MTV's Tom Freston speaks at Commencement; four to receive honorary degrees


Honorary degrees to Sister Lindora Cabral, RSM; Major General Michael Dubie, Tom Freston, Rev. Daniel Harrington, S.J.

Tom Freston, a 1967 graduate of Saint Michael's College and media pioneer, will speak at the 105th commencement exercises of Saint Michael’s College on Monday, May 14 at 10 a.m. in the Ross Sports Center on the campus of the liberal arts Catholic institution located in Burlington, Vermont. Regarded as a ground-breaking pioneer in television, Freston spearheaded the rise of MTV Networks.

Bachelor’s degrees will be awarded to 478 students and master’s degrees to 65 students at the Saint Michael’s College commencement ceremonies.

Saint Michael’s will hold its traditional Baccalaureate Mass on Sunday, May 13, at 2 p.m. in the Chapel of Saint Michael the Archangel with the Most Reverend Salvatore R. Matano, Bishop of Burlington, as main celebrant and homilist.

Honorary degree recipients

Honorary doctor of humane letters degrees will be award to Tom Freston, founding force behind MTV; Sister Lindora Cabral, RSM, president of Sisters of Mercy; Major General Michael Dubie, Adjutant General of the State of Vermont, Rev. Daniel Harrington, S.J., Boston College professor of New Testament and author of 50 books on biblical studies.

Sister Lindora Cabral, RSM, was a leader with Sisters of Mercy in Vermont and at Trinity College, Vermont, for many years, prior to becoming Executive Director of Mercy Connections, 2001 to 2007, and now president of Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, Northeast Community, since July 2010. Earlier in her career, Sister Cabral taught at three Catholic schools in Vermont (1964-72), was campus minister for Champlain College (1966-67), the University of Vermont (1972-74), and Trinity College of Vermont (1974-1978), when she was also Trinity’s director of career planning and placement. Sister Cabral was principal of Mater Christi School in Burlington (1982-85), parish minister/youth minister at St. Joseph Parish, Burlington (1985-88), and she served in various administrative and service roles at Trinity College (1992-98).

Major General Michael D. Dubie is Adjutant General of the State of Vermont, serving as the senior uniformed officer in the state, responsible for the 4,000 members of the Vermont Army and Air National Guard. He is also head of the State Military Department, including Veterans Affairs, with a combined state and federal budget of over $210 million. In addition to numerous leadership positions with the Air Guard, General Dubie commanded the 447th Air Expeditionary Group at the Baghdad International Airport and served as Director of Staff for the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing, Balad Air Base, Iraq. A command pilot, General Dubie has over 2,000 flying hours in trainer and fighter aircraft. General Dubie was credited with extraordinary leadership as the National Guard responded to the devastating impact of Hurricane Irene on the State of Vermont.

Tom Freston is a principal of Firefly3, an investment and consutancy firm, with focus on the media and entertainment industries. He is former CEO of Viacom, and was for 17 years, chairman and CEO of MTV Networks. He is now chairman of the ONE Campaign, an anti-poverty advocacy group that was started by Bono, leader of U2. He serves on the boards of the American Museum of Natural History, DreamWorks Animation, Product (red) and Moby Media in Afghanistan. He consults Opray Winfrey and others in the media and entertainment industries. Mr. Freston was inducted into the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame in 2011.

As CEO of MTV, Mr. Freston expanded the company's reach, built an animation studio, produced feature films, and developed large consumer product and digital businesses. He added such shows as Spongebob Square Pants, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, South Park, The Real World, Behind the Music and Rugrats. Mr. Freston received a Bachelor of Arts from Saint Michael’s College and an MBA from New York University. He has received many industry awards and recognitions, including being noted by Time in 2006 as one of the top 100 most influential people in the world.  He serves on the boards of the American Museum of History, DreamWorks Animation, and Emerson College. He also serves as a trustee of the Asia Society where he funded a new department focusing on issues in Afghanistan.

"Tom Freston helped build MTV Networks from the ground up…spending nearly three decades turning his vision for a TV channel devoted exclusively to music into an empire that literally changed how the world looked at television," the speaker said at Mr. Freston’s induction into the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame in May 2011.

In recent years, Mr. Freston has returned to Afghanistan, where he has helped set up the first private television network in the country.  He is also working with Farsi 1, a satellite network beaming shows like 24, Oprah and Korean soap operas to the Farsi-speaking world, 80 percent of whom Freston says are in Iran.

Rev. Daniel J. Harrington, S.J., is professor of New Testament at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry. He earned his doctorate in biblical languages and literatures from Harvard in 1970 and was ordained a priest in 1971. He has been general editor of New Testament Abstracts since 1972 and is past president of the Catholic Biblical Association of America (1985-86). Rev. Harrington is author 50 books on various aspects of biblical studies.

Rev. Harrington is both pastoral and scholarly in his life’s work. He preaches regularly as a pastoral associate at St. Agnes Church in Arlington, Mass., and at St. Peter’s Church in Cambridge, Mass. His scholarly interests include the interpretation of the Bible in antiquity and today, Second Temple Judaism, the Dead Sea scrolls, biblical theology, biblical languages, the Synoptic Gospel, Pauline theology, and the book of Revelation.

Some of Rev. Harrington’s recent publications are Historical Dictionary of Jesus ( 2010); Jesus the Revelation of the Father’s Love (2010); Meeting St. Matthew Today (2010) ; Paul and Virtue Ethics (with Keenan, S.J); Meeting St. Luke Today (2009); The Synoptic Gospels Set Free: Preaching wihtout anti-Judaism (2009); Jesus and Prayer: What the New Testament Teaches Us (2009); Why Do We Suffer? A Scriptural Approach to the Human Condition (2000); The Church According to the New Testament (2001); The Gospel of Mark (with John Donahue) (2002).

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