Emory & Henry College Commencement Speakers Include an Award-Winning Author and the CEO of the American Cancer Society

Posted by Brent Treash

First Class of Physical Therapists Earn Degree from School of Health Sciences

The best-selling author of seventeen books, Adriana Trigiani, and the chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society, Gary Reedy, will speak to undergraduates and the first graduating class from the School of Health Sciences, respectively, at Emory & Henry College Commencement ceremonies on May 5.

Adriana Trigiani authored the best-selling Big Stone Gap series, including Big Stone Gap (2000), Big Cherry Holler (2001), Milk Glass Moon (2002) and Home to Big Stone Gap (2006), set in her Virginia hometown. Big Stone Gap was adapted into a movie and released in October 2015. The story focuses on family secrets and self-discovery in an Appalachian coal-mining town of the late 1970s. The award-winning ensemble cast included Ashley Judd, Whoopi Goldberg, Jane Krakowski, Jenna Elfman and Patrick Wilson. She has received citations from The Sons of Italy, an honorary degree from Saint Mary’s College, two honorary degrees from the University of New Haven, and has given the commencement speech at University of Virginia at Wise and the University of New Haven. A seasoned lecturer, Adriana has also been a guest speaker at New York University and The New School for Social Research in New York City. She is a recipient of the Appalachian Heritage Writer’s Award, presented by The Shepherd University Foundation, The West Virginia Humanities Council, and The West Virginia Center for the Book. She is a graduate of Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Ind. Trigiani currently resides in Greenwich Village.

Commencement will be held Saturday, May 5, at 10 a.m., on the lawn of Memorial Chapel (Rain: King Center Gym) for undergraduate students.

Gary Reedy (’78) has dedicated his life to improving the health of people worldwide. He took that vision to the American Cancer Society when he became the chief executive officer in April 2015, but his work with the organization truly began more than 15 years ago, when he first became a volunteer leader with the Society. As CEO, Reedy is leading the organization to become the new American Cancer Society – the most relevant and powerfully impactful cancer-fighting organization in the world. He has a laser focus on customer experience, stewardship and innovation. Under his leadership, the organization has set a historic goal to double its annual research funding to approximately $240 million by 2021. The increase aims to dramatically grow what is already the largest and arguably most successful nonprofit research program in the nation.

School of Health Sciences will graduate its first physical therapy class Saturday, May 5, at 3 p.m. in McGlothlin Center for the Arts.

The Division of Student Life, Student Success and Inclusion will also be celebrating student achievements in hosting the Diversity & Inclusion year-end ceremonies on Friday, May 4 at various times throughout the day. These ceremonies will honor groups (African American, First Generation, International, LGBTQ, Latino/Latina and Veterans) who have been historically underrepresented in higher education.

Baccalaureate services will be held on Friday, May 4 at 4 p.m. in Memorial Chapel.

More information about the E&H Commencement ceremonies can be found at https://www.ehc.edu/commencement/.

  • Adriana Trigiani will be the undergraduate Commencement speaker.
    Adriana Trigiani will be the undergraduate Commencement speaker.
  • Gary Reedy will be the School of Health Sciences Commencement speaker.
    Gary Reedy will be the School of Health Sciences Commencement speaker.
    David Grace

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