director for the Office of the Permanent Diaconate from 7/2006 to 6/2007. For over two years, he has been a weekly columnist for both the Seneca Daily Journal Messenger and Catholic News Agency where he covers a broad range of everyday topics from the sublime to the absurd.

Deacon Moynihan is a nationally-recognized speaker on the subjects of Transformational Development, the effectiveness of large International Non-Governmental Organizations and the Aid-Industrial Complex and is also a successful consultant on non-profit organization and strategies.

He and his wife Christina, along with their four children, returned to Haiti in the summer of 2009 and, since the earthquake, have decided to stay "ad infinitum."

Deacon Moynihan received a bachelor’s degree in Classics from Brown University in 1987 where he graduated magna cum laude and a master’s degree in religious studies from PC in 1999. He was ordained a Permanent Deacon in October of 2001.


Chrissy Centazzo
Public Affairs and Community Relations Coordinator
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