Commencement Speaker and Honorary Degree Recipient

Martha Ama Akyaa Pobee, Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN) for Africa in the Departments of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs and Peace Operations (DPPA-DPO)

A career diplomat, Martha Ama Akyaa Pobee brings more than 30 years of experience in international affairs and diplomacy with Ghana’s Foreign Ministry. Time and time again, she has made a difference during her distinguished career in international relations and diplomacy. A graduate of the University of Ghana, Ms. Pobee also holds a master’s degree in Development Studies with a specialization in Women and Development from the Institute of Social Studies in the Hague. She also has diplomas in Public Administration and Multilateral Diplomacy from the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration and the Geneva Institute of International Studies.

During the Commencement Ceremony, Ms. Pobee will receive the honorary degree of Doctor of Humanities in recognition of her extraordinary career in international relations and diplomacy, her steadfast dedication to furthering peace and security, her tireless advocacy for education and human rights, and her passionate support of women and youth.

Honorary Degree Recipient

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy (awarded in absentia)

Volodymyr Zelenskyy, President of Ukraine, is no ordinary leader nor are the people of the Ukraine ordinary citizens. Not only do they appreciate the specialness of their country, but they together remind us of what love of country truly means. Since the invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces in February 2022, the world has watched the suffering, death and separation that the people of the Ukraine have experienced. Zelenskyy, an exceptional communicator, has not only kept his own people informed and unified, but has also kept world leaders across the globe informed regarding the war taking place on Ukrainian soil and on the material needs of his country as they fight the Russian aggressors. Throughout all of this, Zelenskyy has resolutely defended his country against overwhelming odds and forged forward to preserve his nation and all it stands for. His heartfelt compassion and unwavering courage are seldom witnessed today.

In recognition of the exceptional dedication of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the Ukrainian people, Zelenskyy will be awarded, in absentia, the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters during the Commencement Ceremony.

Badami Outstanding Alumna Award Recipient

Danielle Keane, Principal of P.S. /M.S. 5, The Port Morris School of Community Leadership , Dominican University Class of 2004

Danielle Kenny Keane earned her Bachelor of Science in Education with a concentration in Humanities from Dominican University. Her New York City journey placed her in the Special Education environment working with students with disabilities. She received her graduate degree in Special Education from Long Island University as well as a second Master’s in School Building Leadership. In 2017, Danielle’s team-building energy led to her current appointment at PS/MS, The Port Morris School of Community Leadership, in the Bronx where she serves as Principal.

Ms. Keane’s educational experiences have afforded her the opportunity to collaborate with a diverse group of educators to meet the common goal of increasing student achievement, experiences, and well-being. During the Commencement Ceremony, she will receive the Badami Outstanding Alumna Award in recognition of her devotion and commitment to the teaching profession and her incorporation of the key values espoused by the Dominican tradition.

Veritas Medal Recipient

Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate (SSMI)

Founded in 1892 in Zhuhzel, Ukraine, the Congregation of Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate (SSMI) extended quickly with sites in Brazil, Canada, Poland, Serbia, Slovakia and Ukraine. The Sisters were asked to work with Ukrainian immigrants in the United States as early as 1910 and while they could not respond at that time, by 1935, members of the Canadian congregation were working at the newly-established St. Basil Ukrainian Catholic Seminary in Stamford, CT as well as doing work in the local parish. By 1939, ten U.S. mission homes had been opened. The need for a central, community-owned home in the U.S. was obvious. An ideal home was identified and purchased in Sloatsburg, New York in 1941, and was later named St. Mary’s Villa. In 1958, the Superior General of the congregation made a visit to the U.S. and determined that the American members were ready to assume responsibility for their future, and the Immaculate Conception of the Divine Province in the U.S. was established

The call of the congregation’s Foundress has resonated strongly as the tragedy of the attacks suffered by Ukraine began in February 2022. The Sisters have been actively engaged in providing resources to their Sisters in Ukraine to be distributed to those in need. Their efforts have enabled many Americans to participate and are reflective of the lives of service that the Sisters have embraced and enabled. Dominican University is proud to recognize their extraordinary service and present the Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate with the Veritas Medal at the Commencement Ceremony.