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Widener University announces speaker for its May 2019 commencement

Commencement 2019

The Honorable Patrick Murphy will be the commencement speaker for main campus graduates.

Widener University is pleased to announce that alumnus Patrick Murphy, a former U.S. Congressman, past Under Secretary of the U.S. Army, and a current member of the Widener University Board of Trustees will give the 2019 commencement address.

The commencement ceremony, honoring graduate and undergraduate students who studied through Widener’s main campus in Chester, Pennsylvania., will take place Friday, May 17 at 4 p.m. at The Mann Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia. More than 1,000 graduates will receive degrees.

Murphy is a 1999 graduate of Widener University Commonwealth Law School in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He represented the First Congressional District of Pennsylvania in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2007 to 2011 and served as Under Secretary of the U.S. Army from December 2015 through the end of the Obama administration, including a five-month stint as Acting Secretary. He formerly taught at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, served on its Board of Visitors, and is now the academy’s Distinguished Chair of Innovation. He currently serves on the National Cyberspace Security Symposium as a Commissioner.

Murphy is a soldier-statesman who volunteered for two deployments after 9/11, serving in Bosnia in 2002, and in Baghdad, Iraq as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division. He was part of the invasion force and led a Brigade Operational Law Team, earning a Bronze Star for his service. After he returned home and was elected to office, he wrote the book Taking the Hill: From Philly to Baghdad to the United States Congress.

Murphy is a serial entrepreneur in the media and technology industries. He co-founded the tech company, WorkMerk, in 2018. As its executive chairman, he has led dramatic growth with national clients, to include Starbucks, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and Northwell Health. He also founded the media company, PJM Entertainment, where he brought to life television and film projects to include Thank You for Your Service (Dreamworks), Call of Duty (Activision Blizzard Studios, 2020), Taking the Hill (NBC/MSNBC, 2012-2015) and the Triumph Games (CBS Sports, 2015-2016).

Murphy founded the Patrick Murphy Law and Government Fellowship in the fall of 2017, which provides financial support to two Widener Law Commonwealth students each year. He is a graduate of Kings College Army ROTC.

“I am delighted the Honorable Patrick Murphy will serve as our commencement speaker. His work reflects a commitment to public service and innovation, and he demonstrated great courage in his service to our nation during the course of his military career. He exemplifies what it means to be a great leader and he lives the values we hold in highest regard at Widener. I’m certain his speech will be inspiring and memorable for our graduates and their families,” President Julie E. Wollman said.

Widener University’s two law schools will celebrate commencement ceremonies in the days following the main campus graduation.

Widener University Delaware Law School will host its commencement ceremony on the campus lawn Saturday, May 18 at 3 p.m. Delaware Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester, the first woman and first African-American representative from Delaware, will be the speaker.

Widener University Commonwealth Law School in Harrisburg, Pa. will hold its commencement ceremony at The Forum in the Capitol Complex on Sunday, May 19 at 11 a.m. Sharon Lopez, past president of the Pennsylvania Bar Association, managing partner of Triquetra Law, and an alumna of the law school, will be the speaker.