Distinguished Judge and Navy Admiral Named 2011 Commencement Speakers At Fairfield University

18-Apr-2011 | News-Press Release

Recognized as a highly influential judge with a profound commitment to Ignatian ideals of education and service, Barry will address the graduating class of 2011 on Sunday, May 22 at 9:30 a.m.

In a letter posted on Fairfield’s website, university President Jeffrey P. von Arx, S.J., said, “This commencement is an important ending and an exciting new beginning. Speaking on behalf of our Board of Trustees, faculty, and staff, I hope that your educational experience at Fairfield has led you to know yourself better and that you have developed a passion for lifelong learning.” Fairfield University expects to award 920 undergraduate degrees and 320 graduate degrees at the ceremony.

Barry, who in 1983 was nominated by President Ronald Reagan to serve as a U.S. District Court judge for New Jersey, will be presented with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree during the university-wide graduation exercise at Bellarmine Hall lawn.

Regarded as a community leader with a longstanding commitment to education, Barry’s nomination for an honorary degree drew praise from one of her colleagues on the bench. “Judge Barry’s great character and great courage are surely the manifestations of a heart on fire with faith. Her faith in the rule of law inspires her colleagues to be better than we thought we could be.”

According to an article in New York Magazine, Barry chose not to go into the family real estate business, but instead, went to law school. “I knew better even as a child than to even attempt to compete with Donald. I wouldn't have been able to win,” she said.Barry ultimately became a federal judge, and in 1999, was appointed by President Bill Clinton to a seat on the United States Third Circuit Court of Appeals. This was Barry’s second federal judge appointment and her selection was one notch below the Supreme Court. 

Judge Barry, a Manhattan resident, began her distinguished legal career in 1974 as a staff attorney for the District of New Jersey. She quickly worked her way up, and at one point, Barry became the highest-ranking woman prosecutor in a major U.S. Attorney’s Office. A highlight of Barry’s career came in 2004, when Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor presented her with Seton Hall Law School’s Sandra Day O’Connor Medal of Honor.

Beyond the courtroom, Judge Barry’s commitment to service has led her to work with the Saint Vincent de Paul Society, Sacred Heart Church in Camden, NJ, the New York Province Society of Jesus, and earthquake relief groups in Chile and Haiti.

Barry received her bachelor’s degree from Mount Holyoke College and a master’s degree from Columbia University. She earned her juris doctor degree from Hofstra University School of Law.

Fairfield University also announced that the afternoon commencement program for graduate students will feature Rear Admiral Brian P. Monahan as the keynote speaker.

Appointed by House and Senate leadership to the position of attending physician for the United States Congress and United States Supreme Court, Monahan will address the graduate students at a 3 p.m. ceremony.

Besides overseeing emergency medical services for visitors who tour the Capitol each year, Rear Admiral Monahan is also responsible for the medical welfare of the U.S. House of Representatives, the United States Senate, and the nine U.S. Supreme Court justices. He is also a professor of medicine at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md.

Monahan will be presented with an honorary Doctor of Science degree during the commencement exercise at Bellarmine Hall lawn. 

A pioneer in the medical field, Monahan began his career as battalion surgeon for the 2nd Marine Division. He also served as the chief of residents at the National Naval Medical Center, and then as an internal medicine physician at the Attending Physician’s Office on Capitol Hill.

In 1996, Monahan completed his training in hematology and medical oncology from the National Cancer Institute and National Naval Medical Center. Through his ongoing duties at the National Cancer Institute, Monahan has served as lead investigator on numerous clinical trials of novel anti-cancer drugs leading to innovations in colon cancer and clinical pharmacology.

A native of Fairfield, Conn., and a product of a Jesuit education, Monahan’s road to the U.S. Capitol started at Fairfield University, where he graduated summa cum laude in 1982. After receiving his undergraduate degree, Monahan went on to medical school, and in 1986 graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown University School of Medicine. Monahan said he was drawn to Georgetown as a natural extension of his values and upbringing.

Rear Admiral Monahan is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in internal medicine, hematology, and medical oncology. He is also the recipient of numerous medals including the Defense Superior Service Medal. 

For more information on commencement weekend contact the Office of Academic Affairs at 203-254-4288ext. 2778.


Fairfield University is a Jesuit University, rooted in one of the world’s oldest intellectual and spiritual traditions. More than 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students from 36 states, 47 foreign countries, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico are enrolled in the University’s six schools.  In the spirit of rigorous and sympathetic inquiry into all dimensions of human experience, Fairfield welcomes students from diverse backgrounds to share ideas and engage in open conversations. The University is located in the heart of a region where the future takes shape, on a stunning campus on the Connecticut coast. 

                                                                                                                        Vol. 43, No. 264


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