Wegmans Food Markets President Colleen Wegman will deliver the keynote address during St. John Fisher College’s 63rd commencement ceremony on May 13 at the Blue Cross Arena, in Rochester, N.Y., during which more than 1,000 students are expected to receive their diplomas.
“Her professional and personal accomplishments and demonstrated commitment to the community are a great example for our graduates,” noted Gerard J. Rooney, president of the Pittsford, N.Y.-based college. “The values of the college align so closely with those of the Wegmans company, and we look forward to the wisdom and advice she will offer.”
The Wegmans have been benefactors to the college for more than 60 years. Robert B. Wegman, Colleen Wegman’s late grandfather, joined its board of trustees in the 1960s, and his philanthropic efforts helped transform both academic and co-curricular aspects of the inistitution. In 2005, a $5 million gift from the family led to the establishment of the Wegmans School of Pharmacy, and the following year, an $8 million gift, the largest in the college’s history, established the Wegmans School of Nursing. Both facilities feature state-of-the-art laboratories and learning spaces.
More than 600 Fisher alumni and current students work or intern with Wegmans, and many have received scholarships through the Wegmans Employee Scholarship Program, which started in 1984.
At the ceremony, Wegman, who joined the grocer in 1991 and became president in 2005, will become the second member of he family, after her grandfather, to receive an honorary degree from the college; a first for the institution. In 1985, Robert B. Wegman received an honorary degree of doctor of laws; Colleen Wegman will receive an honorary degree of doctor of humane letters.
“It is a special honor to be part of this year’s commencement at St. John Fisher College,” she said. “We have had a long-standing partnership and connection with the school that started with my grandfather, and we are very proud of that. We respect Fisher’s mission, and we know that their values align with ours. I look forward to celebrating the class of 2017.”
Rochester-based Wegmans operates 92 stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland and Massachusetts.