SHU Announces 45th Commencement Honorary Degree Recipients

News Story: April 1, 2011

Honorary Degree Recipients are Francis Butler (President of FADICA), Murray Martin (CEO of Pitney Bowes), Christopher K. McLeod (CEO of 454 Life Sciences Corp.) and Judith Persichilli (President of Catholic Health East)

Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degrees will be presented to two distinguished recipients at Sacred Heart University’s 45th annual Undergraduate Commencement ceremonies on Sunday, May 15th. Dr. John J. Petillo, Sacred Heart University’s newly appointed president, will bestow the honors on Francis J. Butler, who heads FADICA, which stands for Founders and Donors Interested in Catholic Activities; and Murray Martin, chief executive officer of Pitney Bowes Inc., headquartered in Stamford. Dr. Petillo will also offer remarks to the Class of 2011 at that ceremony.

At Graduate Commencement on Saturday, May 14th, Christopher K. McLeod, who heads the 454 Life Sciences Corp., will deliver the commencement address. Mr. McLeod and Judith Persichilli, who is the president and CEO of Catholic Health East, will receive honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degrees at this ceremony.

The Class of 2011 includes 842 undergraduates who will be receiving associate’s and bachelor’s degrees. Master’s degrees, professional certificates and doctorates will be presented to 644 graduate students.

Dr. Petillo was named the University’s sixth president in March, and he will preside over SHU Commencement exercises for the first time in May. A University trustee in the 1980s, he returned to campus in March 2009 as dean of the Jack Welch College of Business and was named interim president in October of last year. He formerly led both Seton Hall University and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey as well as Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey. He has made the quality of the academic experience his top priority and immediately set in place a strategic planning process involving every element of University life.

Frank Butler

Frank Butler has headed FADICA since 1980. He earned bachelor’s degrees from St. John’s College and the Catholic University of America as well as a Master of Arts in Theology degree from the University of San Francisco and his doctorate in Systematic Theology from CUA. Dr. Butler has advised some of the largest private foundations in the United States and internationally on charitable, religious and educational trends. He is an experienced, informed and impartial observer of important financial and managerial challenges facing the not-for-profit and religious worlds. He speaks regularly in public forums about philanthropy and religion and is quoted widely by national and international news media. He played a founding role in three major church-related national charities with combined giving of over $700 million. Among numerous accomplishments, he co-founded the National Leadership Roundtable on Church Management, a national organization promoting management practices within religious organizations.

Dr. Butler led the first independent management study of the financial operations of the Vatican resulting in a strengthening of financial budgeting, cost controls and auditing and reporting. He personally conceived, planned and moderated nearly 100 national and international conferences on the Catholic Church and private philanthropy and originated the Catholic Funding Guide, an authoritative international resource on funding for Catholic organizations.

Murray Martin

Murray Martin is chairman, president and chief executive officer at Pitney Bowes Inc., a $5.4 billion company that provides software, hardware and services that integrate physical and digital communications channels. During his career with Pitney Bowes, Mr. Martin has held a variety of senior management positions, including chief operating officer. He has been the architect of over 65 acquisitions, greatly expanding the company’s reach within the integrated mail and document management industry.

Under his leadership, Pitney Bowes has produced major technological innovations in the industry including a number of active patents with applications. Mr. Martin himself is the holder of several patents. He joined Pitney Bowes in 1987 as president and CEO of Dictaphone Canada Ltd. In 1990 he was promoted to president of Pitney Bowes Copier Systems and relocated to the United States. Copier Systems became the most profitable company in the industry during his tenure. 
Mr. Martin is a member of numerous corporate and civic boards including the John F. Welch College of Business at Sacred Heart University. He was born in Ontario and attended the University of Waterloo where he received a Distinguished Fellow award from the Centre of Applied Cryptographic Research in 2001. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Waterloo in June of 2009.

Christopher K. McLeod

Christopher K. McLeod is president and chief executive officer of 454 Life Sciences, a Roche Company. Throughout his career, he has demonstrated expertise in growing companies through strategic collaborations, innovative marketing and new product development. He has served as president and CEO of 454 Life Sciences since 2005, and managed the integration with Roche Diagnostics following its acquisition in 2007.

He currently oversees the development, manufacturing and marketing of the company's innovative DNA sequencing technology and products, which are sold to thousands of research laboratories worldwide. Previously, he served as executive vice president of CuraGen from 1999, where he oversaw bioinformatics, strategic business development and collaborative research, including the negotiation of strategic partnerships. Prior to joining CuraGen, Mr. McLeod spent two years as CEO of Havas Interactive (formerly Cendant Software), a leading international software developer, whose annual revenues increased in excess of 60 percent during his tenure. Previously, he served as executive vice president and director at CUC International where he was president of the CompuCard division.

Mr. McLeod earned his Bachelor of Science degree, magna cum laude, with a dual major in Economics and Engineering and Applied Science from Yale University and his Master of Science degree, in Management from the Sloan School of Management at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He serves on the boards of Sacred Heart University and the CT Yankee Council, Boy Scouts of America.

Judith Persichilli

Judith Persichilli is the president and CEO of Catholic Health East, a consortium of dozens of health care centers sponsored by 14 religious congregations, with 54,000 employees. She is a graduate of St. Francis School of Nursing in Trenton, where she was eventually CEO. She earned her bachelor’s in Nursing, magna cum laude, from Rutgers and her master’s in Administration, summa cum laude, from Rider College. She holds an honorary degree from Georgian Court University.

In 2006, Mrs. Persichilli received the greatest tribute bestowed on a nurse in New Jersey when she was inducted into the New Jersey State Nurses Association Hall of Honor. In September 2008, she received the Catholic Charities, Diocese of Trenton, New Jersey, highest honor when she was awarded The 2008 Richard J. Hughes Humanitarian Award. In March 2011, she was named as one of the 50 most powerful people in New Jersey health care by NJ Biz. In May 2011, she will receive the Edward J. Ill Excellence in Medicine Award for Outstanding Medical Executive.

Mrs. Persichilli has held positions of increasing responsibility throughout a distinguished career. She is a member of various community agencies and several community boards, including the Health Care Administration Board of the State of New Jersey where she was appointed by the governor.