Storyteller and Cancer Survivor Kelly Corrigan Will Deliver University of Richmond Commencement Address

April 18, 2022

Kelly Corrigan headshotUNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND — The University of Richmond will hold its main commencement at 2 p.m. on May 8 at the Robins Center Arena with author and podcaster Kelly Corrigan, a 1989 UR graduate, as its speaker.

Corrigan hit public consciousness in a series of three events in 2009: an appearance on The Today Show with her father after they had both recovered from chemotherapy, an online video about women’s friendship called Transcending that was viewed 5 million times in three days, and the release of her first book — The Middle Place — which was a New York Times bestseller, holding #2 for six months.

Since then, Corrigan has written three more New York Times bestsellers, appeared on the Today Show seven times, and been picked up by PBS as the host of “Tell Me More with Kelly Corrigan,” a weekly interview show.

She has also launched a podcast, “Kelly Corrigan Wonders,” that has had 4 million downloads in less than a year and is played on NPR stations around the country.

The University also will hold commencement for its Law School and School of Professional & Continuing Studies May 7.

School of Law
May 7, 2 p.m. Robins Center Arena

McEachin headshotColette Wallace McEachin, the first woman and the first African-American woman ever elected Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney, will deliver the Commencement address to graduating law students. McEachin was elected Commonwealth’s Attorney for the City of Richmond in November 2019. Prior to her election she was the Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney responsible for supervising prosecutors in the General District Courtrooms that handled misdemeanor crimes, felony preliminary hearings, and traffic cases. She also supervised felony sexual assault cases and the Office’s community-based Sector prosecutors. She has prosecuted crimes at every level, from domestic violence to burglaries, rape and homicides. A graduate of Brown University, McEachin received her Juris Doctorate from the University of Virginia School of Law.

School of Professional & Continuing Studies
May 7, 9 a.m., Robins Center Arena

As part of a long-standing tradition, a graduating student, faculty member, and alumnus will speak at the SPCS graduation ceremony. Speakers include:

Kelly Lawler headshotKelly Lawler, student speaker
Colonel Lawler is earning a graduate certificate in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies. Lawler retired from the U.S. Army in March of 2018 after 30 years of service. He is currently a social studies teacher at Falling Creek Middle School in Chesterfield County, Virginia. While in the Army, Lawler’s assignments included Chief of the Mission Support Branch in the Operations Directorate on the Joint Staff at the Pentagon, where he provided recommendations to Senior Leaders on Logistics. Lawler has been awarded the Department of Defense Medal for Superior Service, United States Army Legion of Merit (twice), and the Bronze Star (three times). He was also awarded the Combat Action Badge twice.  

Linda Thornton headshotLinda Fisher Thornton, faculty speaker
Fisher Thornton, adjunct associate professor of human resource management is the recipient of the Itzkowitz Family Distinguished Adjunct Faculty Award. She is currently CEO of Leading in Context LLC, working with Fortune 500 companies, universities, and organizations across industries to help leaders see the nuances of ethical responsibility clearly through multiple lenses to make ethical decisions.

Fisher Thornton has taught numerous courses since joining the SPCS faculty, including Applied Ethics, Communication in Leadership, and Conflict Management and Group Dynamics. Fisher Thornton is the author of 7 Lenses: Learning the Principles and Practices of Ethical Leadership, which is used by businesses and universities in North America, Europe, Asia, and Oceania to teach ethical thinking and leadership.

Duan Hobbs headshotDuan Hobbs, alumni speaker
Hobbs is the recipient of the Gibb Family Distinguished Alumni Award. Duan graduated from the School of Professional & Continuing Studies Weekend College program in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies, later earning a Customer Experience certificate in 2020. He is the current past president of the SPCS Alumni Association Board of Directors after serving as president, vice president, and on various committees in previous years. Duan started his career at NiSource in 2015 and was recently promoted to the role of manager of diversity, equity & inclusion. 

MBA Commencement
The MBA Commencement ceremony has been moved to August.