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2019 Commencement Program Announced: Mercy Beyond Borders Founder Named Speaker

ALBANY, NY, March 14, 2019 –Maria College’s 57th commencement ceremony will take place on May 19 at 3pm in the Empire State Plaza Convention Center (Albany, New York).  The 2019 commencement program includes Marilyn Lacey, R.S.M., who will deliver the commencement address.  Albany Bishop Emeritus Howard J. Hubbard, D.D. will congratulate and bless the graduates and perform a rite of commissioning to graduates.

Sister Marilyn Lacey is a Sister of Mercy and the founder and executive director of Mercy Beyond Borders. Since 1981, she has worked with displaced people, both in refugee camps overseas and in resettlement programs in the U.S.  Sister Lacey has dedicated her life to helping make the world a more welcoming place for persons forced to leave their homelands.  In 2008, she founded Mercy Beyond Borders, a nonprofit organization, headquartered in Santa Clara, California, to help alleviate the extreme poverty of women and girls in South Sudan, Haiti, and Uganda. 

Sister Lacey earned a Master’s degree in Social Welfare (MSW) from the University of California at Berkeley.  In 2001, for her life’s work, she was personally honored by the Dalai Lama as an, “unsung hero of compassion.”  Ave Maria Press published her memoir, “This Flowing Toward Me: A Story of God Arriving in Strangers” in 2009.  In 2017, she received a one million dollar global award from The Opus Prize Foundation for her faith-filled leadership of Mercy Beyond Borders. Also in 2017, she was named AARP’s Purpose Prize Fellow for her courage and creativity in founding Mercy Beyond Borders.

In 2018, she was celebrated in song at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. by The Canales Project, a nonprofit organization who seeks to activate the arts as a tool for social change and impact.  She was one of 20 women recognized for impacting the globe in positive ways (the list also included former first lady Michelle Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Justice Sonia Sotomayor). 

Maria College president Dr. Thomas Gamble stated, “The Maria Board of Trustees and I, on behalf of the entire Maria Community, are looking forward to joining the friends and families of this year’s graduates as we recognize their great achievements and perseverance. Bishop Emeritus Hubbard has participated in many Maria commencements, over the years, and we are grateful for his presence and dedication. Sister Lacey is an exemplar of Mercy in action and we are especially honored that she will share her inspiring vision for bringing hope and compassion to the world.”